Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 2009, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 31–41 © Centre for Language Studies National University of Singapore
A Quantitative Analysis of the Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Foreign Language Learning Reza Pishghadam
(firstname.lastname@example.org) Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran
Abstract The major aim of this study was to examine the role of emotional intelligence in second language learning. At the end of the academic year, 508 second year students at four universities in Iran were asked to complete the Emotional Intelligence Inventory (EQ-i). EQ-i data were matched with the students’ academic records, scores in reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Predicting second language learning success from emotional intelligence variables produced divergent results, depending on how the variables were operationalized. When EQ-i variables were compared in groups (successful vs. unsuccessful) who had achieved very different levels of academic success and scores in different skills, second language learning was strongly associated with several dimensions of emotional intelligence. Results are discussed in the context of the importance of emotional intelligence in second language learning.
1 Introduction Learners vary enormously in how successful they are in learning a second language. All people acknowledge that some individuals learn a second language easily and some with more difficulty. Among so many factors contributing to second language learning success, including motivation, attitude or personality types, it seems that one important factor which accounts for success in language learning is the degree of intelligence that individuals possess. Since 1990, when for the first time emotional intelligence was introduced, it has become a buzzword in psychology and has been used in so many fields including education, management studies, and artificial intelligence. Daniel Goleman (1995), the prominent spokesperson for emotional intelligence, held that roughly 80 percent of the variance among people in various forms of success that is unaccounted for by IQ tests and similar tests can be explained by other characteristics that constitute emotional intelligence. He has defined emotional intelligence as including “abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustration, to control impulses and delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and keep distress from swapping the ability to think; to emphasize and to hope” (1995, p. 34). Later, Goleman reformulated his first definition of emotional intelligence and broke down emotional intelligence into twenty-five different emotional competencies, among them political awareness, service orientation, self-confidence, consciousness, and achievement drive (Goleman, 1998). Research has demonstrated that EQ more than IQ accounts for success in life and education (Goleman, 1995; Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Much research findings suggest that emotional intelligence is important for work settings (Carmeli, 2003), and classrooms (Petrides, Frederickson, & Furnham, 2004), and enhances performance in interviewing (Fox & Spector, 2000), cognitive tasks (Shuttes, Schuetplez, & Malouff, 2001), and contextual performance (Carmeli, 2003).
The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of emotional intelligence in second language leaning in an English as a foreign language (EFL) situation. To be more exact, the role of emotional intelligence is examined in students’ GPA, reading, listening, speaking, and writing at the university. 2 Review of literature 2.1 Intelligence defined Intelligence, as a slippery term to define, has undergone different changes, from intelligence as a unidimensional concept (Binet, 1905) to intelligence as a multiple concept (Gardner, 1983), and finally to intelligence as an emotional notion (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). From the 1900s, when...