Date

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

Comparative and International Education

First Adviser

Eng, Sothy

Other advisers/committee members

Tannenbaum, Nicola; Wiseman, Alexander

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between membership in Cambodia’s student council programs, emotional intelligence, and traits of the Three Goods (good student, good child, and good friend). It also examines Cambodian educators’ and students’ concepts of emotional intelligence, Three Goods, and how Youth Council cultivates the Three Goods. The study employs mixed methods including surveys of 318 Cambodian students (grades 10-12), eight focus groups involving 62 of those students, and interviews with four school administrators. It found that Youth Council status is somewhat associated with emotional intelligence, but has an insignificant relationship with Three Goods traits. It also found that Cambodian students have well-formulated notions of the Three Goods, which overlap considerably with their conceptions of emotional intelligence. Where fruitful collaboration occurred among students and between them and teachers, Youth Council members and non-members alike were more satisfied with the program and saw benefits to the school. However, Youth Council’s implementation in many schools in this study limited members to at best announcers and enforcers of disciplinary policies, which helped improve the school environment but did little to cultivate students’ potential as leaders and collaborative problem-solvers. By broadening conceptions of Youth Council’s purpose to include nurturing emotional intelligence and Three Goods attributes, Cambodian schools could find Youth Council valuable in developing student leaders who inspire their peers to become emotionally intelligent as good children, students, and friends.

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