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Teaching emotional intelligence

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Emotional intelligence can help or hinder your performance and wellbeing as an adult. Generally speaking, we don’t associate emotional intelligence with children as we do with adults. Students can be overlooked, however, emotional intelligence can make a student thrive both in the classroom and outside at home and in the community.

Emotional intelligence is described as the ability to understand, perceive and manage your emotions in a positive way to relieve stress and communicate effectively. There are four key components including self-regulation, self-awareness, social awareness and relationship management.

Emotionally intelligent students are shown to get better results and behave better at school. Fortunately, emotional intelligence can be taught. Consider these tips to promote emotional intelligence in your students:

Encourage problem solving

A good problem solver understands how to tackle their emotions and get on with the task at hand. Good problem solving skills have been linked with higher EQ (emotional intelligence). Encourage problem solving by first having the student explain an issue then prompt them to come up with a solution. Brainstorming ideas is the key takeaway for better problem solving.

Label their emotions

Emotionally intelligent people understand and label their emotions which helps them to better understand themselves and how they interact with others. This awareness is useful as it allows you to manage your emotions - both the good and the bad. When a student can label their emotion, they can then learn how to deal with it more effectively. Encourage students to describe their feelings and emotions through labelling. This will help you to manage their more difficult emotions and help build resilience for the students too.

Avoid judgment

Children and adolescents need to feel as though they are being heard when they speak. It’s important to actively listen and empathise with concerns. Avoid judging their feelings and instead listen to and acknowledge how they’re feeling. Understand the range of emotions they can experience including negative emotions and help them to navigate them in a healthy manner.

Tip: You can engage with students' ability to describe their feelings by prompting them to use a diary. Diary writing helps them to understand and better manage their emotions.