The term emotional intelligence was coined back in 1990 by two researchers, Peter Salovey and John Mayer, in their article “Emotional Intelligence.” Later, however, the term was popularized by Daniel Goleman’s book on Emotional intelligence in 1996.
Today, emotional intelligence, otherwise known as “Emotional Quotient (EQ),” is increasingly becoming the new norm in educational institutes. The beneficial advantages of teaching emotional intelligence to students cannot be denied. Hence, emotional intelligence development can be considered a gateway to better learning, academic success, relationship building, and even employment.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, Emotional intelligence is predicted to be the top 10 job skills in the future. So, teaching emotional intelligence in educational institutes is has become more viable than ever – not just in terms of personal development but also career development.
Generally, Emotional intelligence tends to influence the most must-have skills positively. Some of these skills are better learning, active listening, self-motivation, emotional control, empathy, and relationship skills. Also, EQ is known to enable individuals to maintain good communication with others.
Considering the skills that EQ enhances, it is obvious that teaching EQ to students in their formative years at school would build a strong foundation for them and reshape their future habits.
Today in this article, we will focus on a few aspects related to emotional intelligence. We’re going to discuss what emotional intelligence by definition is? What are the benefits of learning emotional intelligence? And the traits of students who have learned emotional intelligence?
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, control, evaluate, analyze and express emotions effectively and positively. An individual who has a high EQ level can easily understand, streamline requirements, communicate, empathize, improve relationships, lessen their stress and anxiety levels, and even overcome life challenges.
In a nutshell, Emotional intelligence affects the quality of life of an individual. It influences certain behaviors and relationships in a positive way. Emotional intelligence can also play a vital role in helping individuals think of several opportunities and create options that might not have been thought of otherwise or considered possible.
For students, Emotional intelligence helps students manage their emotions which in their childhood is considered the root cause of everything. The appropriate channeling of emotions within a student helps them develop a stronger bond with their classmates and even strengthens their classroom performance.
Students who are taught emotional intelligence are known to keep their emotions in check. They’re far more capable of controlling their emotions and being empathetic to others around them. Such students develop a more concrete focus on their self-motivation and become more confident in trying out new things and identify new learning opportunities.
In contrast, the students who lack emotional intelligence tend to be less connected to school, lack confidence, seem demotivated, etc. That said, these traits I mentioned earlier negatively impact a student’s performance in the classroom, which leads to poor accomplishments and results.
Now that you’re familiar with what emotional intelligence is and what it is capable of, let’s dive into a little more detail to understand the full potential that emotional intelligence can unlock in students.
How Low Emotional Intelligence Can Affect Students
A low level of Emotional intelligence can be detrimental to the students. It can disrupt their future career path in the following ways:
Students with a low level of emotional intelligence are usually uncaring or insensitive. They resist interaction with their classmates or offer help to them on their projects or assignments.
Hence, if this insensitivity continues to grow as the students’ age increases, they’ll most likely not be a good leader or be eligible for a promotion.
Arrogance is yet another trait of the students with a low level of emotional intelligence. It is the arrogance that makes students underestimate several challenges or expect unrealistic results, leading to demotivation.
Additionally, arrogance is not a quality that employers or employees look for in a candidate or a leader.
The liability to change rapidly for the worse can cause potential harm to the student’s career as a candidate, employee, employer, and even a leader. This volatility can derail a student’s professional career.
An individual who lacks emotional intelligence cannot control his emotion and can cause dysfunction in teams, upset co-workers, or take initiatives destined to fail.
The key to understanding and thriving is by being flexible. In terms of their thinking or approach, the rigid and inflexible students can never become good team players.
Moreover, in today’s professional environment, being a team leader is essential; hence, learning a skill that helps you become flexible has become important.
Low emotional intelligence can also lead to selfishness. Suppose the students are only thinking about themselves in the class or while working together with other students. In that case, they could be considered as being selfish.
Since the world is encouraging professional collaboration and teamwork, having selfishness can be harmful to a student’s career.
The world of businesses is changing at a rapid pace. It is quite clear that in the future, candidates with emotional intelligence will be in high demand.
