Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Karen Burke, CSJ, EdD

Second Advisor

Diana Friedlander, EdD

Third Advisor

Patricia Anekwe, EdD

Abstract

A growing body of evidence has suggested that the factors determining academic success are not limited to the cognitive realm alone. Students bring to the classroom their natural talents, as well as all of their previous experiences, joys, sorrows, hopes and dreams. Obtaining the essential social and emotional learning skills to meet the challenges of life and persevere academically is a foundation pivotal to future success.

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between spiritual intelligence and the level of students’ social and emotional learning skills in an effort to gain insight into the effect one may have upon the other. This mixed method study included 181 students aged 7 to 13 years old in an urban public school district. Data were collected using two instruments. Analysis of the data obtained from these instruments was used to examine the particular characteristics of two focus groups: one group consisting of students scoring at the higher scale of both instruments and another group consisting of students scoring at the lower scale of both instruments.

Results of step-wise multiple regression indicate a significant (p < .025) predictive relationship between students’ self-perceived level of Existential Well-Being and all five scales of the Emotional Quotient Inventory: Youth Version (Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Adaptability, Stress Management, and General Mood). The strongest of those positive relationships existed between General Mood (= .265) and Adaptability (= .153). An examination of whether grade level made a difference in level of Social and Emotional Learning skills yielded insignificant result. Grade level was also compared to level of Spiritual Intelligence with limited results.

Qualitative analysis of two focus groups indicated that students who scored highly on the two instruments utilized in this research were more inclined to display a positive outlook on life, a belief in free will, as well as acknowledge the influence of family and community upon their lives. Students scoring lower on the instruments reported a higher incidence of feelings of guilt, of being involved in ethical dilemmas, and of the way family members influence their lives.

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