The Problems With Psychology Today

The Problems With Psychology Today

Before I start…

Before I begin I want to say that there will be numerous people that disagree with me and that’s totally ok. I love psychology, obviously, but there are numerous issues in the field today overall that I have felt are prevalent in psychology and that I think need discussing.

Empirical literature

The first thing that I feel is important to highlight is the emphasis and focus given only to empirical literature in psychology.

No, we need empirical lit, don’t get me wrong. We need research backing in everything we do. As a psychologist, you are also a scientist and must use empirically backed information. Furthermore, this isn’t an attempt by me to say that we should stop the process of empirical literature, not by any means.

I want to ensure I am being clear and that my point is not misconstrued here.

My question is though, do we focus on empirical literature too much in psychology, to the detriment of other mediums of communicating psychological information and findings?

I am a great believer in psychologists and those working in the mental health profession being more in the public awareness and in public domains. One of the main questions I ask here is, are psychologists not focusing enough on where the public is?

I’ve spoken about this a lot recently, and it was actually one of the things that led me to create GetPsyched in the first place.

We as psychologists, trainees and mental health practitioners, need to be in the mainstream where the people are.

The public doesn’t read empirical literature often. Yes, they feel the impact of it when psychologists utilise empirical principles, but they don’t absorb the content directly. We need psychologists to be on social media, on YouTube, on blogs, in the mainstream where people actually absorb content on a regular basis.

For example, name one publically recognisable psychologist. Name a recent study in psychology that grabbed the public attention. It’s difficult, nearly impossible, to see where psychology is branching from vital empirical literature and communicating it to the masses, where it needs to be absorbed and understood. We need psychologists to be in mediums where their work and what they do is recognised and appreciated.

Processes of getting published, and the value this has for professionals

This kind of leads me to my next point

The actual process of getting published is very challenging, again rightly so. This means that we get the most robust literature into the field of psychology, we need to be scrupulous and challenging of the literature we accept.

There is something to be said about the difficulty that students and new researchers have in getting published as a result though, but this isn’t necessarily something I would directly change.

What I do think is an issue is how psychology researchers are given value based on the number of publications they have to their name.

Now, you might not think this is such an issue, but I do.

Researchers based at universities are often ranked based on the number of publications they get.

This can at times have consequences where researchers break up pieces of research in order to publish multiple articles and not just one big one…again you might not think it’s a big deal.

However, the fact that this goes on speaks to the motives behind this valuable empirical literature.

It’s often not a case of getting their best work out there, sometimes it is of course, but other times its to boost the name and the credibility of the individual and that doesn’t sit well with me.

What’s more, is that the pull to publish more work can at times lead to shoddy results. Now, this is in part why it’s so important to have a critical eye in psychology, but I do not think we address this enough.

It’s not uncommon for researchers to manipulate data to their favour and in ways that give outputs that they want. It might be to get more funding, it might be to boost their position as a researcher, either way, it’s not ok.

I don’t want you leaving thinking I hate empirical literature, I in no way do. In truth, I believe in developing more empirical literature. The research backing I have as counselling psychology is based in empirically backed considerations. This is something I would never change. I believe in the scrupulous nature of publishing research also. However, the points I have discussed here are ones I feel need addressed.

Unequal appreciation of different branches

For me, this is a big one.

In the UK we have a disparity between different branches of psychology.

Let me make this clear from the beginning.

No one branch of psychology is more important or valuable than another!

If you are a doctor in applied psychology then you are equal to all other applied psychologists, clinical, educational, counselling, health, sports and exercise. We don’t fully appreciate that often in this country.

I’m going to try and take bias out of this as much as I can as I am a counselling psychologist in training. However, the way we look at clinical psychology and its hierarchical nature isn’t ok. Every now again on twitter ill voice this…it often doesn’t go down well.

People still see clinical as superior…it’s not.

In the UK we think it is, often because the training is fully funded, with a £26,000 a year salary attached.

Again, I’ve had some Twitter discussions about how this isn’t ok also.

However, the NHS and here in the UK have given clinical this hierarchical nature. I work with some people who are counselling psychologists and counselling psychologists in training that are not allowed to work with borderline personality disorders, it’s left to the clinical psychologists.

This isn’t right, it has no research backing, and it is against the egalitarian nature of all applied psychologies.

Counselling psychologists can work with a client diagnosed with BPD just as well as any other. One of the only ways this is going to change is with the funding situation.

