Practicing teachers and principals in selected Government schools in Victoria provided data on their levels of emotional intelligence and teacher efficacy beliefs. The data supported the theoretical expectation of a linkage between emotional intelligence and teacher self efficacy. Regression analyses showed that neither gender nor age moderated this relationship. However length of teaching experience and current status add significant direct effects on predicting teacher self efficacy but did not moderate the relationship between emotional intelligence and teacher self efficacy. These findings are significant as this now demonstrates a relationship between levels of emotional intelligence in teachers, their self efficacy beliefs and teacher effectiveness.
Departments of education acknowledge this link between teacher effectiveness and teacher self efficacy. In Victoria, the Department of Education and Training (2005a) states that "improving teacher efficacy has four times the [impact] on student outcomes than improving school effectiveness". Dembo and Gibson (1985) assert that because of this connection, "the problem of identifying antecedents of efficacy and developing ways to enhance teachers' sense of efficacy is critical" (p.177). Sutton and Wheatley (2003) suggest that "the substantial variation in teacher efficacy may result in part from variance in teachers' emotions" (p.339). Thus research needs to explore the relationship between teacher emotions and efficacy beliefs (Emmer & Hickman, 1991).
This paper reports on a study that examines the relationship between emotional intelligence and teacher self efficacy among primary and secondary school teachers. The moderating effects of gender, age, years of experience and current teaching status on the association between emotional intelligence and teacher self efficacy are also reported.
Self efficacy, when applied to teachers, refers to the extent to which teachers believe they can bring about change and impact on student behaviour and learning outcomes (Gibson & Dembo, 1984). Teachers who have "a high sense of efficacy about their teaching capabilities can motivate their students and enhance their [students'[ cognitive development" (Bandura, 1994, para 56). "The task of creating environments conducive to learning rests heavily on the talents and self efficacy of teachers" (Bandura, 1995, p.19).
Studies reported by Tschannen-Moran, et al, (1998) repeatedly demonstrate the importance of teacher self efficacy and its association with a wide range of teaching and learning outcomes. These outcomes include teachers' classroom behaviours, effort and goal-setting, their openness to new ideas and willingness to try new methods, planning and organisational competence, persistence, resilience, commitment and enthusiasm for teaching and longevity in their chosen career. In addition, teacher self efficacy has been shown to influence student achievement, attitude and emotional growth and is related to the health of the organisation, atmosphere in the school, classroom based decision-making and to student self efficacy.
Gibson and Dembo (1984) found that teachers with high efficacy were better able to keep students engaged in learning activities and "spent more time monitoring and checking seat-work" whereas teachers with low efficacy demonstrated a lack of persistence and gave negative feedback to students (p.576). Studies of pre-service (student) teachers consistently demonstrate that those higher in self efficacy are more humanistic in their approach to their students (Woolfolk & Hoy, 1990), have higher quality lesson presentation and questioning skills, and more effective classroom management techniques (Emmer & Hickman, 1991; Saklofske, et al, 1988).
In contrast, a study using the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2002) yielded no significant differences for age or gender as expected. However, the same study revealed significant differences between experienced and novice teachers. On the basis of their own research, Imants and De Brabander (1996) using a modified version of the TES, concluded that several factors influence and impact on teacher self efficacy. These include position in the school hierarchy, gender and years of experience.
Experience may be a key ingredient in teacher's sense of efficacy. Tsui (1995), using a modified version of the TES, found that "years of teaching experience in a teaching setting is an overriding factor in moulding one's feelings of teaching efficacy" (p.372). Given that Bandura (1997) describes mastery and vicarious experiences as major sources of efficacy beliefs, this finding is not surprising.
Previous research, although limited, has focused on "emotions as a consequence rather than an antecedent" of efficacy beliefs (Sutton & Wheatley, 2003, p.339). Emmer and Hickman (1991) recommend research to explore the relationship between teacher emotions and efficacy beliefs. "Efficacy beliefs are the product of cognitive processing of diverse sources of information" (Bandura, 1997, p.115) which, Bandura names as Somantic and Emotional states, and is "somatic information conveyed by physiological and emotional states", that is, referring to a person's own perception of their emotional and psychological position (Bandura, 1997, p.106). The extent to which teachers are able to deal effectively with their own and others' emotions can be considered a reflection of their own emotional intelligence (Atkins & Stough, 2005).
