Emotional Intelligence and Social Work Student Education: Implications for Graduate Professional Education
Emotional intelligence (EI) or the ability to understand one's own emotional state and the emotional state of others, is hypothesized as critical for appropriately and effectively connecting with others (Bar-On, R., 1997a, Bar-On, R. & Parker, J., 2002; Goleman, D., 1992, 1995, Saarni, 1999).
Jaeger (2003) revealed a strong relationship between EI and academic performance suggesting the potential for enhancing social emotional learning (SEL) in graduate classrooms (p. 615). While research suggests cognitive and emotional development are inseparable and emphasizing one over the other leads to diminished learning and job performance; professional school graduates are as unable to adapt to change, inept at effective group work, lacking appropriate skills to deal with their own emotions and the emotions of others (Jaeger, p. 617). Corporate executives view graduate education as too theoretical and lacking consideration for the emotional development of students.
This presentation, reports the results exploring if an existing professional social work education program increases the EI level of students over a semester of education. EI is measured using the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). It measures five composite scales: Intrapersonal, Intrapersonal, Stress Management, Adaptability and General Mood EQ-i's. The study consist of a pre-test/post-test of BSW and MSW students at the beginning and end of the fall of 2004 semester. The purpose is to develop data on a possible connection between emotions, EI, social work professional education. The aim is to provide a foundation for future research and a SEL component for infusion into social work curriculum and or as a course.
It is hypothesis the students will manifest EI above the mean at the pretest and that the current social work curriculum will increase the pretest EI level at the post-test.
This presentation suggest implication for professional education/practice strategies, techniques, skills, outcome effectiveness, and overall professional competence.
Keywords: Emotion, Behavior, Emotional Intelligence, Academic Performance, Practice Effectiveness, Professional Competence
Dr. James Smith
Assistant Professor, Division of Social Work, College of Health Sciences, University of Wyoming