The purpose of this critique is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the dissertation titled “Emotional Competence and Effectiveness of New Teachers” and written by Diane Wanas LeCates in 2019. This dissertation provided the findings of the study conducted on the relationship between training given to new teachers in Delaware, their emotional competence, and their effective performance. In this critique, the analysis of the problem and purpose statements, literature review topics, the research design, as well as findings and conclusions is presented.
Problem and Purpose
The introductory chapter of the dissertation presented a detailed background for the idea of developing emotional competence in novice teachers with the help of training in order to increase their effectiveness in the classroom. However, although the background information was provided effectively, the statement of the problem was not expressed clearly in one comprehensive sentence. It was stated by LeCates (2019) that there was the lack of research on the connection between teachers’ emotional competence and their performance, and there was a need for developing training for teachers to improve their emotional competence to influence their performance in the classroom. The section to present the problem statement is large, and the need for the study was described in the second part of the section: quality training programs were necessary to support new teachers to affect their emotional competence and perform effectively in the classroom. It is possible to assume with reference to the information provided in the chapter that the problem guiding the study is that modern training for new teachers did not include the development of emotional competence despite its potential impact on teachers’ effectiveness.
In comparison to the problem statement, the purpose of the research was formulated clearly: to study the relationship between training for new teachers, their emotional competence, and their effectiveness with reference to performance in the classroom. Four research questions were formulated in order to address the purpose of the research and be able to guide the researcher to find the answers and complete the purpose. Thus, the clarity of the statement was high in relation to the research purpose, but it was low when related to the formulation of the problem to address.
In order to provide the background for the study, support the problem discussion and the purpose statement, the researcher presented much evidence from prior conceptual and empirical research on related topics. It was found out that there was limited research on the topic of the relationship between teachers’ training, their emotional competence, and their effectiveness in the classroom. This conclusion provided the ground for discussing the problem statement. On the one hand, LeCates (2019) presented much evidence to support the ideas that effective training for new teachers required the inclusion of the emotional intelligence component, more research was needed for defining effective teaching, emotional competence was important to be developed, and a low number of teachers were usually involved in training. On the other hand, the findings of the prior conceptual and empirical research were not arranged effectively enough to accentuate and illustrate the problem to resolve.
In spite of some weaknesses in structuring sections and formulating the research problem, it is possible to claim that the study posed interesting and important questions to address because the determined relationship between new teachers’ training, their emotional competence and effectiveness was not researched previously. In this context, one should note that the results of the reviewed study could potentially affect important stakeholder groups. Thus, the study findings were reported to be significant for researchers interested in the topic, teachers and administrators as practitioners, and policy makers and academicians responsible for the development of training and induction programs for new teachers. The reason is that the author addressed the gap in research on explaining how the emotional competence of new teachers could be correlated with received training and then with effectiveness in the classroom.
The author organized the review of literature according to the concepts and topics identified in the problem and purpose statements: the emotional intelligence theory, the components of effective teaching and their relation to emotional competence, and teacher preparation and training programs. The sources for the literature review were selected depending on their ability to cover these topics, and the used sources were of the high quality. The reason is that, for presenting a historical background for the emotional intelligence theory, LeCates (2019) effectively used many seminal theoretical works to describe and support the discussion of existing theoretical models. The selection of scholarly journals and peer-reviewed articles to demonstrate researchers’ views on the correlation between the emotional competence of teachers and used methods of effective teaching was also appropriate. The analysis of the existing new teacher induction and preparation programs was efficiently based on state policies and programs, as well as previous researchers’ assessments. It is possible to state that the author demonstrated objectivity in the selection of references in order to present different perspectives regarding the identified topics.
When analyzing the thoroughness of the literature review, it is possible to state that the author mainly referred to the articles published in the period of 2000-2015 in spite of the fact that the dissertation was completed in 2019. This aspect allows for concluding that only limited research published during the period of 2016-2019 was included in the literature review, and important modern tendencies in covering the identified topics as well as some relevant literature streams could be omitted. It could be possible to focus more on the analysis of the current literature on emotional competence in training for teachers. Therefore, the provided literature review cannot be discussed as exhaustive.
Despite some issues with covering the available literature on the topic, it is possible to state that the author effectively summarized the bodies of literature. The reason is that LeCates (2019) described the most relevant models related to the emotional intelligence theory in detail. In addition, the measurement tools for emotional intelligence were also explained sufficiently. Moreover, when reviewing the research on the correlation between emotional competence and effective teaching characteristics and methods, the author presented all the required details regarding previous studies in order to summarize the information. Different frameworks of teaching and researchers’ findings were effectively introduced and explained.
It is also important to note that the author successfully analyzed the existing literature as she presented the review of topics from the perspective of different researchers and compared and opposed their ideas and conclusions where it was necessary. In the sections other than the first one with the description of theoretical models, LeCates (2019) not only presented the findings of previous researchers on issues but also concluded regarding similarities and differences, as well as strengths and weaknesses in their approaches. From this perspective, the literature review was mostly effective in terms of the presentation and analysis and fitting the problem and purpose statements formulated for the research. However, the coverage of recent studies on the problem was not appropriate and could be improved.
In order to address the purpose of the study and answer four research questions on the types of teacher training available, on the relationship between training and self-reported emotional competence, on the relationship between training and teachers’ effectiveness, and on the relationship between teachers’ emotional competence and effectiveness, the quantitative methodology was selected in contrast to the qualitative one. This methodology was selected appropriately depending on the necessity of finding the relationship between the variables, as it is provided in the research questions. LeCates (2019) also chose a non-experimental correlation research design that is most suitable for determining the degree of relationship or correlation between variables. It is important to note that the application of the quantitative correlation research design allowed for generalizing the study results to be relevant for a wider population.