Challenges with the direct route for undergrads

My next issue with psychology right now is the route and options for undergraduate psychology students. A very small percentage of undergraduates in psychology pursue a career in the field.

In large I think much of this has to do with not enough information or development of direct routes into careers in psychology.

If psychology is going to see developments in people coming through the ranks then I really think initiatives like apprenticeships, internship and opportunities for experience need to be provided by universities.

Non-accredited counsellors and therapists

This is an area that might not be directly attributed to psychology itself, but it is something psychology can stand up for and that will help it in its development I feel.

There are so many non-accredited ‘therapists’ and ‘counsellors’ out there. I have spoken to many and even worked with some in the past. The fact that an individual can legally call themselves counsellor or a therapist is discrediting to the therapeutic industry, and psychology as a whole.

Legally no one can call themselves a psychologist if they do not have a doctorate. However, literally, anyone can call themselves a therapist, counsellor or psychotherapist.

A lot of the time counselling psychologists actually call themselves therapists and this can blur the lines even further.

In part, this is a job for governing bodies here in the UK such as the BACP to develop guidelines of accreditation.

Challenges in developing clinical experience for students

When I did a bit of market research for this topic, the challenges for developing clinical experience for psychology student came out as a big concern.

Students seem more and more frustrated in psychology with the difficulties in gaining clinical experience

Now, I’ll be honest, I was very lucky and didn’t really have this issue.

However, I can empathise with the challenges and frustrations experienced by undergraduates. In part, I feel that the view that psychology is often seen as a route to multiple careers not a career in psychology is a major contributing factor.

In many ways, this connects to one of my previous points. Psychology must do better in informing undergraduate students about the opportunities that are available in psychology.

We must do more to encourage students to pursue careers in psychology!

Supporting Those Diagnosed With Borderline Personality Disorder – Guest Blog Post By Jenny Robertson

Supporting Those Diagnosed With Borderline Personality Disorder – Guest Blog Post By Jenny Robertson

Over the course of my career, I have often worked with clients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

How to understand and help those affected by depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns is often shared and discussed on social media, but there tends to be far less information circulated about BPD.

I wanted to share some factors which are helpful to recognise, to avoid misunderstandings and conflict and support those affected.

The current Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5) defines the main features of BPD as “a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and effect, as well as markedly impulsive behaviour, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts”.

BPD is indicated by the presence of five (or more) of the following:

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. (not including suicidal or self-mutilating behaviour covered in Criterion 5)
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealisation and devaluation
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). (not including suicidal or self-mutilating behaviour covered in Criterion 5)
  5. Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviour
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

It should be noted that diagnosis is difficult and not always accurate, with the term itself is controversial and said to generate stigma.

BPD is found in around 0.7% of the general population, with a far higher prevalence among those in mental healthcare and forensic settings. There is conflicting data as to gender differences in the prevalence of BPD: it is sometimes found to be more common among women, with other studies indicating no difference.

There is little research focussing on BPD among those with non-binary gender identities.

Causes are not clear, though developmental trauma and abuse have been found to be high among those diagnosed, with neurobiological, genetic and psychosocial factors all viewed as playing a role in the onset of BPD.

For those with BPD, relationships can be very difficult. There can be a powerful fear of being abandoned, paired with a real struggle to make and keep friends, despite trying very hard to do so. Others are inadvertently driven away, as behaviour swings from clinging and idolising to hateful anger.

Loneliness and rejection are often experienced, but difficult to tolerate and express. This quote from Mind is illustrative: “The worst part of my BPD is the insecure relationships … when I am attached to someone, they are my whole world and it is crippling”.

Intense, labile emotions last from hours to days. Those with BPD can have an underdeveloped sense of identity, mirroring those admired and often changing and shifting image.

Feelings of emptiness and impulsivity can lead to extensive drug and alcohol use and other risk-taking behaviours, which can be alarming and concerning to those supporting them.

As a practitioner, working with someone with BPD can be challenging. A therapeutic alliance can appear to be blossoming well, when suddenly an action is perceived as a slight, a comment interpreted as an insult, or a distressing mood is experienced by the client, and the relationship completely shifts.

Accusations can be made, communication withdrawn, hostile emotions can erupt. The therapist can be left wondering what they have done wrong and how they can regain the former dynamic.

