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The lived-experience of teachers involved in a social and emotional competence promotion program Wessel, April Teresa

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to capture the lived experience of teachers hosting an external classroom-based program entitled the Roots of Empathy (ROE). Of ten potential participants, three (all female) volunteered to participate in this phenomenological investigation. Data were collected via two in-depth interviews during the final month of the school year in which the program had been implemented. The initial interview focused on the teachers' retrospective description of their experiences in the ROE. In the second interview the teachers were asked to clarify points of ambiguity and correct, expand upon or agree with the researcher's understanding of the teachers' original accounts. Seven common themes emerged from the data, using Karlsson's (1993) five-step model of data analysis. The seven themes that emerged were: (1) A sense of excitement and pride; (2) A sense of congruence; (3) A sense of curiosity; (4) A sense of uniqueness; (5) A sense of moral responsibility; (6) A sense of conflict; and (7) A sense of yearning. Overall, the results indicated that the teachers involved in the ROE perceived their involvement and their resultant experiences to be worth the energy they expended on program implementation. In addition, the study indicated that the teachers perceived their participation in the ROE as a positive and enriching personal and professional experience. Through their involvement in the program the teachers integrated and extended their past teaching practices, and in the process forged for themselves a new and unique role: as observers in their own classrooms.

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