Term of Award

Fall 2012

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

James Green

Committee Member 1

Bryan Griffin

Committee Member 2

James Bergin

Abstract

Teacher stress and continuing high attrition rates for the teaching profession have significant multiple impacts, although arguably the most important is student achievement. Research indicates that as teacher stress increases to high levels, teacher effectiveness decreases. Attempts to reduce stress have historically focused on organizational or systemic change with minimal success. There remains a clear and distinct call to pursue individual factors that may influence teachers’ abilities to moderate stress. Social emotional competence (SEC) is a set of skills that allows individuals to understand themselves, their emotions, the social context as well as relationships and decision making. Existing research has focused on students’ levels of SEC. The SEC components of self-awareness and responsible decision making directly impact the appraisal or judgment phase of stress. Therefore, this study examined the individual characteristic of SEC and its relationships with teacher stress and teacher intention to leave. Data were also gathered regarding exposure to the five dimensions of SEC during pre-service training and professional development programs. The researcher developed five instruments to be used in an online survey. This study found that teachers continue to experience a significant degree of stress due to working as a teacher. A very weak negative relationship was found between level of SEC and teacher stress. Multiple

regression analysis identified a moderate negative relationship between the SEC component of self-regulation and teacher stress. A weak negative relationship was also found between relationship management and teacher stress. SEC did not moderate the effects of stress on a teacher’s intention to leave. A significant relationship was identified between stress and teacher intention to leave. Teachers reported some exposure to social awareness skills, responsible decision making and relationship management during pre-service and professional learning opportunities. The majority of teachers reported no exposure to self-awareness activities or emotional self-regulation strategies.

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