Since emotional intelligence increases an individual’s chances of being accepted on teams and considered for leadership positions, it has become important to teach emotional intelligence in educational institutions. Here are some of the benefits of teaching emotional intelligence in education institutions.
How To Fill In The EQ Gap Within Educational Institutions
At some level, we have to recognize that educational institutions have failed to prioritize the development of emotional quotient within students. Our curriculum and educational priorities are, to say the least, archaic and reminiscent of the industrial era.
Though technology today is helping us reevaluate this failure and fill that gap. Platforms and businesses such as Project Impact MS and other NGOs are working day and night to help bridge this gap within education.
I reached out to team Project Impact MS about this topic, and this is what they had to say.
“Technology is helping shape lives at an unprecedented level today. We can evaluate people’s emotional intelligence, emotional maturity, and in the case of younger students, use technology to teach them about the importance of Emotional Intelligence. We can guide the younger generation from an early stage about how to navigate through their emotions, deal with setbacks and traumas, and overcome their fears in life. It is our mission to utilize our skills and synergize that with modern technology to partner with educational institutions to roll out a platform that brings EQ to the center of our education system so that students can be both academically intelligent as well as emotionally intelligent.”
The biggest hurdle, in my opinion, is going to be getting the initial buy-in from educational institutions. Part of this program will have to include an in-built incentive model for schools to benefit from.
I also think that the ability for such platforms to tap into the corporate world is massive. Today, market dynamics and statistics suggest that people like to associate with brands with a double bottom-line. That is to say, that consumers care about the social impact that brands are having as a result of their Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns.
Part of this includes training and development. But within corporations, T&D is also restricted to professional/skill-based development, and no attention is given to emotional growth, which is important for employees at all levels. At the end of the day, these professionals are also a bi-product of the current education system. This means that while NGOs can work with corporations to implement emotional intelligence training, the root of the problem lies within education.
On this topic, team Project Impact had to say this. “At the end of the day, we have to realize that at a professional and student level, what matters is education. Just like we incentivize individuals to achieve academic brilliance and score high in tests, we want to incentivize people to achieve emotional brilliance and be in touch with their emotions and the emotions of others. That’s the impact that we want to have, and if we can help create this impact within education, that’s a legacy that we would be proud of.”
Through technology and mobile apps, all of this is possible. From monitoring activities and recording responses to gamifying emotional scoring and growth, we can instill a sense of emotional intelligence within the younger generation in the formative years. This would make this kind of learning less taxing and make it as easy for them to make emotionally mature decisions as it is for them to calculate 2+2.
The Benefits of Teaching Emotional Intelligence in Educational Institutes
A great study was conducted to track the performance of students with a high level of EQ. This study’s main concept was to identify the factors that influenced the performance and career of the students with a high level of EQ from their childhood to adulthood.
After the study concluded, it was found that the students with high-level of EQ did achieve notable accomplishments in their adulthood and showed greater signs of having willpower, perseverance, motivation, and the desire to excel.
Another test was conducted in which the children were given an option that they would be given more treats if they would wait before eating them. This study found that gratification and self-control were the characteristics that played an important role in better school grades, results, job satisfaction, and more.
Over the years, numerous studies have been conducted to measure emotional intelligence. The studies mentioned above are some examples of such experiments. However, regardless of the debates over whether emotional intelligence can be measured, I would say that this particular skill is important for students because of the following benefits.
1. Develops Attentive Listening Skills
Perhaps the most important skill in fostering good/genuine two-way communication is by actively listening or paying attention to what the other person is saying.
This actively listening part involves the student listening to what the second person is saying and responding to him through one’s body language or through gestures.
After the person has completed his dialogues, you can verbally summarize what you’ve heard just to demonstrate that you have perfectly understood what he/she said.
The scenario mentioned above is what emotional intelligence teaches you. It teaches you to listen carefully and respond accordingly. Moreover, when it comes to a classroom, it affects how students learn, understand, and take feedback from the teachers.
