Emotional Intelligence. What is that? No, it’s not the CIA for your emotions. Though – it is a bit like being your own investigator of your emotions and those of others. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. In layman’s terms, it’s the ability to recognize your own emotions, along with the emotions of others, and then manage and modify your thoughts and actions based on that awareness. Research shows that a greater indicator of success than skill or education is actually one’s Emotional Intelligence.
Sooooo… if it’s really the secret sauce for success, why aren’t you learning about it in school?!
EXCELLENT question. In some ways students are as they interact with teachers, peers, coaches, and others in the life. But developing Emotional Intelligence (E.I.) takes time and intentionality. And it’s done through social-emotional learning.
The federal government is starting to wise up… In fact, emotional intelligence is so important that the House of Representatives recently passed a new bill that includes $260 million in funding towards “whole child” initiatives. This funding will provide grants for innovations that support students’ social, emotional, and cognitive well-being. It will also support teacher professional development, the Full-Service Community Schools Program to support student & family holistic needs, and School Safety National Activities, which will add more counselors and mental health professionals within schools.
Rep. Tim Ryan has made it a priority in his 2020 presidential campaign and puts it this way, “[Social-emotional learning] tells kids how to handle stressful situations, how to handle conflict better, how to have empathy, how to work on a team, how to best resolve conflict with their friends, their peers — these are all qualities we want kids to have… By addressing the social-emotional needs of kids, you see an increase in test scores because they’re able to access parts of the brain that they need for learning.”
Research backs it up! The Collaborative for Academic Social Emotional Learning (CASEL) argues that teaching students skills like compassion, self-regulation, and collaboration improve test scores AND graduation rates! But we all know that these government programs can take time… it may be years before these programs and plans are carried out and bear fruit. So, given the research and hopes for your, or your child’s success, how can you begin to better develop your emotional intelligence today? We have some ideas…