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Discussion of Findings

The qualitative data that I collected and analyzed allowed me to confirm some previously

postulated theories, find differences between affective dimensions of K-12 and Higher Education

classrooms, and develop some preliminary ideas covering my interpretation of empathy. This

study was confirmatory in some regards. It confirmed that the self-awareness and self-

management components of the CASEL social-emotional competencies is equally as important

in K-12 environments as in Higher Education. My research also shows that, like in Jennings and

Greenbergs prosocial classroom model, healthy student teacher relationships, a good classroom

environment, and teacher well-being is critical to effective student learning. In fact, this study

suggests that the self-management levels of adult ESOL instructors may actually be higher

because like Marian mentioned earlier, teachers tend to carry the emotional burdens that impact

their students.

Empathy. Throughout analyzing the data I found the overarching theme that emerged

from this study to be empathy. All major coded elements of the affective dimensions addressed

by the adult ESOL professors in this study came from a place of putting themselves in their
learners shoes. I have conceptualized empathy in the following way after my data analysis.


Interpersonal Academic Intrapersonal

Understand reasons behind Extending empathy to

Student-teacher student performance oneself

Create materials
incorporating student Self-care practices &
Student-student Personal reAlection
knowledge and experience

This three-pronged approach to empathy represents the different ways in which I saw

empathy manifest internally and externally in adult ESOL instructors. The data suggests that

adult ESOL instructors value the three above components of empathy in their teaching practice

and classroom. Further, it seems that in order to achieve holistic adult ESOL education all three

elements of empathy need to be present in order to adequately address the multitude of affective

dimensions in the adult ESOL classroom. The findings of this study suggest that the adult ESOL

instructor participants feel incorporating the above dimensions of empathy into adult ESOL

education. The quotes discussed in earlier sections detailed specific internal and external

manifestations of these components of empathy.