Posted: May 25th, 2022

The different levels of intelligence essay paper.

Hayes Case Study: EQ

It is now clearly recognized that individuals have different levels of intelligence. How to define the word “intelligence” and how to measure the differences between one person and another are still open to debate. However, only recently has it been theorized that people also have varying emotional intelligence (EQ), or how well they know and can handle their emotions. The article, “Emotional Preparation for Teaching: a case study about trainee teachers in England,” by Denis Hayes (2003) considered the impact of emotions on teacher trainees. The study demonstrated emotions’ influence on the trainee teachers’ ability to effectively function. It also suggested that teachers need to learn how to cope with their feelings is important in times of rapid change and increased stress to keep satisfied with their work and not leave the field of education.

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In 1995 Daniel Goleman published Emotional Intelligence, which led to further thoughts on the definition of intelligence and the other areas of interpersonal personal and personal strengths that happy, successful people shared. Goleman explains that EQ is another way to show one’s intelligence. It consists of understanding and managing one’s own feelings and using them to make sound decisions; personally motivating oneself; remaining hopeful while facing frustrations; demonstrating empathy and compassion; interacting well with others; and effectively managing relationships. Such emotional skills matter immensely in regard to a person’s family, work, marriage, health and well being.

Individuals with EQ exhibit impulse control, self-esteem, self-motivation, mood management, and people skills. People with interpersonal EQ enjoy socializing with peers and social occasions; appear to have natural leadership abilities; readily give advice to friends with problems; seem to be “people smart;” enjoy belonging to groups;

gain pleasure from informally teaching others; like to play games with other individuals; have two or more close friends; are empathic about people’s concerns; and are often sought out by other individuals. From an individual perspective, this person shows a great deal of independence, has a realistic sense of personal strengths and weaknesses, acts well on his or her own and does not usually follow the status quo. This individual also has high self-esteem, self-worth and a good sense of self-direction, can accurately express personal feelings, is able to be introspective about his/her actions, and learns from failures and successes in life.

All these traits are important for individuals to perform well in their work situations, especially teachers. In his research, Hayes (2003) was interested in knowing the level of these traits in teacher trainees. He explains that as an important part of their educational training, teaching interns in England must spend a considerable amount of time in school placement to gain experience in classroom teaching and staff membership. Trainees who pursue an undergraduate degree that leads to Qualified Teacher Status are required to spend 32 weeks in school or similar settings; postgraduate trainees undertaking a one-year course have to spend 18 weeks in school.

The research in Hayes’ (2003) article focused on the emotional condition of primary trainee teachers prior to and during the graduation of their final school placement. Especially, the study attempted to identify the degree to which these new teachers’ dispositions before school placement impacted their attitudes towards teaching and how much practice is influenced by confidence level, self-belief and emotional security.

Mostly, this qualitative research study was based on these teachers’ 41 written accounts as part of a dissertation on their experiences during final school placement. The teachers had to write a synopsis about their final school experiences based around some or all of the following elements: factors influencing their confidence in the build-up to and during placement, adjustments made to the new situation including how they coped with challenges, and the impact of the school experience on their motivation for teaching.

The paradigm of this research was definitely interpretive, because the results were based on the teachers’ personal experiences. The interpretivist/constructivist paradigm grew out of the philosophy of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology and Wilhelm Dilthey’s interpretive understanding called hermeneutics (Mertens, 2005, p. 12). The interpretivist / constructivist approach suggests that “reality is socially constructed” (Mertens, 2005, p.12), and the researcher tends relies on the “participants’ views of the situation being studied” (Creswell, 2003, p.8) and recognizes the impact of these individuals’ background on the research.

The emotional impact of working in the school system, if overwhelming, can be a major disadvantage to both a new teacher and the students. If teachers are not properly prepared or can not emotionally cope, they may feel frustrated or depressed until making a personal adjustment to the situation or never adjust at all and quit. Unfortunately, turnover in education can be quite high. Hayes (2003) was expecting that the trainees would feel anticipation and even fearful before school placement. However, even he was surprised to their degree of emotional intensity. He noted that the “Respondents’ accounts of the pre-placement period left no doubts that their emotional condition had a significant impact on their preparation for teaching, as expressions of fervor, excitement, agitation, passion and enthusiasm were liberally threaded throughout the accounts.”

One teacher named Rita explained that placement was her final opportunity and the ultimate challenge that she had to face and overcome if she wanted to become a qualified teacher. However, her emotional intelligence was high. She had high self-esteem and was willing to accept challenges. She was going into the situation with a positive attitude that she could cope with whatever confronted her.

Louise, who had a lower emotional intelligence, especially in the area of self-esteem, was more worried about how she would do. Similarly, Eve and Ewan doubted whether they would be able to cope with the demands of teaching, even though they wanted to once again be involved with children in a school setting. Eve said:

looked forward to my final year teaching practice with a mixture of excited anticipation at the prospect of being able to have a ‘proper go’ and occasional, no, frequent, bouts of anxiety brought on by thoughts of ‘What if I can’t cope with staying up until all hours trying to plan, re-plan and re-plan again?’

Unfortunately, in a few cases, the participants were seriously reassessing their suitability for teaching. “The depth of emotion attached to this fundamental issue of vocation underlines the delicate balance that exists between aspiration and exasperation, as the following selection of extracts clearly shows,” noted Hayes (2003). The source of their anxiety varied: Dave was anxious because of negative comments from a teacher; Lulu was upset by negative remarks by staff; Paul and Dorothy appeared uncertain whether to endure the strains and stresses of teaching and weighed the benefits against the perceived costs.

