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Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Schools

Psychologist Dan Goleman popularized the term “emotional intelligence” in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Researchers John Mayer and Peter Salavoy originally conceptualized the idea in their article “Emotional Intelligence,” published in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality. Emotional intelligence (EI) is about the ability to acknowledge, recognize and control our own emotions and understand, perceive, influence or respond to others’ emotions.

In the world of education, students’ EI relates to the soft skills educators attempt to instill regarding how students can be successful socially and academically. Students benefit when educators provide opportunities to practice the skills of self-awareness, patience, emotional control and active listening in the classroom. This practice makes students more proficient communicators and opens the door to improved scholarship. An online Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership from Northwest Missouri State University can help students develop a holistic approach to leadership and build the disposition and tools needed to learn in a diverse and evolving educational landscape. Graduates can lead and support students, faculty and staff academically, interactively and operationally.

How Emotional Intelligence Affects Learning and Teacher Success

Since there is a direct link between people with high levels of EI and accomplishment, a person’s emotional quotient (EQ), or their degree of EI, can be more important than their intelligence quotient (IQ). Individuals can learn, develop and practice EI to increase academic success, improve learning and form personal bonds. Recent studies show that emotionally intelligent students get higher grades and perform better on exams. Findings also indicate that students who successfully manage their emotions and understand the feelings of others can better navigate stressful situations and maintain healthy relationships with others. The academic environment can be stressful for everyone involved, including teachers and staff. Students commonly feel anxious, stressed, disappointed or bored in school. By managing these emotions and staying focused, everyone can thrive. EI can also help students develop and nurture relationships with friends, teachers and family members. When they can understand their own moods and emotions, they can more confidently ask for help or provide emotional support to others.

Many schools are prioritizing social and emotional learning in their curriculum. Sharing feelings, examining the emotions and motivations of a character in a book or film and practicing reactions to potentially stressful situations can help students examine emotions. Teachers can become more successful and engaged in the classroom and focus more on academics when there are fewer behavioral issues, disruptions, disagreements and fights among the students. To develop EI in their students, teachers can discuss emotions in the classroom, work on strategies for students to control their emotions, allow space for mistakes, teach conflict resolution, show students how to look at the big picture, process frustration while teaching gratitude and optimism. When incorporated into existing lesson plans, these methods can be a powerful tool for students to become better communicators and problem-solvers.

What’s Next

Northwest’s online MSEd. in Educational Leadership program recognizes EI as a personal skill in leadership. They give graduates tools to optimize these skills in the classroom by designing quality educational experiences, fostering strong relationships with students and implementing new systems for effective communication and engagement.

Learn more about Northwest’s online MSEd. in Educational Leadership program.

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