The non-random sampling approach was applied in order to recruit the participants, and this method was most effective for focusing on the population involving only new teachers enrolled in Delaware’s Comprehensive Induction Plan (CIP). This sampling allowed for selecting the teachers who directly addressed the inclusion criteria and covered the selected population of new teachers receiving specific training in Delaware according to the CIP. Thus, this successful approach allowed for inviting 143 teachers, among which 48 participants were recruited for the analyzed study. This sample size was appropriate for small quantitative studies. The author also provided the descriptive demographic data in this chapter of the dissertation in order to support the information on the sample.
The author used three instruments to collect data: the Widener Emotional Learning
Scale (WELS) as a self-administered survey for measuring teachers’ emotional competence, the Delaware Performance Appraisal System (DPAS II) survey to assess teacher effectiveness, and the new teacher training survey developed by the author. The WELS and DPAS II had the high levels of reliability and validity to provide accurate data because these instruments were actively used by other researchers, and their objectivity and validity were evaluated and supported. The WELS assessed emotional competence referring to the Tolerance of Differences or Conflict, Awareness of Emotions in Self and Others, Flexibility in Perspective Taking and Behavior, Interpersonal Relationship Skills, and Self-Management Skills using 33 items and a Likert scale.
The quality of DPAS II was supported by the fact that the survey was based on Danielson’s Framework for Teaching, and it was actively used by many researchers. Although the new teacher training survey was developed by the author of the dissertation, its validity and reliability were checked with reference to the pilot test results involving teachers who worked at a public school district in Delaware. The data were collected mainly in a digital form because the surveys were web-based, and hard copies of teaching evaluation results were provided by the participants.
The gathered data were effectively coded in order to provide information in a numerical form and analyze using descriptive and inferential statistics methods. The frequency distribution analysis was used efficiently to address the first question on the types of training that new teachers in Delaware had. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software was applied for conducting ANOVA and multiple regression tests, and these tests were mentioned in the chapter on methodology. The discussed analyses were most suitable in order to test the relationship between the variables mentioned in the research questions. However, used cross-tabulation and chi-square tests were not discussed in this chapter in spite of using them for analysis and mentioning them in the abstract. From this perspective, it is possible to state that the author selected an appropriate methodology to address the research purpose and questions in order to determine the extent to which teachers’ emotional competence training was correlated with their level of competence and their effectiveness in the classroom. However, the author failed to discuss all the tests used for statistical analysis in the chapter on methodology.
Findings and Conclusions
The findings of the research were explained in a detailed but inappropriate way. There were also some weaknesses in the presentation of the results. The presentation of the findings was appropriately organized according to the research question. On the other hand, the author focused on using tables with descriptive statistics to support results instead of presenting tables with the statistical tests results, for example, for an ANOVA test, a regression test, and a chi-square test. The research questions were answered in much detail as LeCates (2019) presented the comprehensive description of findings. In response to the first research question, according to the author’s comments, it was found that 75% of new teachers received training of at least one type (courses, lessons, or professional development) on content, assessments, diversity, collaboration, adaptation of lessons, communication, and self-reflection. The author stated that most participants revealed having training on preparation, the classroom environment, responsibilities, and instruction, but according to the frequency tables, about 73% of the participants reported having no training on the management of feelings and emotions. This component was directly related to emotional competence, but it seemed not to influence the author’s conclusions.
The results of ANOVA tests were used to address the second research question. The author provided descriptive statistics tables, but not actual ANOVA table results. It was mentioned that only five of the twelve items from the new teacher training survey showed the interaction between the type of training and teachers’ emotional competence, but these results were not reflected appropriately in the abstract and concluding remarks. Thus, it was claimed that there was a significant relationship between the type of training and five emotional competencies, such as self-management skills, tolerance, interpersonal relationships, flexibility, and awareness of emotions, but other seven competencies were not discussed.
In order to address the third question, the chi-square test and cross-tabulation analysis were applied despite the fact that they were not described in the chapter on methodology. It was found that most participants had the effective performance level, but there was little differentiation between the type of training and their effective performance in the classroom (LeCates, 2019). In response to the fourth question, the author conducted a multiple regression analysis (but no illustrative table was provided) and found that all WELS components could explain 23% of the variance in teachers’ evaluation. This variance can be discussed as rather valid to claim that teachers’ emotional competence measured by the WELS could predict their performance and teaching effectiveness.
The discussion of the conclusions was directly based on the findings presented, as well as on the ideas that were found in the review of the literature. It is also important to note that the discussion of the findings addressed the gaps in the explanation presented in the chapter on findings. Furthermore, the conclusions were discussed in the context of the existing research on the topic. The concluding chapter of the dissertation included all the necessary parts of such research papers: the discussion of the findings depending on the research question and previous researchers’ results, conclusions, implications for research and practice, limitations, and recommendations for future research. It is important to note that the sub-section on recommendations was substantial, indicating the areas uncovered by the discussed study and requirement more examination.
The discussed dissertation addressed the important purpose, and the methodology was selected appropriately in order to answer the set research questions on the types of training and the relationship between variables. However, the dissertation had some weaknesses that influenced its quality significantly. Thus, it is possible to note that the problem statement lacked clarity, the literature review did not include most of the latest studies on the topic, the methodology chapter did not address chi-square and cross-tabulation analyses, and the interpretation of some findings required improvement. These aspects do not allow for concluding that the results of the dissertation can be widely cited and applied because of the quality issue. From this perspective, the dissertation could contribute to research and practice in the sphere of education, but some parts needed improvements.
LeCates, D. W. (2019). Emotional competence and effectiveness of new teachers (Publication No. 13860878) [Doctoral dissertation, Widener University]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.