Friends, family members and partners supporting someone with BPD can have similarly bewildering experiences.

While it can seem impossible at times, it is essential to remember that people with BPD can heal and achieve balance and that research increasingly evidences that the condition is not as resistant to change as previously thought.

The role of validation is important. In common parlance this word is often used as a negative term, applied when someone is perceived to be agreeing with, excusing, permitting or minimising inappropriate conduct.

However, validation is the act of communicating to another person that you recognise and acknowledge their emotions, thoughts and experiences, even if you disagree or are upset by their words or actions.

Explaining to the loved one or client with BPD that you are present, listening, trying to understand and remain aware that historical and recent experiences might be impacting how they are thinking, acting and feeling in the moment can help to avoid communication breakdowns.

For an extensive exploration on Marsha Lineman’s six stages of validation, please see here.

Setting and maintaining boundaries is a particularly challenging aspect of supporting someone with BPD. Clear and consistent boundaries ensure a sense of comfort, safety and respect in a personal or professional relationship, but those with BPD can, consciously or unconsciously, be inclined to test the boundaries of others.

This may be in the form of demands and requests, timekeeping issues such as arriving late, missing sessions or wanting to remain in session after the designated time has elapsed, overfamiliarity, aggression or intimidating use of language and tone.

Succumbing to the temptation to permit or tolerate boundary transgressions leads to a sense of confusion for both parties, as what is acceptable and unacceptable becomes less clear and more difficult to vocalise.

Honesty, clarity, assertiveness and the willingness to respectfully challenge is important in establishing a predictable routine. For those with BPD, this sense of stability and trust can be pivotal.

A strengths-based approach is beneficial. To the person with BPD, conflict and a focus on problems may feel all too familiar.  Highlighting areas of proficiency, genuine interest and progress helps cultivate an internal locus of self-worth, esteem and identity.

Finally, patience is key. As stated above, those with BPD can take time to settle into relationships and can find establishing clear lines of communication with others difficult at times. It is therefore important to allow time and space for an alliance to grow.

Thinking About Educational Psychology? Do You Know What Educational Psychology Really Is? – Guest Blog Post By Kay Gerda Pugh

Thinking About Educational Psychology? Do You Know What Educational Psychology Really Is? – Guest Blog Post By Kay Gerda Pugh

Reached that point in your undergraduate degree where you start to contemplate what comes next? For me this happened at the end of my second year of university; everything began to matter that much more.

After a summer of contemplating counselling, health, clinical, forensic, graduate jobs or even working my way up in the supermarket I was working in; I reapplied for my disabled student’s allowance and that really got me thinking… Apart from diagnosing my dyslexia and other students learning disabilities

What do educational psychologists actually do?

To answer this question I did the thing all students do… I googled it… This did not really help a lot of subjective information and a discussion of the lack of Educational Psychologists in the UK.

Next, I went to the BPS Website to see what they could tell me about educational psychology. Practitioners generally work with young people and children aged 0-25.

The work itself is incredibly versatile, working with learning needs, emotional and behavioural needs, physical disabilities, sensory needs, social skills difficulties and concentration difficulties.

This can be through psychological assessments such as that which most people know of educational psychologists through. Although it can also be part of the educational psychologist’s role to do consultations, one to one and group interventions, supporting staff development, supporting parents, research and evaluation, multi-agency work and strategic work.

It is worth mentioning that most educational psychologists do not spend a great amount of time working solely with individuals but take a more managerial role in ensuring that procedures are put in place to help the young person in day to day life as a result of their findings.

Essentially, it is an educational psychologists job to take all learning needs which a young person may have and work to improve their learning environment in order to improve on their learning experience in any way possible.

Sound like something you might want to do?

How to become an educational psychologist

First things first! Psychology degree accredited by the BPS with a 2:1 or above! Without the 2:1 it is very unlikely that you will be able to proceed straight onto a postgraduate in educational psychology. Although masters and undergraduate students can both apply for educational psychology postgraduates.

In Scotland, it is possible to become accredited by the BPS after a Masters followed by a stage 2 conversion course, which is explained on the BPS website (Although only Strathclyde and Dundee currently offer this). However, in the rest of the UK, it requires a 3-year doctorate, there are 16 universities offering these in the UK.

All educational psychology postgraduates require at least a year of work experience before applying, some are more strict than others in the type of experience although one year of full time paid work experience is required by most doctorate courses.

