Social-emotional learning. Character education. Bullying prevention. These programs all fall under the larger umbrella of emotional intelligence (EQ)—the ability to manage one’s feelings and interact positively with other people. While many schools may touch on it during the school year, Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D., and Steven E. Tobias, Psy.D., authors of Boost Emotional Intelligence in Students, advocate for more formal training in EQ. During their recent edWebinar “How to Boost Emotional Intelligence in Students,” they explained how data shows a high EQ is “more highly correlated with career success than academic skills.” More important, in order to help kids retain their EQ skills, they said schools need to adopt a systematic approach to improving emotional awareness.
The 3 primary areas of EQ
- Self-awareness and self-management: These areas focus on helping children understand their own EQ strengths and challenges. Students learn how to not only recognize and talk about their feelings but also work on maintaining and achieving self-control. The purpose of this skill set is to teach students how to be their best selves.
- Social awareness and relationship skills: These skills are about learning to read the social and emotional cues of others. Here, the goal is to not only be able to anticipate and defuse their own trigger situations, but for kids to learn how to empathize with others. Empathy also discusses understanding cultural distinctions. With this skill, kids learn how to “code switch” and operate in different ways with different people.
- Problem-solving skills: Here, students build on their previous lessons to develop problem-solving strategies they can adapt to a variety of situations. The presenters noted that employers are looking for individuals that can handle stress, value responsibility, resolve conflicts, and find creative solutions to problems. These are all hallmarks of EQ.