Term of Award

Fall 2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Walter S. Polka

Committee Member 1

Erik Brooks

Committee Member 2

Barbara Mallory

Committee Member 3

Walter Polka

Committee Member 4

Abebayehu Tekleselassie

Abstract

In an effort to provide for a better understanding of the factors that exert influence on the career decisions of special educators, the present study sought to examine the influence of emotional intelligence and various demographic factors on the career longevity of special educators. One hundred twenty nine special education teachers in the Houston Count, Georgia School System completed a two-part survey consisting of the General Emotional Intelligence Scale and a researcher-created demographic questionnaire. The following overarching research question was answered through this study- What is the role of emotional intelligence in the career decisions of special education teachers? In addition, the following research sub-questions were answered- To what extent does emotional intelligence depend on the career longevity of special education teachers?; To what extent does the mean emotional intelligence of special education teachers vary by school level factors?; To what extent does the mean emotional intelligence of special education 2 teachers vary by socio-demographic factors? Results of the study indicated that the emotional intelligence ratings of veteran special educator respondents, was on average, significantly higher than the emotional intelligence ratings of respondents their nonveteran peer respondents. Comparisons of the mean emotional intelligence ratings for respondents when grouped by various socio-demographic and school level factors showed results of mixed significance. Statistically significant differences were found in the mean emotional intelligence ratings of respondents when grouped according to experience, race, age, annual salary, level of degree held, type of teacher preparation program completed and socioeconomic status. No statistically significant differences were found in the mean emotional intelligence ratings of respondents when grouped by sex or urban/rural school location. This study's findings hold greatest implications for school administrators, those persons who are responsible for teacher preparatory training, students who receive special education support and special educators.

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