Who's Controlling Our Emotions Emotional Literacy as a Mechanism for Social Control Research Paper

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At the core of becoming an activist educator

Is identifying the regimes of truth that govern us the ideas that govern how we think, act and feel as educators because it is within regimes of truth that inequity is produced and reproduced. (MacNaughton 2005, 20)

Disorder, addictions, vulnerability and dysfunction...."

Disorder, addictions, vulnerability and dysfunction...." These terns, according to Nolan (1998; Furedi 2003; cited by Ecclestone N.d., 135), denote a therapeutic ethos prevalent in American culture that some consider to be seeping into British media, popular culture and politics. Currently, in England, "Personalised learning," according to Ecclestone (2005, 456), includes an increasing number of initiatives, which constitute a powerful discourse to respond to varied, frequently contradictory public, political and professional concerns relating to a person's emotional needs. Her article debates critical policy research and evaluates the subtle ways policy initiatives strive to develop "emotional well-being and encourage emotional engagement with public services resonate with images of the 'diminished self' emerging in broader cultural discourses." An expansive therapeutic ethos blurring differences between welfare and education, is also taking hold in Britain, Ecclestone (N.d., 135) points out. This process constitutes part of the problem, known as social control, that this researcher addresses in this study. In subtle ways, it includes "the language, codes and symbols of therapy change our idea of what it means to be human." Nolan, cited by Ecclestone (N.d, 135) contends that Rogerian self notions, usually positive, optimistic with a natural disposition to learn, improve and grow, currently too often give way to a less positive, dysfunctional perception of self and accepting weakness caused by "being only human."

Discourses systematise and frame how an individual thinks, feels, understands, and practices in particular areas of their lives, Foucault (1972; cited by MacNaughton, 2005, 20) purports. "A discourse of the child systematises and frames how early childhood educators think, feel, understand and practise being, for instance, an early childhood educator in an early childhood programme" (MacNaughton, 2005, 20). Those who follow Foucault, MacNaughton (2005, 20) argues, cannot strip politics from truth, as truth itself is a political fiction. A contrary contention, however, noted in this study's introductory quote challenges educators to identify "the regimes of truth that govern us...."

As it also attempts to identify a number of "regimes of truth that govern us..." (MacNaughton, 2005, p 20), this small-scale theoretical research project purports to investigate and aims to determine to what extent the introduction of emotional literacy into the field of education constitutes a form of social control. During the process, this theoretical research also examine a number of components constituting and contributing to concepts relating to emotional literacy.

Hypothesis When the New Labour Government seizes the concept of emotional literacy as a solution to a majority of societies' ills and as a means to reduce educational failure, then various discourses emerge in education, stressing the importance of developing the social and emotional skills of young people.

Objective 1 Using discourse analysis, define emotional literacy and demonstrate how this concept and its practices have been developed and constructed as a concrete reality.

Objective 2 Explore the extent the introduction of emotional literacy in school constitutes a form of social control. As it presents a myriad of published information on the topic of emotional literacy by accredited scholars and researchers, the next section of this study, the literature review, notes the pros and cons of the New Labour Government attempting to utilize emotional literacy to solve societal ills and reduce educational failure. The literature review also proposes to convey a relevant sampling of knowledge and ideas previously established on emotional literacy, as well as, accompanying strengths and weaknesses, as it addresses the contention that emotional literacy constitutes a mechanism for social control.


Most frighteningly, in distilling this complex entity (emotional intelligence) into a single quality, might we not some day soon be reading a book touting the advantages of an emotional elite and the deterioration brought to our society by the emotional underclass (Matthews et al., 2002, quoted by Stobart; cited by Ecclestone 2005, 467).