The slightest misinterpretation of information in the classroom can lead to a bigger problem for the students. Hence, this problem can be solved by teaching emotional intelligence to the students.
2. Enhances Emotional Vocabulary
A researcher “Lisa Barrett” said that interpersonal skills could be enhanced by helping the students increase their emotional vocabulary. Since emotional intelligence is all about controlling one’s emotions, teaching emotional intelligence to students would help them understand the difference between different emotional words, i.e., sad, disappointed, and upset.
Understanding the placement of the emotional vocabulary would help students strategize using such words to appropriately showcase their emotional side. Moreover, I believe that every word related to the emotion you learn is a new tool for future emotional intelligence; hence, learning how to use it would be extremely beneficial.
Through emotional intelligence, teachers can teach students the differences between the emotion words, what triggers the specific emotion and how students should individually respond to different emotions.
3. Increases Self-Awareness In Students
Understanding and noticing your own emotions is called self-awareness, and this self-awareness can be taught by emotional intelligence.
The students who have low self-awareness are more prone to underestimate several obstacles and usually let their overinflated self-image control their behavior and social interactions.
A study was conducted in which the researchers asked the students how they thought they did in the exams. After questioning, the students’ perceptions regarding how they did in their exams were compared to the actual results.
This concluded that most of the students were over-confident, and they overestimated their ability. The majority of the students who over-estimated themselves were those who had done poorly in their exams.
This result mentioned above is known as the “Dunning-Kruger Effect,” which is the most common thinking biases in education. This effect can be minimized by teaching emotional intelligence to students. When the students learn emotional intelligence, they’ll explore and understand their interpersonal skills, which means they’ll develop self-awareness.
Hence, after learning emotional intelligence, the students will have a good idea of what they’re capable of, how they can improve themselves, and how they can expect realistic results.
There are several other benefits of fostering a culture in educational institutes of learning emotional intelligence. However, those mentioned above are the most important ones that need immediate improvement.
4. Helping Students Adapt To Cultural Changes
Businesses never stay stagnant. They’re constantly searching for resources that are willing to change themselves and the company for the greater good.
When the student learns emotional intelligence, he/she develops a quality of adapting to the cultural changes and evolution.
Through emotional intelligence, the students can easily adjust according to the trends, embrace the growth and evolution and even align themselves with an organization’s goals.
Therefore, students with a higher level of emotional intelligence would have a brighter future as employees due to their ability to adapt as compared to those with a low level of emotional intelligence.
Also, this personality trait of adapting to any environment tends to be contagious so, it leaves a positive impact on other students or employees.
5. Enabling Students To Regulate Emotions
Regulation of student’s emotions is important because the age bracket in which they’re experiencing emotions such as anger, happiness, or stress can trigger impulsive or destructive reactions.
Therefore, teaching emotional intelligence to students would help them to control their strong emotions. It would help them develop the ability to suppress certain unpleasant feelings and give themselves time and space to decide how to navigate or channel such strong emotions.
This regulation of emotions learned through emotional intelligence would enable students to cope with any situation seamlessly, nurture self-confidence and enhance their ability to figure out multiple solutions to a specific problem.
People with emotional intelligence are most positive. They tend to find a solution for the problem rather than crying for the same. Hence, teaching emotional intelligence in educational institutes might be the key to revolutionizing students’ learning today.
Through emotional intelligence, students would be able to comprehend and understand people’s nature and character quicker, and this quality or skill would grow as they age; hence, it would improve over time. This improvement would result in the students making better decisions in their adulthood.
Having high emotional intelligence would also help the students understand their feelings which is a part of self-awareness. The more they’ll understand their feeling, the more they’ll learn to adapt to the change and also gain success anywhere in the world.
Considering all the benefits and importance of teaching emotional intelligence mentioned above, it is quite easy to comprehend the necessity of making young students emotionally intelligent.
Moreover, several other types of research and studies further solidify the concept of emotional intelligence and why it should be an integral part of our educational systems.
Integrating emotional intelligence as a necessary part of education for students would fill in the missing links within our educational institutions and give rise to a generation capable of leadership.