It might feel like you’re progressing quickly enough but I like to think of it as a reason to relax! This is a full year for you to decide what you want to do while also working towards the goal of becoming an educational psychologist.

A year out of university to learn about education and if you decide to go another way then you haven’t embarked on a doctorate or masters which wasn’t right for you. Not to mention the money!

I have been advised that the module selection in your undergraduate will not affect your chances of successfully applying for a postgraduate so breathe out, the marks matter more than whether child psychology was an option.

As with many postgraduate courses, the competition over places doing educational psychology is pretty high! Of the universities I have spoken to there is around 15 applications for every place on an educational psychology doctorate so it’s common to have to apply a few times before successfully getting a place.

Advice which I would give is to enjoy your undergraduate degree and don’t apply for postgraduate in anything until you’re absolutely sure that this is what you want to do.

As part of my own journey toward becoming an educational psychologist, I am currently researching the student adjustment to university for students with a diagnosed learning disability. If this applies to you- especially if you enjoyed this article please participate by clicking this link.

How Emotional Intelligence Can Enhance Teaching Practices – Guest Blog Post By Gobiner Gill

How Emotional Intelligence Can Enhance Teaching Practices – Guest Blog Post By Gobiner Gill

Emotional intelligence is a popular construct associated with business, education, health and more recently sport. There is clear evidence to substantiate that emotional intelligence is beneficial for performance.

Check out a video that GetPsyched did a number of months ago on emotional intelligence here:

 

 

A number of characteristics associated with emotional intelligence include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and relationship management. The purpose of this article demonstrates how emotional intelligence can be useful for teaching practices.

Self-awareness

The concept of self-awareness alludes to being aware of the situation around you and thinking beyond. Thinking beyond could also be termed ‘thinking outside the box.’

Teachers who wish to enhance their performance levels must be self-aware. Self-awareness alludes to the emotion of oneself. Teachers should be in control of their emotions and demonstrate a great deal of awareness of their students. This can be developed through self-analysis of performance by identifying strengths and limitations.

There is a range of possibilities for teachers to develop their self-awareness further. For example, during feedback sessions, teachers should be aware of the emotions they are portraying to their students. Further, teachers should be self-aware during lessons of their own performance levels and the impact this is having on the student body.

Tips:

  • Identify – practices that enable you to become self-aware of your emotions (both positive and negative) as you experience these during teaching and learning
  • Develop – routines that allow you to enhance your own self-awareness when dealing with students.
  • Enhance – awareness through utilising useful strategies that identify your own needs.

Self-regulation

The ability to self-regulate is useful for successful teachers. Self-regulation is the ability to maintain control during pressurised situations. These situations normally arise during behavioural situations in the classroom. Effective self-regulation promotes balance between body and mind.

One useful strategy to help develop effective self-regulation is through the practice of reflection. There are many occasions that require teachers to regulate their emotions. Examples include marking work, preparing for lessons and the actual teaching and learning.  Therefore, implementing strategies will enable teachers to evolve within professional practices. 

Tips:

  • Identify – positive and negative emotions during your teaching sessions. Compare and contrast the two emotions and list how you felt. Each time you feel negative, attempt to remember the positive times as this will help re-energise your thinking and mindset.
  • Develop – strategies that provide opportunities to regulate your emotions through self-reflection. Find a quiet corner and examine yourself (e.g. what could I have done better? How will I develop a teaching strategy differently next time? Did I deal with students and provide sufficient answers?
  • Enhance – the ability to increase self-regulatory practices when you notice your emotions as you experience them or understand your physical feelings as you feel the emotion coming on.

Motivation

Motivation is considered to be a major characteristic of good teaching. Motivation is an inner desire to achieve objectives that are set out, for example when carrying out teaching sessions.

Maintaining motivation as a teacher and of your students is instrumental. Therefore, introduce action plans for all your students. These actions should be set out as specific short-term targets throughout the academic year.

Tips:

  • Identify – targets early in the academic year and generate these targets into short-term specific outcomes. Utilise actions for each student to enable their own motivation levels to be maintained and enhanced.
  • Develop – strategies that provide opportunities for students to modify their targets.
  • Enhance – opportunities that increase motivation levels when self-confidence is low.

Empathy

Teachers high in emotional intelligence will understand their own students and his/her own self. Building empathy is crucial as understanding the needs of students and making each individual feel part of the set-up is important. Team cohesion is most effective when students all agree on the aims and objectives set out by the teacher.