Mayer, Salovey, Caruso & Sitarenios (2001) later refined their definition to state that emotional intelligence is "an ability to recognise the meanings of emotions and their relationships, and to reason and problem-solve on the basis of them" (p.234). This definition of the concept differs from that used by some others (eg, Bar-On, 1997; Goleman, 1995, 1998; Schutte, Malouff, Hall, Haggerty, Cooper, Golden & Dornheim, 1998). Fortunately, while definitions vary, "they nevertheless tend to be complementary rather than contradictory" (Ciarrochi, Chan & Caputi, 2000, p.540).
An ability model of emotional intelligence suggests emotional intelligence skills can be taught and that individuals can learn and improve their competence in each of the four branches of emotional intelligence. For example, a teacher who is low on the second branch of emotional intelligence, 'using emotions', may be assisted to learn the skills required for "harnessing different emotions to encourage different approaches to problem solving" (Perry, Ball & Stacey, 2004, p.33).
The four-branch model of emotional intelligence is the basis for the development of the Reactions to Teaching Situations measure (RTS) (Perry et al, 2004; Perry & Ball, 2005). The RTS, was developed by Perry et al, (2004) for use with teachers. The RTS provides ten vignettes of typical teaching situations and asks a respondent how likely they are to respond in one of four ways, each corresponding to one of the four branches of emotional intelligence identified by Mayer and colleagues (Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Mayer et al, 2001).
Studies have demonstrated that people who report higher levels of emotional intelligence also report higher levels of attending to health and appearance and more positive interactions with friends and family (Brackett & Mayer, 2003). Similarly, Schutte, Malouff, Bobik, Coston, Greeson, Jedlicka, Rhodes and Wendorf (2001) found a significant positive correlation between social skills and emotional intelligence and that participants with higher levels of emotional intelligence reported significantly greater marital satisfaction than did those with lower levels. Teachers have rated school children with higher emotional intelligence as less aggressive and more pro-social than their peers and customer service personnel with higher emotional intelligence were rated as more effective by their managers than those with lower levels of emotional intelligence (Brackett & Mayer, 2003). Abraham (2000) found that more emotionally intelligent employees had higher levels of job satisfaction and greater commitment to their organisations.
Similarly, Gardner and Stough (2002) found significantly positive relationships between transformational leadership and emotional intelligence, a significant negative correlation between emotional intelligence and laissez-faire leadership but no significant relationship between emotional intelligence and transactional leadership. This study (Gardner & Stough, 2002) provides some empirical evidence to support the contention that a leader's emotional intelligence affects others in an organisation and impacts on results (Goleman, Boyzatis & McKee, 2001). Using the Swinburne University Emotional Intelligence Test (SUEIT), a self-report measure designed for the workplace, Gardner & Stough (2002) surmised that "leaders identified as having high levels of EI are more likely to desire success, work harder, lead an effective team and be more satisfied working with others. It could be inferred that individuals with particularly low levels of EI ... would not make effective leaders" (pp.75-76).
In contrast, a study of pre-service (student) teachers using the RTS, by Perry et al, (2004) found that females reported significantly higher emotional intelligence than did males. Other studies show remarkably similar results. (Ciarrochi et al, 2000; Day & Carroll, 2004). Women scored significantly higher than did men on overall emotional intelligence. Interestingly, the sample populations in these studies are fairly typical of many of the studies undertaken in emotional intelligence research, ie, university students, more women in the sample than men and the majority being in their early twenties. As a result it is not known whether the results would generalise to other populations. Many researchers and authors recommend that further studies explore the relationship between gender and emotional intelligence (Barchard & Hakstian, 2004; Perry et al, 2004; Schaie, 2001; Van Rooy et al, 2005).
To be deemed an intelligence, emotional intelligence should increase with age and experience as is the case with other cognitive abilities (Mayer et al, 1999) or at least vary with age (Schaie, 2001). In a paper by Atkins and Stough (2005) the relationship between age and emotional intelligence was explored with studies using the MSCEIT and the SUEIT. Only the SUEIT subscale 'Emotions direct cognitions' was significantly and positively correlated with age, especially for women executives. All other correlations between emotional intelligence and age were small but in the direction expected. In contrast, there were no significant age effects for overall emotional intelligence or any of the four branches of emotional intelligence when measured by the MSCEIT. Similar results have been found in other studies (Day & Carroll, 2004; Perry et al, 2004). However, results in these studies may have been affected by restriction of range for age and experience which may make it difficult to detect relationships with emotional intelligence (Schaie, 2001).
