The importance of emotional education

  • Emotional intelligence and learning
  • A good place to learn
  • Is school more conflicted today?
  • Very eloquent experiences
  • Aspects worked on

Are outstanding grades in school or a remarkable IQ measured by the tests used an indicator of a good future?

A few years ago, everyone would have agreed that it was. Today, with an education system in crisis and a world that no one understands or knows what directions it will take, it is more evident than ever that success in life is not something formal and definable, but something relative and changing that depends closely on personal abilities and abilities.

Such as the ability to adapt; creativity in generating new areas of activity, solving problems, or finding solutions; self-motivation; social skills; or the ability to create and maintain cooperative relationships in the workplace and social sphere.

Emotional intelligence and learning

It was the American author Daniel Goleman who in 1995 surprised everyone with a book that soon became a world bestseller, and whose title coined a reality hitherto ignored: ‘Emotional Intelligence’ (Kairos).

The book collected hundreds of cases that highlighted what we all know: that emotions influence the rational mind, for better or for worse, and, therefore, the ability to learn.

That explains why people perhaps not too intelligent can be much more successful than others who are more intellectually gifted; simply because of their natural talent to be aware and manage their emotions in a positive and constructive way, perceive those of others and act accordingly.

Intelligence is more than what can be measured with a simple test. That was evident even to Alfred Binet, the French pedagogue, and psychologist who created the system for measuring IQ that is currently used.

There are those who manage their emotions in a positive and constructive way, perceive those of others and act accordingly

Binet, horrified by colleagues who supported the professors’ negative verdicts on the academic or professional future of certain students, stated: “Some recent philosophers give moral support to these verdicts, claiming that intelligence is something fixed and cannot improve. We must protest and counter this brutal pessimism, show that this is not the case in any way.”

That emotional experiences can cloud the mind is something that everyone has experienced. That in school emotions have a direct impact on children and their school performance is also a reality.

It is also found that the higher the level of conflict, violence, and harassment in an educational center, the higher the rate of failure and school dropout.

For many teachers, the Spanish education system places too much emphasis on the amount of knowledge that needs to be accumulated in a given time, and little on developing social and coexistence skills that are also essential to manage successfully in life.

A good place to learn

woman sitting on ground while opening book

Based on the work of different authors, emotional intelligence is manifested through a series of capacities, for example:

  • Become aware of one’s own emotions,being able to detect and be aware of the sensations they produce in the body: oppression in the heart, knot in the stomach, etc.
  • Notice and be able to correctly interpret the non-verbal language that, voluntarily or involuntarily, other people emit – the gesture, the look, the expression, the attitude …-; that which the other person does not say, but manifests.
  • Put yourself in the place of the other (empathy) and act appropriately in each case.
  • Detect one’s own emotions,especially when they can affect others – anger, pessimism… Have the ability to think before acting.
  • Motivate yourself and generate enthusiasm,perseverance, optimism, etc.
  • Find creative solutions to the problems we are encountering.

These capacities, although vital to be able to manage in life and access what we call happiness, are not taught in school, and often, neither in the family.

It’s not just that children aren’t given tools, it’s that often adults don’t have them either and we let things evolve at their own pace. And this powerfully influences the quality of teaching, since, when there are conflicts, fear becomes a clouder of the mind.

As Eugenia Blanco, a high school teacher, an expert in emotional intelligence and facilitator of group process work, says, “as a student, if when the teacher is explaining something I am aware that my partner shuts up, that they do not insult me or laugh at me if I am wrong if they threaten me to let them copy my tasks, I can not perform at an academic level. I need a comfortable and safe place to interact and learn, companions and not adversaries; and I also need limits, at home and at school, or I will never be able to develop and be myself.”

Is school more conflicted today?

boy in gray long sleeve shirt holding pen

In this regard, Eugenia Blanco affirms: “There have always been problems, what happens is that now they have been openly put on the table, and that is good because we become aware of them and put more energy into solving them so that children do not suffer the abuse of peers.”

“In my opinion, the most important task is to get the peeps to move, that there are no students indifferent to situations of humiliation, humiliation, abuse, and mistreatment of some classmates over others. I firmly believe that if the indifferent are placed next to the weakest child, the strong will begin to lose power and the weak will begin to gain it, so that the situation will be easily balanced and the resolution of differences and conflicts can be worked from alternative ways. “

Very eloquent experiences

brown egg on white egg tray

Learning to be aware and to manage one’s own emotions gives good results. This has been proven by an experience carried out in Cantabria promoted by the Botín Foundation within the “Responsible Education” program, developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of the Government of Cantabria.

This study has shown that emotional and social intelligence reports benefits that go far beyond improving the emotional well-being and social competencies of students; they also translate into better school performance.

The project has covered a population of 20,000 school children from 100 schools with one objective: to know the benefits of the implementation of an emotional intelligence program that involved students, teachers, and families.

Learning to be aware and manage one’s own emotions gives good results

The project has lasted three years and the results – evaluated on a sample of 1,000 students – could not have been more encouraging, since it has been possible to verify:

  • reduction in the anxiety levels of schoolchildren.
  • More assertiveness (ability to express one’s own ideas without hurting or disturbing others).
  • Better academic results.
  • decrease in risk behaviors.

Emotional intelligence programs applied to school have also been shown to help prevent serious and difficult-to-solve problems in schools, such as:

  • drug use,
  • the problems of coexistence and violence,
  • in addition to significantly improving the relationship between students and teachers
  • and reduce symptoms associated with childhood and youth depression.

Academic results improve at the same time as the climate of coexistence. And when relationships and communication between students and teacher-student are enriched, the academic performance also improves.

Aspects worked on

This ambitious and innovative project has been based on work on six principles for students to achieve:

  • Know and trust themselves.
  • Understand others.
  • Recognize and express emotions and ideas.
  • Develop self-control.
  • Learn to make responsible decisions.
  • Value and take care of your health.
  • Improve your social skills.

To this end, specific activities and dynamics have been carried out for each age group, from early childhood education to secondary school, with material specially developed for this purpose.

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