Tips:

  • Identify – each student and understand what makes them the way they are through appraisal and identifying individual needs.  
  • Develop –discussions with performers on a regular basis.
  • Enhance – strategies that will increase empathy. For example, introduce different scenario’s to students so they can problem solve these in smaller groups.

Relationship Management

Relationship management is crucial for a teacher. Introduce relationship management with the use of various group bonding exercises. A teacher can support their team and foster effective group dynamics through relationship management.

Tips:

  • Identify – opportunities to increase harmony amongst students during the academic year.
  • Develop – situations that help enhance group dynamics. Introduce activities that promote effective relationships between students.
  • Enhance – relationship management during each lesson and give responsibilities to different students.

Taken together, emotional intelligence is a useful concept. The benefits of emotional intelligence are evidenced in other domains and hold exceptional opportunities for teachers to utilise within their own practice.

Each characteristic of emotional intelligence is flexible and therefore can be used interchangeably.

Emotional Intelligence, A Perspective & Guide For Teachers – Guest Blog Post by Gobiner Gill

Emotional Intelligence, A Perspective & Guide For Teachers – Guest Blog Post by Gobiner Gill

Performance levels can increase with the use of a positive mindset as it facilitates direction and focus. The relationship between mental preparation and positive psychology becomes important and there is evidence of its use in business, education and sport.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the use of positive psychology should form part of teacher training and induction programmes. Given the contention that psychology plays an integral role within teaching, it would be purposeful to argue of its merit for teachers in classroom settings.

One key concept that resonates closely with teaching is emotion and its impact during the academic year. Teachers invariably elicit a range of emotions that have the potential to impact students and colleagues.

Therefore, teachers need to understand the complexity of emotions and regulate these accordingly. Effective emotional regulation could lead to more effective and facilitated performance levels. The regulation of emotion can be understood through the theory of emotional intelligence (Goleman, 2004; Mayer & Savoley, 1990).

In examining the nature of emotional intelligence and its importance within teaching, this chapter advocates its value for teachers. Through the use of grounded theory, teachers will be supported to facilitate strategies to enhance and increase emotional intelligence levels for themselves to be used within their professional practice. This chapter will be split into the following sections:

  • Outline the definition and conceptual space of emotional intelligence
  • Identify research avenues that promote the efficacy of emotional intelligence
  • Facilitate the purpose of emotional intelligence in teaching with the use of the Daniel Goleman (2004) model

Definition of emotional intelligence and conceptual space

Emotional intelligence has been defined as ‘the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotion, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions’ (Salovey & Mayer, 1990, p. 189). A closer inspection of this definition clearly aligns to the work of a teacher.

For example, teachers will be in constant dialogue with their emotions in both favourable and unfavourable situations. A favourable situation may surmount to success during a teaching observation. An unfavourable situation may surmount to an inability to cope with stress and pressures of time management. Based on these situations teachers should be in a position to understand their own feelings and emotions these have on students and colleagues.

The framework of emotional intelligence provides opportunities for teachers to engineer their own thinking and support students and colleagues that they work alongside. It has been outlined by Mayer & Salovey (1990) that people who exhibit higher levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to control their emotions and regulate these appropriately in order to support others.

It is postulated that teachers who are in control of their own emotions will demonstrate positive body language and display effective verbal expressions. Therefore, it is proposed that teachers should employ emotional intelligence to identify their own feelings and that of students and colleagues in accordance with the situation. In consideration of this suggestion, it would be purposeful to evidence previous research that has utilised emotional intelligence in different fields.

Identify research that promotes the efficacy of emotional intelligence in different fields

Extensive research has been carried out on emotional intelligence within the last 30 years (Goleman, 2004; Petrides, Furnham, & Frederickson, 2004; Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

The effectiveness of emotional intelligence has been largely evidenced through meta-analysis research carried out by (Van Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2004). Based on the meta-analysis results it would be prudent to examine how emotional intelligence can influence teachers with evidence from other sectors.

The business sector can demonstrate possible relationships that co-exist within teaching. One would expect teachers and business leaders to lead with a clear philosophy, demonstrate competency and control.

Further, both the business and education sectors share common goals that demand results and success. Arguably, one could resonate that business leaders and teachers who think ahead and act on impulse are likely to direct performers to change strategy and action plans.