Considering Emotional Intelligence

Emotional aspects of learning and experience and taking account of students' needs are important, Ecclestone (2005, 467) contends. Her article does not suggest "psychological insights into the relationship between self-concept, motivation and achievement are not significant. Nor does it reject a need to address the emotional problems of a minority of students or dismiss the usefulness of therapeutic interventions in certain contexts (Ibid)." Ecclestone (2005, 467), albeit argues that her stance calls for resistance to normalising therapeutic interventions regarding emotional intelligence, self-esteem, emotional literacy and emotional well-being. According to Ecclestone (2005, 467) normalising therapeutic interventions is frightening and need to be resisted as it supports diminising images of human potential and resilience. This literature review chapter, as noted in the previous chapter, presents a sampling of relevant published information on emotional literacy (including accompanying strengths and weaknesses) by accredited scholars and researchers. It also relates numerous pros and cons of the New Labour Government attempting to utilize emotional literacy to solve societal ills and reduce educational failure as it strives to fill stated objectives and determine the validity of this study's hypothesis.

Emotional Intelligence, Per Se

Emotional Intelligence (EI), Brackett and Salovey (2006) purport, refers to "the mental processes involved in the recognition, use, understanding, and management of one's own and others' emotional states to solve problems and regulate behavior (Mayer & Salovey 1997; Salovey & Mayer 1990, cited by Brackett and Salovey 2006). Rather than being grounded in personality attributes, these authors perceive EI to be ability or competency-based (Saarni, 1999, cited by Brackett and Salovey 2006). "Emotional intelligence from this tradition refers to an individual's capacity to reason about emotions and to process emotional information in order to enhance cognitive process." (Stewart-Brow and Edmunds 2003, 3) perceive emotional intelligence as the "ability to perceive accurately, appraise and express emotion; the ability to understand emotions and use emotional knowledge; the ability to access and/or generate feelings which facilitate thought (creativity), and the ability to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth" (Salovey and Sluyter 1997 10, cited by Stewart-Brow and Edmunds 2003, 3).

Stewart-Brown and Edmunds (2003, 3) report researchers and government officials currently display increasing interest in the assessment of emotional and social competence in schools and early years' settings. "Many instruments are available which cover some aspect of these concepts. Several instruments combine assessment of emotional, social and academic competencies" (Stewart-Brown and Edmunds 2003, 3).

Emotional Competence

Debate envelops the term "emotional competence," particularly regarding its relationship to emotional literacy and emotional intelligence. Stewart-Brow and Edmunds (2003, 3) adopt Elias' definition of EI: "the ability to understand, manage and express the social and emotional aspects of one's life in ways that enable the successful management of life tasks such as learning, forming relationships, solving everyday problems, and adapting to the complex demands of growth and development' (Elias et al., 1997, cited by Stewart-Brow and Edmunds 2003, 3)

IQ and EI

In 1937, Robert Thorndike wrote about social intelligence. David Wechsler defined intelligence to be "the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment" (Wechsler 1958, p.7; cited by Thorndike, Wedhsler, Gardner, Salovey & Mayer, and Goleman 2008). In 1983, Howard Gardner started writing about multiple intelligence and purported that intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences, as well as, intelligence generally measured by IQ and similar methods are likewise significant. In 1990, Salovey and Mayer created the term "emotional intelligence"; identifying EI to be "a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor own and other feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide ones thinking and action" (Salovey and Mayer 1990; cited by Thorndike, Wedhsler, Gardner, Salovey & Mayer, and Goleman 2008).

IQ, some scientists argue, in and of itself, by itself does not accurately predict job performance Hunter and Hunter (1984, cited by Thorndike, Wedhsler, Gardner, Salovey & Mayer, and Goleman 2008). At the most, IQ reportedly accounts for approximately 25% of the variance. Sternberg (1996, by Thorndike, Wedhsler, Gardner, Salovey & Mayer, and Goleman 2008), albeit, stress that because studies vary, 10% may constitute a more realistic estimate.

IQ, however, may measure as low as four percent of the variance in some studies. Van Rooy and Viswesvaran (2004, cited by Thorndike, Wedhsler, Gardner, Salovey & Mayer, and Goleman 2008) found, after examining the con-elation and predictive validity of EI, that when EI is compared to IQ or general mental ability, IQ more effectively predicts work and academic performance. Regarding whether a person will become a "star performer" (in the top ten percent, however such performance is appropriately assessed) within that role, or be an outstanding leader, IQ may be a less powerful predictor than emotional intelligence (Goleman 1998, 2001, 2002, cited by Emotional Intelligence, N.d.).

Perceiving Emotion

The first branch of El is defined…[continue]

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