Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Emphatic Tendency Scale for Student Teachers: Validity and Reliability Studies

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Emphatic Tendency Scale for Student Teachers: Validity and Reliability Studies

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to analyze the validity and reliability of the Empathic Tendency Scale, which was developed in order to identify student teachers' empathic tendencies. The sampling of the study consisted of 730 student teachers studying at Hacettepe University Faculty of Education. To determine the factor pattern of Empathic Tendency Scale, firstly exploratory factor analysis was carried out and it was found that 29 items had a three-dimensional structure. The Cronbach Alpha (á) reliability coefficient of Empathic Tendency Scale was calculated to be .94; where Empathic Skill subdimension was .91; Empathic Environment subdimension was .88, and Anti-empathetic Attitude subdimension was .82. The test-retest correlation coefficient was calculated to be .83. Exploratory factor analysis was followed by the confirmatory factor analysis applied to the obtained structure. Based on these findings, Empathic Tendency Scale was found to be reliable and valid for determining student teachers' empathic tendencies.

Key Words

Empathic Tendencies, Reliability, Validity, Factor Analysis.

Empathy is the process where individuals understand the thoughts and feelings of another while feeling the same way and communicating this to the other under a certain circumstance. Empathy, in educational settings, is a tool in establishing an effective communication between educators and students and in the implementation of training programs; and as well it is a feature, which should be attained by the future planners of the education sector (Ford, 1979 cited in Ugur, 2007; Köksal & Koçer, 2005; Rogers, 1983). While empathy was seen as an innate ability, today's authors and educators see empathic communication as a skill that can be learned and taught (Plomin, 1990). Delisio (2006) stated that although most people see empathy as a characteristic trait, in reality, empathy is a social skill, which can and ought to be taught in schools. In addition, given the need for mutual understanding and love between teachers and students, empathy could be clearly seen as a necessity. In this respect, teachers have to use and make beneficial use of empathy in their communications regarding both learning and teaching dimensions. Therefore, attitude scales to determine empathic tendencies of student teachers in different subject areas shall be developed. Nowadays, many different scales have been developed to assess empathy (Dökmen, 1987, 1988; Lawrence, Shaw, Baker, Baron-Cohen, & David, 2004) however; there are important limitations of each.

When investigated the studies about empathy, it's seen that there are many variables related with empathy (Akkoyun, 1982 cited in Ugur, 2007; Alisinanoglu & Köksal, 2000; Altekin, 1995; Barnes & Thagard, 2001; Bellous, 2001 cited in Özbek, 2004; Clark, 1980; Cotton, 2001; Hoffmann, 2000 cited in Constantine, 2000; Mehrabian & Epstein, 1972; Omdahl, 1995; Stotland, Mathews, Sherman, Hansson, & Richardson, 1978; Walter & Finley 1999). It was investigated in these studies relation between empathy and communication skills (Nadler & Nadler, 2000), helping behavior (Eisenberg, Holmgren, & Fabes, 1998; Litvack, McDougall, & Romney, 1997), sex role (Constantine, 2000; Gabay, Ochion, & Korniol, 1998; Giesbrecht, 1998), age (Schiermen & Gundy, 2000), prosocial reasoning (Eisenberg, Zhou, & Koller, 2001; Fakouri, Zucker, & Fakouri, 1991; Ickes, 1997), language aptitude and symbolic thinking (Gibbons, 1993), concern, depression and self esteem (Hickson, 1985; Watson, Biderman, & Sawrie, 1994), family structure (Guttman, 2001; Henry, Sager, & Plunkett, 1996), fatigue and job satisfaction (Spraggins, Fox, & Corey,1990), creativity, dogmatism (Carlozzi, Bull, Ells, & Hurlburt, 1995) and relaxation styles (Weaver & Kirtley, 1995).

In this study, to determine teachers' attitudes towards empathic tendencies and eliminate their limitations, an Empathic Tendency Scale was aimed to be developed. …

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