Research by Freedman (2010) highlights that leaders with higher levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to achieve greater sales, productivity, profitability, and customer loyalty. In substantiating this evidence further, Freedman (2010) highlights a number of research explorations related to business that identify how awareness, self-management of emotions, motivation, empathy and social skills contribute to greater effectiveness in business.

Arguably, aspects highlighted in the research by Freedman (2010) give credence to their utility and purpose within teaching. Recently, Turner and Baker (2014) have also outlined how sports psychology can support the business sector to utilize transferable skills to increase performance levels.

The education sector is another area that resonates closely to emotional intelligence and teaching. For example, one key characteristic for educators and teaching relates to guidance and support to foster learner development and progress in delivering success.

To supplement this further, practitioners within education deliver excellence to their students to provide a pathway for future success with facilitated learning. A key determinant within education and teaching is motivation, which compromises both intrinsic and extrinsic values.

To supplement the facilitative nature of motivation it is suggestive that practitioners utilize a mixture of strategies. Arguably, teachers require an inner self-drive to enthuse those that they are providing opportunities to succeed. The demonstration of communication is also important to teaching.

Within teaching, it is suggested that coaches regulate their emotions by employing strategies to remain in control during intense situations. A closer examination of emotional intelligence, therefore, is suggestive that teaching demonstrates alignment with emotional regulation. In making this assumption it would be ideal to propose the impact of emotional intelligence and teaching efficacy.

One could argue that there is a close alignment between emotional intelligence and teaching characteristics including game strategy, technique and character development. Research evidence of Thelwell et al. (2006) has considered the relationship between emotional intelligence and coaching efficacy to determine coaching relationships.

Thewell et al. (2006) identified the characteristics of coaching efficacy aligned closely with emotional intelligence.  The key emphasis of the research outlined that coaches whose levels of emotional intelligence were high were likely to support performers more effectively.

The evidence presented above demonstrates co-existence and effectiveness of emotional intelligence within the business, education and sports sectors. In consideration of this, it has become pertinent to assess the potential relationship between emotional intelligence and teaching to enable opportunities to apply transferable skills within the applied practice.

In consideration of this, the purpose of the next section is to apply emotional intelligence to teaching. It is proposed that emotional intelligence will allow teachers opportunities to increase the self-awareness of practices. Through self-awareness, a teacher could self-regulate their emotions and support students with motivation.

Further, it is proposed that building empathy and addressing relationship management skills would facilitate effective teaching practices.

Propose the Daniel Goleman (2004) model of emotional intelligence and associate its link to teaching

The Daniel Goleman (2004) model of emotional intelligence contains five aspects that align closely with teaching practices. Given the flexibility of this model, it provides opportunities for teachers to employ it through an interchangeable process.

Therefore, an explanation of each aspect of the model and its influence to improve performance levels will be provided. To utilize this influence an emphasis on promoting the use of activities that could help increase emotional intelligence will be offered.

1) Self-Awareness

One of the central tenants of the Goleman (2004) model is self-awareness, which is defined as ‘the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others,’ (Goleman, 2004, p. 88). Self-awareness is an integral process as it provides a platform from which a core basis of the emotional intelligence paradigm is built.

Arguably, to demonstrate and facilitate high-quality teaching one could postulate teachers acquire increased levels of self-awareness. Teachers who exhibit high levels of self-awareness better understand their own emotions and regulate these accordingly.

Further, teachers that exhibit increased levels of self-awareness are more likely to assess and evaluate their own sessions and employ self-reflection. Therefore, teachers who are self-aware of their ability to communicate during lessons are most likely to engineer appropriate responses from students. Indeed, teachers who increase their own self-awareness levels are most likely to help facilitate and guide students and colleagues to increase attainment levels.

The process of increasing self-awareness could be formed from facilitative techniques and strategies. In raising self-awareness levels we are educating young and upcoming teachers and those who have been in the profession for a long time the art of understanding their own behaviour and to regulate emotive patterns.

Given the important context of self-awareness and its relationship with effective performance, it is proposed that teachers utilise the process of identification. Through the process of identification, it is hoped that teachers build their own levels of self-awareness.

One example of raising self-awareness is through the process of identifying emotions and their impact during successful and unsuccessful situations within classroom practice, as demonstrated by the worksheet below.

