Original Research

Classroom factors that contribute to emotional intelligence in the case of primary school learners

Sasha Erasmus, René van Eeden, Ilse Ferns
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 12, No 1 | a1072 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v12i1.1072 | © 2022 Sasha Erasmus, René van Eeden, Ilse Ferns | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 July 2021 | Published: 31 March 2022

About the author(s)

Sasha Erasmus, Department of Psychology, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
René van Eeden, Department of Psychology, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Ilse Ferns, Department of Psychology, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: A healthy classroom climate has been related to the socioemotional development of learners. This, in turn, has been associated with an increase in academic success, intrapersonal skills and the quality of interpersonal relationships.

Aim: This study aimed to investigate the impact of classroom climate on the emotional intelligence (EI) levels of South African primary school learners. The aim was also to determine which classroom factors promote, and which inhibit the development of EI.

Setting: A purposive sample of 119 primary school learners from six classes in two government schools in Durban, Kwazulu-Natal was drawn. Ethical clearance and permission for the study were obtained from the relevant stake holders. Informed consent was obtained from the parents or guardians as well as the participants.

Methods: The My Class Inventory (short form) (MCI-SF) and the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (Child Short Form) (TEIQue-CSF) were administered. The former is a measure of classroom climate. Relations between classroom climate factors and EI were explored by means of Pearson’s correlations and stepwise multiple regression analysis. ANOVA and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to compare the performance of the learners in the different classes in terms of these variables.

Results: Results indicated a strong relation between classroom climate and EI; satisfaction and cohesiveness correlated positively with EI levels, whilst friction, competitiveness and difficulty correlated negatively with EI levels.

Conclusion: The results contribute to the understanding of the development of a positive classroom climate. Intervention at classroom level might be a more viable option in resource-strapped contexts.


Keywords

academic achievement; classroom climate; emotional intelligence; middle childhood; primary school learners; school climate; socioemotional development

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