“Emotional intelligence is a very important skill set, not just to be happier but also to succeed professionally” (Daniel Lubetzky)
What is “emotional intelligence”
Emotional intelligence is an inter- and intrapersonal trait that refers to managing one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. It covers the following areas: self-awareness, emotional control, self-motivation, empathy and relationship skills. Therefore, emotional intelligence is a skill that is crucial for successful communication, learning and academic success, as well as employment.
Regarding academic success, it is important to have will power, perseverance and self-control, for instance when studying for an exam. Concerning employment, employees look for emotional intelligent people that sense situations, know how to react properly and understand interpersonal relationships. Besides that, you can benefit from emotional intelligence yourself as it provides a clear view on your emotions, feelings and relationships.
Developing emotional intelligence
Unlike in the past, emotional intelligence becomes increasingly important since people more and more understand its importance for oneself and interpersonal relations. I have tried out 4 ways for developing emotional intelligence with my students and the feedback has been great so far! That is why I want to share my method with you:
Managing negative emotions – every now and then some of my students is in a bad mood or there was a fight between classmates. This means that they are not as focused as I would like and need them to be. In that moment, we talk about the issue and I remind my students to stay objective and view the problem from different perspectives so they can empathise. If we don’t have time to do that in my lesson or if the issue is more personal, I remind them of this coping mechanism and sometimes they get back to me later.
Being mindful of one’s vocabulary – this links to successful communication, since the right choice of words could easily soothe the situation. Knowing specific words that help communicate the problem and aren’t accusing or attacking work wonders! I remind my students to use neutral vocabulary and pinpoint what’s going on because then, the problem can be addressed easier.
Know your stressors – we all have stressful situations, and so do our students. Therefore, for instance before or after an exam, we address what stresses my students out and we will find a way to deal with this stress. I know, for example, that after an exam I need my students to focus on my subject again, so we listen to an English song. This has become a routine and my students have found their own ways for how to deal with their stressors.
Optimism – we know that positive thinking will takes us far. Therefore, whenever there is a challenge in the classroom, I ask my students constructive questions to see what they can do to face the challenge. This helps them get a clear sight and they are more likely to understand whatever wasn’t clear before. Sometimes we create a list together with numbered “instructions”.
Benefits of emotional intelligence for our students
Since I incorporate emotional intelligence in my lessons, my students don’t only acquire this skill for education purposes but I have seen them apply what I tell them also in their personal lives and share their knowledge with others. Not only are they more self-aware and recognise their emotional states, but they also recognise how their emotions affect their thoughts, behaviour, attitude and decisions. Additionally, they are improving their social skills due to emotional intelligence because they can communicate in a clear, concise manner. This communication happens verbally but also non-verbally, for instance through gestures, body language and appearance. Overall, teaching the essential skill “emotional intelligence” entails only advantages our students can use in every life situation!