Worksheet 1: Positive and Negative Cycle

Positive Cycle

Negative Cycle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is recommended that teachers focus on thought processes, body language and expressions displayed to outline their emotions during positive and negative cycles. Teachers should compare and contrast various emotions to increase self-awareness levels.

To facilitate levels of self-awareness, it is recommended that teachers implement the use of reflective practice (Knowles, 2007). Reflective practice is pertinent for teaching as it enables an opportunity to identify own strengths and areas to improve.

In application, it is proposed that once emotions have been identified and a period of reflection takes place, opportunities emerge for teachers to implement strategies to facilitate applied practice. Through the use of positive and negative cycles, it is further recommended that teachers utilize the practice of assessing their emotions on a consistent basis.

2) Self-Management of Emotions

The second aspect of the Goleman (2004) model is the self-management of emotions, which is defined as ‘the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods; the tendency to suspend judgment to think before acting’ (Goleman, 2004, p. 88).

Managing own emotion(s) is important because it offers a sense of control and the ability to think logically. Further, managing own emotions enable teachers to facilitate directive actions. Given the varied role of teachers, it is unsurprising that they will exhibit a continuum of emotions from the students they teach.

Therefore, teachers should employ strategies to facilitate and self-manage emotion. Research by Thelwell et al. (2006) identified that effective coaches arguably are those that can regulate their own emotions. In other words, coaches who fail to regulate their own emotions will not be successful in controlling those of their players.

Good coaches are more likely to be in control of their emotions and regulate these during appropriate situations on a consistent basis. There is indeed an opportunity to assess how this research can apply to teaching practices. Good teachers that have control of the situation are more likely to deal with issues with effective self-awareness. This can apply to all teachers irrespective of experience.

To self-manage emotions, the worksheet below is designed to allow opportunities for teachers to facilitate their own emotions. It is proposed that teachers facilitate opportunities to identify both positive and negative emotions within their own professional practice.

The self-management process worksheet is designed for teachers to examine and assess reaction to both positive and negative emotion outcomes. It is hoped that teachers can through identified interpretation and raised self-awareness regulate and self-manage emotions within a reflective process.

Within the professional practice, teachers are sometimes asked about the distance their students have travelled. This worksheet should actually support teachers to realise the distance they have travelled when managing their emotions during negative and positive situations.

Worksheet 2: The Self-Management Process

Anger/Disappointment/Frustration

Happy/Excited/Joyful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 3) Empathy

The third aspect of the Goleman (2004) model relates to empathy, which is having the ability to understand students and work colleagues and their needs but also finding the balance with own requirements. Therefore, a teacher who demonstrates empathy with their students or colleagues would understand needs and emotions more effectively.

Empathy is an important aspect and teachers should look at facilitating as many opportunities to support students. Through the use of empathy, it would be useful for students to know that peers are responsive to their needs and requirements. Building empathy in teaching is important because teachers with higher empathy levels are able to better understand players.

Benefits of empathy

Opportunities to increase empathy levels

1) A better understanding of colleagues and students 1) Peer observation with fellow teachers
2) Demonstrates opportunities to support other colleagues 2) Video/visual recording of oneself and other teachers
3) Allows the implementation of strategies at an early intervention stage 3) Maintain a reflective log or journal to write down how you deal with situations
4) Associates with the ability to assess body language 4) Use mirror images – to see yourself in reflection so you can ask questions of your body language, expression or emotions
5) Associates with the ability to assess expressions 5) Have regular scenario building meetings to examine empathy levels
6) Associates with the ability to assess emotions 6) Associate with practitioners from different backgrounds and teaching specialisms to increase transferable skills

The worksheet on empathy is designed for teachers to better understand their working practices. In proposal, it is suggestive that teachers identify peers that they work with and assess how they relate to working under pressure.

To facilitate this activity, it is proposed that teachers identify two colleagues (present or from previous experience) and assesses their empathy levels and emotion when working under pressure.

Having considered this process, teachers should seek to understand their behaviour and how they would react to similar situations. This approach provides opportunities for teachers to examine their own levels of empathy in given situations.

Worksheet 3: Empathy

Individual 1 (Positive Teacher)

(Working under pressure)

Individual 2 (Negative Teacher)

(Working under pressure)

Myself

(Working under pressure)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Motivation

The fourth aspect of the Goleman (2004) model is motivation, which is defined as the inner self-drive to achieve goals. Teachers should be in control of their motivation to engineer motivational responses from students. A popular strategy employed in education is the use of goal setting.

