Trait emotional intelligence (EI) may prove to be most valuable as an approach for dealing with others’ behaviours/emotions via its related psychological processes. Personality trait theory posits that an individual’s level of EI affects their cognitive-affective-behavioural reaction towards students with emotional behavioural disorders (EBDs) and influences the level of difficult behaviour. EI would be an essential element in fostering supportive interactions with students as a way of preventing and/or managing disruptive behaviours. The author explores which individuals are more predisposed to discriminate against EBD students using an attribution model framework and identifies the most effective and supportive EI traits. Two hundred and sixty-one teachers from 51 Victorian schools completed self-report questionnaires, including the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire. A quantitative survey methodology used vignettes (depicting a student with either mild or severe EBD symptoms), with 50/50 surveys randomly distributed. Teacher EI predicted the behaviour towards students with EBDs, whilst bypassing or biasing conscious thought processing. Combinations of EI traits were identified that produced the most desirable outcomes, demonstrating EI’s propensity to direct reactions towards a more effective or dysfunctional helping approach. The findings suggest that the most effective approaches towards helping EBD students are the innate dispositional reactions that establish the necessary psychological foundations for any successful interaction or outcome. The development of an assessment tool (Assessment Screen for Emotionally Intelligent Teachers (ASET)) lays a sound foundation for profiling teachers with these ideal qualities.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited