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Developing Emotionally Competent Teachers

Emotional Intelligence and Pre-Service Teacher Education

Roisin Corcoran and Roland Tormey

Classrooms are emotional places, filled at different times with enjoyment, excitement, anger, hurt and boredom. The teacher’s skill in working with emotional information and in regulating their own and their pupils’ emotion impacts upon what and how pupils learn. But what emotional competence do teachers need? Can they learn this in pre-service teacher education? And should this kind of ability even be categorised as emotional skill, competence or intelligence? Given recent policy initiatives in this area, these questions have become increasingly pressing.
This book focuses on how pre-service student teachers develop the competence to work in and with the emotionally rich life of the classroom. Building on the concept of emotional intelligence, it examines the skills used by student teachers in perceiving and regulating emotions, generating particular emotional states to facilitate particular types of thinking, and understanding the processes of emotional change in their classroom. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative data, it explores what pre-service teachers can be seen to have learned through an emotional competence training programme and how this impacted upon their teaching.


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We would firstly like to thank the students involved in the study. We appre- ciate their continued willingness to take part and engage in this study, their openness, and their desire to learn and develop through the process. We hope that this book will stand as something of a tribute to their desire to become better teachers. We would also like to thank our colleagues and friends in the Department of Education and Professional Studies at the University of Limerick who provided encouragement and practical advice at various stages of the work, especially Tom Geary and Jim Gleeson who facilitated this research. We would like to acknowledge the funding that enabled this work to be completed. This monograph relates directly to Roisin Corcoran’s doctoral dissertation and was written with the support of a Postgraduate Award from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS). The Ubuntu Network also provided funding and support to this project as part of a study of the role of emotional intel- ligence in enabling student teachers to engage with overseas development issues and moral education – we would like to thank Tamzin Batteson, Deirdre Hogan and Joanne O’Flaherty in particular. We are also grateful to the Centre de Recherche et d’Appui pour la Formation et ses Technologies (CRAFT) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne which has also financially supported this publication. Roisin would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to her mother – loving and constant. She would also...

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