As found by Hayes (2003), the teachers’ emotional ability of handling the situation had a direct influence on not only being a teacher, but being a high-quality teacher: Stephenson (1995) concluded, for example, that the quality of trainee teachers’ experience in school depended principally on their emotional condition, which in turn relied on the quality of the mentoring process. Calderhead & Shorrock found that enculturation into teaching meant that trainee teachers had a considerable amount of adjustments to make before progressing. These processes were wearing and distracting, but mirrored the situation facing teachers who were newly qualified, changing schools, and experiencing marked changes in their working conditions.

The positive aspect of Hayes (2003) study results is that if it is known beforehand that a new teacher will have problems in adapting when first coming into a school system, there are steps that can be taken for preparation. It is possible to be proactive. It is not necessary to wait and see if the teacher does or does not adapt. Teachers can be helped in advance on how to use their emotions in making responsible choices that satisfy them and still conform to expectations. Strategies include according to Dunlop (1984): Providing trainee teachers with clear and accurate documentation that is not overpowering but helps them to conceptualize placement requirements; offering these interns the opportunity to meet key school staff before the school experience to reduce fears about the ‘unseen’ and begin to establish sound relationships; clarifying requirements, especially during the first week, so they can start preparing lessons and feel more in control of events; stressing each placement is a fresh opportunity to do well and success is not dependent on previous experiences; and emphasizing school experience is to be a time of learning time for trainees, in which mistakes are inevitable.

Personal Reaction to this Study

Other researchers, including Goleman, have also found that the teacher’s level of EQ is by far the single most important variable in creating a classroom where the students’ emotional intelligence can be developed healthily. Further, the most important variable in the teachers’ EQ is how they handle their own emotions, especially their negative ones. An effective, successful teacher is largely one who can handle his or her negative feelings in an authentic, real and healthy way. However, as noted in Hayes (2003) study, many teachers are not able to make the adjustment.

For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas will need over 82,000 new teachers by 2008 (as noted in Justice & Espinoza, 2007). Many teachers are leaving the profession within five years of being employed. In order to reduce these numbers, schools are now looking more seriously at teacher preparation programs. In one study described by Justice and Espinoza (2007), 160 beginning teacher candidates were surveyed using the Emotional Skills Assessment Process. According to the Emotional Intelligence Scale, the candidates needed to strengthen skills in assertion, comfort, empathy, decision making, drive strength, time management, commitment ethic, self-esteem, stress management and deference. The skills leadership, aggression, and change orientation were current strengths. To face the challenges of a diverse classroom, teachers needed to develop or strengthen specific skills if they were going to have a longer teaching career.

Goleman (1995) is credited in Emotional Intelligence with encouraging many educators to think about intelligence in two parts, IQ and emotional intelligence. Because of his theory, many educators began to realize that emotions play an important part in a person’s ability to succeed in life. Goleman says “at best, IQ contributes about 20% to the factors that determine life success which leaves 80% to other forces.” (Goleman, p.34). He believes that these other forces may be influenced by emotions. According to Goleman, the more emotionally intelligent have, “abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope”(p.34). Emotional intelligence is essential.

Nelson and Low (2003) state that emotional intelligence is the single most important influencing factor in individual achievement, career success, leadership and life satisfaction. They feel that an emotionally capable person needs to be able to identify, understand, experience, and express human emotions in healthy and productive ways. All of the areas of teacher instruction could use some intervention in order to make teaching students more confident and emotionally prepared to enter the classroom. If beginning teachers knew what skills to apply when they faced challenges, they may stay in the classroom longer than five years. Obtaining important and useful emotional knowledge about themselves and developing emotional skills to guide and support lifelong emotional learning can only strengthen their performance in the classroom and improve student achievement.

Hayes (2003) ended his study stating that although the participants’ extracts later showed that some of their worst fears were eliminated once their placement began, the emotional turmoil that some of them experienced prior to the assignment meant that “too much of their mental energy was directed towards concerns of the heart rather than practical preparation for the job.” Nevertheless, Hayes concluded that learning to cope with the emotions attached to changing circumstances and stressful situations is, as his research confirmed, an integral dimension of teachers’ lives. The development and honing of the intern teachers’ emotional literacy is an essential element of their preparation for teaching and too important to be left to chance.

This is definitely a true concern. There are many teachers, especially the newer ones but veterans as well, who are overwhelmed with all the goals they have to meet, the fast-paced and ever-changing environment in which they work, and the ever-increasing personal, emotional and intellectual needs of their students. It takes a special person to be a “good” teacher, not just a run-of-the-mill teacher. It would be very helpful if colleges and universities placed a greater stress on emotional intelligence in their classes for teacher instruction as well as make it a consistent part of the intern process. Further, once teachers enter the school system, there should be other ways to support them, either through further instruction, support groups, or mentoring.

Teachers are a much-needed profession, and it is unfortunate that the turnover is so high. However, as noted by Hayes (2003) in his article, steps can be taken to help teachers adjust. Perhaps, with time, educational systems will realize the importance of helping their teachers’ build emotional intelligence.


Calderhead, J. & Shorrock, S. (1997) Understanding Teacher Education. London: Falmer


Creswell, J.W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Dunlop, F. (1984) the Education of Feeling and Emotion. London: Allen & Unwin.

Goleman, D. (1995) Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam.

Justice, M, and Espinoza, S. (2007) Emotional intelligence and beginning teacher candidates. Education. (Summer) [electronic version]

Hayes, D. (2003). Emotional preparation for teaching: A case study about trainee teachers in England. Teacher Development. 7: 153.

Mertens, D.M. (2005). Research methods in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative and qualitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Nelson, D. & Low, G. (2003). Emotional Intelligence: Achieving Academic and Career Excellence. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Stephenson, J. (1995) Significant Others: the primary trainee view of practice in schools,

Educational Studies 21: 309-318.

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