Date of Conferral
Darci J. Harland
Researchers have determined that early childhood (EC) educators need to have personal and social skills and competencies to address the emotional demands of the EC profession. Research is lacking regarding how preservice programs help prepare students emotionally for the EC profession and on whether online courses are a suitable environment for future EC teachers to learn these skills. The purpose of this study was to explore if and how personal and social emotional intelligence (EI) competencies were being embedded and modeled in community college preservice EC educator online courses. This qualitative multiple case study design was employed using a conceptual framework based on Goleman's EI theory and included 3 community college preservice EC faculty member participants. Research questions targeted self-awareness, motivation, and empathy competencies and data sources included faculty interviews, syllabi, assignment descriptions, asynchronous discussion forum prompts, and faculty feedback on student assignments. Data analysis included using values coding and the identification of relevant themes as related to Goleman's EI theory. Results indicated that while faculty perceived EI as important and that they modeled competencies in online discussions and feedback, there were not many embedded activities in the online courses that provided practice or helped to show growth in EI competencies. This study contributes to positive social change for EC faculty by acting as an impetus for the intentional incorporation of EI activities in online environments, leading possibly to better prepared EC teachers and therefore improved teacher quality of life and teacher retention.