AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EFL LEARNERS’ EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND LEARNER AUTONOMY

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Number of pages: 184-197
Year-Number: 2022-40

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Abstract

Researchers have become interested in both emotional intelligence and learner autonomy separately recently. However, the role of emotional intelligence is often underestimated in language learning contexts although there has been a considerable amount of emphasis on language learner autonomy. To this end, this study aims; (1) to examine emotional intelligence and learner autonomy levels of advanced level university EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students, (2) to find out whether these constructs vary according to gender, and finally (3) to investigate whether there is a significant relationship between them. In order to do so, quantitative method was employed for this study. A total of 168 EFL learners (129 female, 39 male) studying English Language Teaching at a state university in Ankara, comprised the sample of the study. While the Assessing Emotions Scale (Schutte, Malouff & Bhullar, 2009) was utilized to measure emotional intelligence, learner autonomy was assessed via the short form of Learner Autonomy Profile (Confessore & Park, 2004). Overall, the findings of the present study point to a significant relationship between emotional intelligence and learner autonomy scores of EFL learners, and emotional intelligence can be viewed as a predictor for learner autonomy. The findings also reveal that female EFL learners are better than male learners at managing others’ emotions, one of EI dimensions. Yet, the study indicates no difference between female and male students at a significant level concerning their overall LAP scores or its sub-constructs. These results imply that improving EFL learners’ emotional intelligence might result in more autonomous behaviors for EFL learners, which may be helpful in their language learning processes.

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