You never know how many people will come to your session. When submitting a presentation proposal for the convention, I was asked to estimate the number of attendees. I imagine most people, like me, may underestimate, since nothing is worse than showing up to a cavernous room with a handful of people in it. But when I came to my modestly sized room at the Hilton yesterday, I was pleased to see some people had already arrived. As we approached 3 o’clock, almost every chair was filled. Suddenly, people were on the floor and in the doorway. That’s what’s so amazing about TESOLers: They are so committed and engaged that they have no issue hunkering down on the floor if it means they can learn something valuable and applicable to their work.
It should come as no surprise, then, that preliminary research shows that people in our field value commitment as one of the most important elements of emotional intelligence for both teachers and administrators to possess. In an early morning session yesterday, Denise Murray and MaryAnn Christison and presented the initial findings of a survey study on emotional intelligence and English language teaching. They found that overall, one of the things teachers value most in themselves and their colleagues is commitment. In their leaders, TESOL professionals overwhelmingly look for trustworthiness.
That afternoon in my workshop, I was so pleased to see how many colleagues are thinking about emotional intelligence, both in their workplace and in their classrooms. We had a lot of fun exploring Daniel Goleman’s model of EI: the intrapersonal aspects of self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation and the interpersonal aspects of empathy and social skills. For my own part, I continue to work on self-regulation. That effort has led me to the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, whose approach to mindfulness meditation has been clinically shown to reduce stress and increase health benefits to its practitioners.
I want to thank those who attended the session for their willingness to share, role play, discuss, and open up to each other. That’s what is so wonderful about TESOL sessions: the participants’ willingness to dive right in to the subject matter. It makes being a presenter very rewarding. And for those of you who couldn’t make it, I will be sharing my slides, handouts and resources on the TESOL Resource Center shortly. Thanks!