The relationship between emotional intelligence and self-efficacy amongst teachers in the Western Cape
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This study focused on the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and self-efficacy amongst teachers in the Western Cape. Teachers are often emotionally overwhelmed by having to meet the demands and expectations set by the education system, parents, colleagues and learners (Coetzee & Jansen, 2007). The South African educational system is in a transitional stage. The lack of discipline in schools, the abolishment of corporal punishment, unmotivated learners, redeployment, retrenchments and retirement packages for teachers, large pupil-teacher ratios and a new curriculum approach all contribute to raising the stress levels of teachers (Ngidi & Sibaya, 2002). Teachers also experience intense, emotion-laden interactions on a daily basis and experience a great number of emotional demands compared to other professionals (Burke & Greenglass, 1995). In particular, primary school teachers in socially deprived areas at times are considered to be more a child-welfare assistant than a conventional school teacher (Eacute & Esteve, 2000). Salovey and Mayer (1990) define EI as the ability of people to deal with their emotions. The definition goes further to suggest that EI is the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one‟s thinking and action (Salovey & Mayer, 1990, as cited in Ream, 2010). Developing an individual‟s self-efficacy creates a regulation of self-awareness, which is essential in developing emotions. According to Bandura (1997), self-awareness creates a strong connection to self-efficacy, as self-efficacy emphasises selfawareness and self-regulation as factors influencing the development of self-efficacy beliefs. EI and self-efficacy merge as an individual interprets organisational realities by the ability to recognise thoughts, feelings and behaviours through self-awareness, regulation and control (Bandura, 1997). In order to enable teachers to cope effectively with these demands, this study aimed to determine the relationship between EI and self-efficacy of teachers. According to Gundlach, Marinko and Douglas (2003), the mental processes of self-efficacy can be impacted by emotions as "emotions left uncontrolled can interfere with the cognitive processing of information that can be vital to task performance" (p. 234). It can be deduced that a person with low EI and low self-efficacy will likely struggle in maintaining order in his/her daily tasks. Ream (2010) states that when individuals are able to control their emotions, make accurate attributions with regard to past workplace events and objectively understand how their emotions and attributions influence their thoughts, feelings and expectancies about future workplace events, they are better able to enhance their self-efficacy beliefs. However, when organisational members are unable to control their emotions and fail to make objective attributions with regard to causation, it is likely that they will underestimate their capabilities and that their self-efficacy perceptions will suffer (Gundlach et al., 2003). The study targeted teachers at various primary schools in the Western Cape. The respondents were asked to answer a self-administered consolidated questionnaire consisting of a biographical survey, the Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test and the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Both these tests have been demonstrated to be psychometrically sound and their reliability and validity have been extensively reported on and supported in numerous studies. The sample group (n = 90) consisted of male and female teachers, and convenience sampling was utilised to select the sample. The key findings of this study suggest that there is no significant relationship between the EI and self-efficacy of teachers and their demographic profile. Consistent with theoretical and empirical research by Penrose, Perry and Ball (2007) and Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk-Hoy (2001), the present investigation demonstrated that neither gender nor age nor race was significantly related to the self-efficacy levels of teachers. This study enriches the literature regarding teachers' EI and self-efficacy by exploring the existence and extent of the relationship between these two variables.