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Educating for Success

Each Student is Unique

Recent research continually stresses the importance of emotional intelligence in predicting success. It has demonstrated that this “intelligence” is far more predictive of success in the workplace than is IQ, yet our schools continue to emphasize cognitive abilities and frequently do not stress emotional intelligence competencies. What is needed is an emphasis on these vital skills so that our students can achieve greater success in their future. It is possible to implement curriculums in our schools that target emotional intelligence. We know that this set of skills can be taught and that it tends to develop and improve as we age. By helping students become more proficient in these capabilities, they can be better able to learn appropriate responses and effective social interaction skills.

In the context of the school environment, emotional intelligence considers that each student is unique, that his/her emotional experiences are an integral part of the learning experience, and that learning to negotiate one’s social environment is a critical aspect of one’s education. A curriculum that integrates emotional literacy considers that the focus in teaching is on the student, rather than on the content. The curriculum allows teachers to use their own creativity and personality to best integrate affective concepts into their teaching style. Affective development is considered as vital as academic development. Unlike cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence can be developed throughout a person’s life.

Dr. Hambley is available for presentations on emotional intelligence in education and offers workshops to help enhance emotional intelligence in teachers. She also can consult on methods to incorporate emotional intelligence into the classroom curriculum.

As a teacher, how can you promote emotional competencies in students? (A few suggestions)

  1. Work on improving your emotional intelligence.
  2. Model appropriate behavior.
  3. Use “feeling” words often, so it becomes an accepted topic to discuss.
  4. Use numerous opportunities to explore a student’s emotional response (e.g., to literature).
  5. Use opportunities to encourage students to think about how others feel (e.g., other students, characters in stories, etc.).
  6. When possible, offer your insights into how others might be feeling.
  7. Consider not just the subject being taught, but the student’s experience (cognitive and emotional) of that subject.
  8. When attempting to influence behavior, focus on teaching rather than controlling and/or punishing.
  9. Give more attention to positive behavior rather than negative.
  10. Make your praise behavior-specific.
  11. Acknowledge, paraphrase, and validate.
  12. Make use of Socratic questioning (open-ended, avoid the “whys”, use two questions rather than one).
  13. Teach conflict resolution. Then encourage students to use this skill.
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Catherine Hambley, Ph.D.
LeapFrog Consulting