Preschool Teachers' Emotional Experience Traits, Awareness of Their Own Emotions, and Their Emotional Socialization Practices

Open Access
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
March 26, 2007
Committee Members:
  • James Ewald Johnson, Committee Chair
  • John Daniel Marshall, Committee Member
  • Iris M Striedieck, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • teachers
  • emotions
  • attention
  • clarity
  • intensity
  • expression
  • awareness
  • socialization
  • young children
Emotions are composed of three interrelated sets of processes, which are (a) neurophysiologic and biochemical processes, (b) motor and behavioral expressive processes, and (c) cognitive-experiential processes. Individuals show differences in experiencing their emotions and these differences can be categories into four groups: (1) Attention, the level of monitoring, valuing, and attending to emotions, (2) Clarity, the ability of identifying, distinguishing, and describing emotions, (3) Intensity, the strength of experiencing emotions, and (4) Expression, the extent of expressing emotions. In addition, individuals’ attention to their own emotions and their clarity of their own emotions are two aspects of these individuals’ awareness of their own emotions. The current study is composed of three phases-questionnaires, observations, and interviews- to investigate preschool teachers’ emotional experience traits, their awareness of their own emotions, and their emotional socialization practices. The results of this study revealed that if preschool teachers attended to their own emotions, they were more likely to refer to children’s emotions and less likely to minimize their emotions. Moreover, preschool teachers who experienced their negative emotions intensely tended to use punishment for children’s display of anger. Preschool teachers who were aware of their own emotions were also less likely to ignore their students’ emotions, and more likely to encourage their student’s emotions. In addition, preschool teachers with high awareness of their own emotions accepted and showed respect to their students’ negative emotions. They also indicated the importance of encouraging their students to accept their own emotions and talk about them. These findings offer an important contribution to understand the relationship between preschool teachers’ own emotional experience processes and their responses to and discussions about emotions of young children.