Foreign Language Learning

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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
(pishghadam@um.ac.ir) 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.
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The early designers of intelligence tests focused only on cognitive abilities such as memory and problem-solving. For example, Binet equated intelligence with the abilities of logic and language. In fact, in the first half of the 20th century, IQ tests were considered adequate measures of intelligence. Society linked IQ scores to an individual’s potential for success in life (Wechsler, 1958). Current research has moved away from IQ scores as the only measure of intelligence. As early as 1920, Thorndike hypothesized that true intelligence was composed of not only an academic component, but also of emotional and social components. Social intelligence, wrote Thorndike, is “the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls – to act wisely in human relations” (p. 228). It is an ability that “shows itself abundantly in the nursery, on the playground, in barracks and factories and salesrooms, but it eludes the formal standardized conditions of the testing laboratory” (p. 231). In 1967, Guilford presented a view of intelligence as a multifaceted construct composed of one hundred and twenty different types of intelligence. Shanley, Walker and Foley (1971) held that social intelligence was distinct from academic intelligence, but they
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