The main evidence for a positive correlation between emotional intelligence and age is presented in the manuals for the MSCEIT (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2002) and EQ-i:S (Bar-On, 1997). Even so, effect sizes for age appear to be very small (Atkins & Stough, 2005). Results from an Australian study provide some support for a weak significant correlation between age and emotional intelligence (Palmer, Manocha Gignac & Stough, 2003).
When there has been a relationship between age and emotional intelligence, it has been weak and the same can be said for the relationship between experience and emotional intelligence. Day and Carroll (2004) found that years of experience (studying in university) correlated positively but weakly with overall emotional intelligence and with three of four subscales of the MSCEIT.
Emotional intelligence might be higher in executive populations than it is among those working in more general roles in organisations (Palmer, Gardner & Stough, 2003), which supports previous assertions that emotional intelligence might be associated with higher occupational status and success (Goleman, 1995; 1998).
The relationship between age, length of experience, current status and emotional intelligence remains unclear and further research is warranted.
It was hypothesised that
Their ages ranged between 22 and 63 years, the mean age was 45.60 years (SD = 9.30), the mode was 51 years and the median age was 48 years.
The number of years of teaching experience for participants ranged from 1 to 43 years. The mean length was 19.71 years (SD=10.19) and the mode was 30 years and the median length was 21 years.
The classifications for teachers and principals used by the Victorian Department of Education and Training were used to define the categories of current status level. There are five levels from highest status to lowest status. The proportions in the sample were: Principal (8.1%), Leading Teacher (14.7%), Expert Teacher (51.2%), Accomplished Teacher (14.7%) and, Graduate Teacher (10.4%). Information about the variation of skills and responsibilities within these classifications for teachers in Victoria is available ( http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/hrweb/careers/default.htm).
The RTS (Perry et al, 2004) was chosen on the basis of its face validity for use with teachers, its demonstrated internal consistency (alpha reliability 0.82; Perry et al, 2004) and its construct validity as a measure of emotional intelligence (convergent and discriminant validity; Perry & Ball, 2005). The RTS consists of ten descriptions of school-based situations that teachers might typically encounter. For each situation there are four possible reaction responses that include one for each of the four branches of emotional intelligence. Participants are asked to consider the likelihood of their immediately feeling and thinking in a particular way. Likelihood is measured on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = 'never likely' to 5 = 'always likely'.
The TES (Gibson & Dembo, 1984) was designed to measure the construct of teacher self efficacy. The full scale consists of 30 statements. Respondents are required to indicate their level of agreement towards each statement using a 6-point Likert scale where 1 = 'Strongly Disagree' and 6 = 'Strongly Agree'. Twelve items are negatively worded and require reverse scoring before analysis to enable composite scores to be created. However, the measure is factorially complex. Analyses consistently reveal two relatively independent factors most often referred to as 'Personal Teaching Efficacy' and 'General Teaching Efficacy' (Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Saklofske et al, 1988; Woolfolk & Hoy, 1990).
For this study, an exploratory factor analysis (using principal components) of the TES items was undertaken, as recommended by previous researchers eg, Woolfolk & Hoy (1990), to identify the clearest loading items to measure personal teaching efficacy. The 17 items which loaded >0.30 on the first rotated factor (labelled as the Personal Teaching Efficacy Factor) were used as the measure of teacher self efficacy, and this group of items is consistent with findings of previous studies (Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Guskey & Passaro, 1994; Saklofske, et al, 1988; Woolfolk & Hoy, 1990).
The 17 items of the Personal Teaching Efficacy Factor reflect Bandura's construct of efficacy. The measure was chosen for this study on the basis of its relevance to a wide range of teachers, the adequate reliability for the items comprising the Personal Teaching Efficacy measure (0.84 for this study), and on the basis of credible links made in the literature between personal teaching efficacy and teacher effectiveness
The sample size exceeded the minimum requirement for regression analyses (Tabachnik & Fidell, 2001). An assumption of multicollinearity among independent variables was not violated according to a check of Tolerance statistics. No outliers were found when checking Mahalanobis distance against the critical Chi-square (Pallant, 2001). Inspection of residuals scatter plots and normal probability plots revealed no major violations of the assumptions of normality, linearity, independence of residuals or homoscedasticity. It was not necessary to transform variables.