It has been demonstrated that when goal setting is employed effectively it increases motivational qualities (Locke & Latham, 1990). To make sure that goal setting is applied and effective it is highly recommended that teachers employ goal setting that includes process and performance goals.

Goal setting provides opportunities for teachers to direct focus to increase motivational properties of their own working practices and students. Given the value of goal setting, it is proposed that it should be employed by teachers to enhance emotional intelligence and motivation.

To provide opportunities to increase motivation levels the goal setting matrix has been designed to support teachers. The goal-setting matrix enables teachers to design purposeful interventions to enhance performance levels.

To elicit short-term gains, it is proposed that teachers utilize the matrix on a three-week period. This short period will allow teachers opportunities to provide individual feedback. It is recommended that teachers introduce mental, technical, physical and nutritional goals to facilitate performance levels.

Further, this matrix will enable teachers to focus on integral aspects relative to performance levels.

Worksheet 4: Goal Setting

Aspect

Goal 1

Goal 2

Goal 3

Mental

 

Physical

 

Technical

 

Nutritional

 

5) Relationship Management

The final aspect of the Goleman (2004) model is relationship management, which is the consequence of developing skills and strategies in managing others. Good relationships allow an opportunity for effective team unity and group cohesion.

Arguably, effective group cohesion increases the likelihood of success. Developing effective relationships with peers and students is important as they can exhibit an array of different personality traits.

The management of relationships is important given the varied role of teachers that resonate from continuous professional development, teaching and learning, assessment and report writing.

The following strategies are recommended for teachers to implement within their professional practice to facilitate relationship management:

  • Setting ground rules that inform students of roles and responsibilities
  • Develop teaching practices that enable students to combine and build group dynamics through lessons and tutorials
  • Incorporate methods into tutorials to support students in developing task and social cohesion
  • Process avenues that foster intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

The Relationship Management Model

Teachers should consider the model above to demonstrate the importance of effective relationship management. Effective relationship management skills should enable teachers to coerce students to engineer associated group cohesion. Therefore, teachers should be implicit in developing practices that form effective group cohesion.

Building effective group cohesion enables teams to impact performance levels more effectively than those who have ineffective group practices. It is recommended that teachers should also implement the following strategies:

  • Foster effective relationships through engagement and reflective practice to enable teachers and students to develop self-awareness.
  • Implement varied training methods to encourage students to facilitate problem-solving skills.
  • Teachers are encouraged to implement transferable skills from other educational domains to elicit different behaviours but also allow engagement within own practices.
  • Allow opportunities for students to engage with performance and social related activities to develop effective group building exercises to increase cohesion levels.

Summary

The main emphasis of this chapter was to highlight the benefit of sports psychology and in particular emotional intelligence within teaching. Through enhancing, levels of self-awareness teachers should be in a position to make applied practice more effective.

In addition, teachers who increase their own self-awareness levels will facilitate effective self-regulation and emotional control. Enhanced levels of emotional intelligence would also enable the formation of increased motivation and regulated empathy.

The rubric of emotional intelligence also allows teachers to develop effective relationship management to increase group dynamics. In summary, the evidence clearly stipulates the benefits of increased emotional intelligence to enhance performance levels.

References:

Goleman, D. (2004). What Makes a Leader? Harvard Business Review, 82(1), 82-91.

Knowles, Z., Gilbourne, D., & Tomlinson, V. (2007). Reflections on the application of reflective practice for supervision in applied sport psychology. SPORT PSYCHOL, 21(1), 109-122.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1990). A theory of goal setting and task performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:Prentice-Hall.

Petrides, K. V., Furnham, A., & Frederickson, N. (2004). Emotional intelligence. The Psychologist, 17, 574-577.

Salovey, P. & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 9, 185-211.

Thelwell, R., Lane, A. M., Weston, N. J. V., & Greenlees, I. A. (2008). Examining relationships between emotional intelligence and coaching efficacy. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 6, 224-235. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2008.9671863

Turner, M., & Baker, J. (2014) What Business Can Learn from Sport Psychology: Ten Lessons for Peak Professional Performance. Amazon.

Van Rooy, D., & Viswesvaran, C. (2004). Emotional intelligence: A meta-analytic investigation of predictive validity and nomological net. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 65, 71-95.

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