Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Elements of Self-Awareness Reflecting Teachers' Emotional Intelligence

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Elements of Self-Awareness Reflecting Teachers' Emotional Intelligence

Article excerpt

Abstract

Significantly, teachers of various educational settings play crucial roles in actualizing the purposes of education. In ensuring the effective attainment of the noble mission of learning and teaching, considerable emphasis must be given to teachers' well-being notably their emotional intelligence (EI). In recent years there is growing empirical evidence that EI contributes significantly to performance and productivity. However, literature on the role of EI in enhancing teachers' efficacy in Malaysia is scarce. This study attempts to fill this academic gap by examining the potential of self-awareness, one of Goleman's EI domains among teachers. Specifically, this study aims to determine the elements of self-awareness that could enhance teachers' efficacy from Malaysian perspective. Three focus group interviews were conducted with participants of both genders who comprise of young and old teachers, inexperience and experienced teachers from three different schools. This study finds intent as important sub-domain of self-awareness in Malaysian context thus extended the earlier model developed by Goleman. Significantly this study may be beneficial to spread awareness on the vitality of EI to improve psychological health and teaching success and, in turn, positive student outcomes. This study suggests integrated EI training that does not only increase teachers' efficacy but also may decrease burnout syndromes and job dissatisfaction.

Keywords: emotional intelligence, self-awareness, teaching efficacy, intent, teaching and learning

1. Introduction

Emotional intelligence is important for both work life and personal life (Gardner, 1983; Goleman, 1995, 1999; Wilks, 1998; Weisenger, 2000; Ferdowsian, 2003). In recent years there is growing empirical evidence that EI contributes significantly to performance and productivity. It can either enhance or inhibit performance and quality of work. Emotionally intelligent employees will produce work that meets the objectives of the organization, while workers who are less emotionally intelligent are unable to achieve the desired objectives. Goleman (1996) states that "emotional intelligence is a master aptitude, a capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities, either facilitating or interfering with them". Thus, individuals with high emotional intelligence are likely to have a high work rate and at the same time, show a commendable quality of work. Individuals who are aware about themselves are always warm toward other people and aspire to be a better worker.

Studies on emotional intelligence within learning environment are increasing in recent decades. There are empirical studies that attest the importance and relationship of emotional intelligence to teacher efficacy and well being, which in turn may lead to positive students' outcomes (Syed Najmuddin, Noriah, & Mohamad, 2011; Larsen & Samdal, 2012; Ross, Romer, & Horner, 2012; Vesely, Saklofske, & Leschied, 2013). Mass media have often reported on problematic teachers in negative view which portrays them as incapable of handling emotions. These news reports may degrade teachers' esteem and professional image. Teachers are implied as being irresponsible and incapable of being good role models to their pupils. This situation has been regarded as a serious matter. If teachers cannot control their own emotions, how can they control the young ones and train others in any unfortunate or difficult situations?

Teachers have multitude of tasks which are coupled with non-academic responsibilities during weekdays and weekends. These tasks may test the fortitude and patience of teachers, especially those who have more commitments or families. School holiday programs, holiday camps, motivational camps and other types of activities outside the classroom seems to be never ending errands that teachers must do during weekends and school holidays. Therefore, significant work stress existed among teachers (Jowati, 2002; Chua & Fahrudin, 2002) as well as burnout, namely emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (Faridah & Zubaidah, 1999). …

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