The highest score for emotional intelligence was 170 out of a possible score of 200. For personal teaching efficacy, the highest score was 99 out of a possible 102.
In order to compare the emotional intelligence and personal teaching efficacy scores for males and females two independent samples t-tests were conducted. There was a significant difference in emotional intelligence scores for males (M=138.19, SD=14.83) and females [M=144.48, SD=12.33; t(199)= -3.22, p=.001]. The magnitude of the differences in the means was moderate (eta squared = .05). However, there was no significant difference in personal teaching efficacy scores for males (M=70.34, SD=9.90), and females [M=72.33, SD=10.08; t(207)= -1.38, p=.17]. The magnitude of the differences in the means was very small (eta squared = .01).
The association between age and emotional intelligence was r=.17 (p<.05), age and teacher self efficacy r=.13 (ns).
With personal teaching efficacy as the dependent variable, emotional intelligence, the centred moderator (eg, gender) and the interaction term as described above, were entered into the analysis. Evidence of a moderator effect is present when the interaction term (interaction between centred predictor and moderator variables) is found to be related (p< .05) to the dependent variable beyond the main effects of the predictor and moderator variables (Baron & Kenny, 1986). Hence the moderator (eg, gender) is said to influence the relationship between emotional intelligence and personal teaching efficacy. Interactions found to be significant would be subjected to post-hoc analyses in order to identify the conditions under which the moderator affects the relationship between the predictor and the dependent variable (Aiken & West, 1991).
|(a) gender||emotional intelligence |
|not found||beta = .40|
|(b) age||emotional intelligence |
|not found||beta = .40|
|(c) experience||emotional intelligence t=5.62***|
experience t = 2.73**
|not found||beta = .37|
beta = .18
|(d) status||emotional intelligence t = 5.24***|
status t = 3.60***
|not found||beta = .34|
beta = .24
The results depicted in Table 1 do not support any interaction between each of the possible moderators (gender, age, length of teaching experience, current status) in the prediction of personal teaching efficacy. In each of the four regressions there was no significant moderation effect, only evidence of some significant direct effects. In each case emotional intelligence was a highly significant predictor of personal teaching efficacy, with significant beta values (range between 0.34 and 0.40). There were also significant direct effects due to length of teaching experience (beta value 0.18), and current status (beta value of 0.24).
These results show that emotional intelligence makes a strong unique contribution to explaining personal teaching efficacy, when the effect of the four possible moderators is controlled for. Length of teaching experience and current status also make significant unique contributions. As current status was seen as making a strong unique contribution, the following analyses investigate the particular nature of this contribution.
Figure 1: Plot of emotional intelligence means for the five status groups
Post-hoc comparisons using the Tukey HSD test indicated that the mean for Accomplished Teachers (M=138.89, SD=14.67) was statistically different (p<.10) from both Leading Teachers (M=147.57, SD=12.77) and Principals (M=149.12, SD=10.95). The means for Graduate Teachers (M=140.09, SD=12.04) and Expert Teachers (M=140.85, SD=13.66) did not differ significantly from any other status group.
Figure 2: Plot of personal teaching efficacy means for the five status groups
Post-hoc comparisons using the Tukey HSD test indicated that the mean for Graduate Teachers (M=66.14, SD=9.33) was statistically different from both Leading Teachers (M=76.84, SD=9.49) and Principals (M=78.00, SD=7.25) as was the mean for Expert Teachers (M=70.35, SD=9.80). The mean for Leading Teachers differed significantly from that of Graduates and Expert teachers, as did the mean for Principals. The mean for Accomplished teachers (M=71.26, SD=9.89) did not differ significantly from any other status group.
Results in this study provide evidence to support the first hypothesis. As expected, emotional intelligence was positively related to teacher self efficacy. The moderate association found between emotional intelligence and teacher self efficacy provides empirical support to the theorised association between these two constructs. However, the hypotheses concerning moderation of the relationship by the variables of age, length of teaching experience and current status were not supported. None of the predicted moderators had a significant impact on the relationship between emotional intelligence and teacher self efficacy. There were no significant interaction effects suggesting that none of the moderators significantly influenced the relationship. In addition, there were no significant main effects for gender or age on the relationship between emotional intelligence and teacher self efficacy. Emotional intelligence has a relationship with teacher self efficacy independent of gender and age. This suggests that regardless of gender or age, a teachers' level of emotional intelligence is related to their sense of efficacy.
