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Volume 6 Number 4, Winter 2009, Pages 1-296   

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The Study of Emotional Intelligence and Literature in Education: Gender and Major of Study

    Ali Roohani

Literature can establish a particular frame of emotions which allows deeper understanding into it and simulating our social relations. Also, emotional intelligence (EI/EQ) which seeks to fuse cognition and emotion interlocks with social and interpersonal mechanisms involved in language learning. Given the lack of empirical study, the present study is intended to explore the relationship between EI and interpretation of literature among 345 Iranian EFL graduate and undergraduate participants from six Iranian universities. As an additional goal, participants' major of study and gender are investigated to see how they relate to emotional intelligence skills. EI has been defined in terms of two instruments, based on two models of emotional intelligence, while literature has been limited to short stories and poems. To collect data, MSCEIT and EQ-Map measures of emotional intelligence as well as fourteen short stories and poems were selected and administered by the researcher among the participants, majoring in English literature, translation and teaching of English. Pearson Product correlation procedures and multivariate analysis were conducted. The results indicated that there was a significant positive correlation between EI (MSCEIT and EQ-Map) scores and scores from the interpretation of stories and poems. Furthermore, the female participants were found to have higher EI than the male ones. However, the participants from the three English majors did not differ significantly in terms of EI scores. By implication, syllabus designers should orient a curriculum towards using language through literary genres such as short stores. Also, the tasks and problem-solving activities in the syllabuses should not be necessarily be the same for both male and female EFL learners.

Keywords: literature, emotional intelligence, gender, major of study