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D. Byrne

Norwich University (UNITED STATES)
The purpose of my study was to investigate the effects of service-learning experiences, combined with reflective practice, on pre-service teachers’ emotional intelligence. Currently many preparatory programs in the U. S. stress combining the pedagogy of teaching with practical applications. Since much of the present-day emphasis in teacher education is on cognition, with some attention given to the psychomotor domain through sports, the affective domain, or emotional intelligence, of pre-service teachers appears to be neglected or ignored, and the nation’s schools run the risk of having a plethora of teachers without an awareness of their own or others’ emotional intelligence. Thus, my phenomenological study explored pre-service teachers’ participation with an adolescent population and attempted to discern whether this might provide a means to explore the combined phenomena of service-learning and reflection upon pre-service teachers’ emotional intelligence.

This phenomenological research study involved twelve pre-service teachers. Each participant was available for an initial interview, a reflective writing training session, and four service-learning experiences at the local boys and girls club, each of which was followed by a reflective writing. An individual post-interview was conducted at the conclusion of my study. Mayer and Salovey’s Four Branch Model of Emotional Intelligence, with its inherent social abilities, was used in the data analysis. My research findings indicated that the participants’ self-awareness of their emotional intelligence appeared to heighten in the areas of empathy and patience.

Thus, a conclusion might be drawn that becoming a teacher is a learning process that may need to include a focus not only on teaching strategies but also on personal awareness and development of an individual’s emotional intelligence, with the implication for integrating both the cognitive and the affective domains during the pre-service teaching formative process.

For future research, a replicated qualitative phenomenological study could be conducted in a different geographical area for a longer period of time to determine if the results might validate this study. In addition, a quantitative study could focus on administering an emotional intelligence assessment, such as the Emotional Competence Inventory—University Edition, to teacher education students prior to, during, and after service-learning and reflection experiences for analysis of participants’ emotional intelligence.