On the other hand, years of teaching experience and status are related to a teacher's sense of efficacy. However, status is a stronger influence on teacher self efficacy than experience and neither status nor experience influences a teacher's sense of efficacy as strongly as their level of emotional intelligence does. Importantly, emotional intelligence was a significant predictor of efficacy even after controlling for the effects of gender, age, experience, and status. Emotional intelligence and status together explained 20% of the variance in personal teaching efficacy and of the two, emotional intelligence makes the greater contribution to the predicted model. This is an important finding. Efficacy is a strong predictor of behaviour and teacher self efficacy is strongly related to student achievement. This study has demonstrated that a teacher's level of emotional intelligence is related to their sense of efficacy, independent of their gender, age, status, and experience. This finding can be used in support of training programs, to develop the skills of all teachers in emotional intelligence.
In the current study, younger teachers, males and those in lower status positions have lower levels of emotional intelligence than do females, older teachers and those in higher status positions. It can be argued that training programs to improve emotional intelligence would make a valuable contribution, particularly to the skills of younger teachers, males, and those in lower status positions.
Consistent with theoretical and empirical research by Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy (2002), the present investigation demonstrated that neither gender nor age is significantly related to teacher self efficacy. On the other hand, the current results demonstrated significant correlations between efficacy and experience as well as between efficacy and status, consistent with previous research (Imants & De Brabander, 1996; Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2002; Tsui, 1995).
Teachers occupying higher status positions in the hierarchy, ie, Leading Teachers and Principals, have a stronger sense of efficacy than Graduate Teachers who occupy lower status positions. This suggests an association between efficacy and current status is consistent with previous research that position in a school's hierarchy affects a teacher's sense of efficacy (Imants & De Brabander, 1996; Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2002).
It is important to find ways to enhance efficacy for teachers who are less experienced and who occupy lower status positions in a school's hierarchy. This provides support for developing training programs to teach the skills associated with emotional intelligence for the purpose of enhancing teachers' sense of efficacy, particularly focussed on improving the skills of less experienced teachers and those in lower status positions,
It is possible that enhancing a teacher's emotional intelligence may have a positive influence on their sense of efficacy. This in turn may lead to improved student achievement since a strong sense of efficacy is associated with important outcomes, such as student learning and teacher effectiveness. This is an argument for developing pre-service and in-service courses for teachers that focus on the skills associated with emotional intelligence.
In conclusion, results in this study were consistent with expectations that emotional intelligence is positively related to teacher self- efficacy. In addition, consistent with prediction, female teachers reported higher levels of emotional intelligence than did male teachers. Age and status were significantly related to emotional intelligence while experience and status were significantly related to personal teaching efficacy. However, none of the predicted moderators had a significant impact on the relationship between emotional intelligence and efficacy. Emotional intelligence is a significant predictor of efficacy even after controlling for the effects of gender, age, length of experience, and current status.
Assisting teachers to further develop their emotional intelligence may enhance their sense of efficacy. As teacher self efficacy is associated with student achievement, enhancing teachers' emotional intelligence appears to be a means of achieving improved student outcomes.
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|Authors: Andrea Penrose is a primary school Assistant Principal in the Department of Education and Training in Victoria. She is currently completing her Post-Graduate Diploma in Psychology at Monash University. Email: email@example.com
Dr Chris Perry is a Faculty Fellow in Faculty of Education at Deakin University. She combines school based consultancies with research in the area of individual's growth and development especially as it relates to the development of thinking and learning. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Ball is a Faculty Fellow at Deakin University, and manages the Psychological Type Research Unit. Since retirement as an Associate Professor, he has been involved in conducting school reviews and contributing to a range of consultancies for education authorities. Email: email@example.com
Please cite as: Penrose, A., Perry, C. & Ball, I. (2007). Emotional intelligence and teacher self efficacy: The contribution of teacher status and length of experience. Issues In Educational Research, 17(1), 107-126. http://www.iier.org.au/iier17/penrose.html