A Post-Intentional Phenomenological Exploration of Educator Emotional Efficacy (E³)

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A Post-Intentional Phenomenological Exploration of Educator Emotional Efficacy (E³)

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Research indicates that 40% to 50% of new teachers leave the educational field within their first five years of service (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2014; Education Minnesota, 2021a, 2021b; Liuzzi, 2021). Teachers are experiencing exhaustion, compassion fatigue, and often symptoms of burnout (Shen et al., 2015). These risk factors can manifest themselves in a wide variety of ways, including; a diminished sense of hope, decreased compassion and empathy, adverse changes in work performance, feelings of bitterness towards their job, and a loss of emotional regulation ( Gozali-Lee & Connell, 2019; Hagaman & Casey, 2018; Kyriacou, 2010; Sparks & Malkus, 2011; Domitrovich et al., 2016). The research urges us to pay attention. Many teachers are exhausted and are living on the edge of these realities, and as a result, are simply not thriving. The deteriorating mental and physical health of teachers negatively impacts teachers, but it also erodes the assets that those teachers bring into their classrooms, including; their emotional availability, empathy, hope, presence, self-efficacy, and resilience, all of which contribute to their asset-based strengths (Levine, 2013; Maslach & Leiter, 2005, 2007, 2016; McCarthy et al., 2010; Pines, 1993; Platsidou & Agaliotis, 2017; Shen et al., 2015). Palmer (2007) states, “we must enter, not evade, the tangles of teaching so we can understand them better and negotiate them with more grace, not only to guard our spirits but also to serve our students well” (p. 2). This research project uses a post-intentional phenomenology (PIP) methodology to investigate how the phenomenon of Educator Emotional Efficacy (E³) is produced and provoked in the lived experiences of teachers. E³ is rooted in the belief that an educator can develop the abilities and skill sets needed to constructively respond to the full range of emotions they experience, both positive and challenging emotions, and have the necessary skills to react to these emotions in a way that is aligned with their values and beliefs. Ideally, the development of E³ can work to minimize the negative consequences that can lead to burnout. Therefore, this study explores how teachers' development and awareness of E³ might positively impact teacher identity and their holistic health. More specifically, the phenomenon of educator emotional efficacy (E³) is shaped by the constructs of empathy, mindfulness, hope, and self-compassion and how they might serve to diminish the three manifestations of teacher burnout, which include emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and lack of self-efficacy (Maslach & Leiter, 2005, 2007, 2016).


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. 2023. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Mark Vagle. 1 computer file (PDF); xv, 259 pages.

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VonGrey, Geri. (2023). A Post-Intentional Phenomenological Exploration of Educator Emotional Efficacy (E³). Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/257037.

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