Teaching children to be Emotionally Intelligent

I have recently had the privilege to work with a group of passionate volunteers in Paternoster to introduce Emotional Intelligence activities as part of an after school development program.

6 Seconds with Joshua Freedman generously provides teaching activities to any person who wishes to support his or her community to become emotionally intelligent.

What is the Case for Social & Emotional Development for children and adults ?

It as important to develop children’s social, emotional literacy as it is to develop their reading and numeracy literacy.

I heard a teacher say recently we cannot teach a traumatised child.

Emotional literacy helps us to behave and engage with others in a constructive manner.  This in turn creates healthy communities as incubators for children to become the best they can be.

If we do not have a word for something it is difficult for the brain to give attention to the learning of a new skill. Teaching children social emotional skills provide them with a language to mature. This leads to an increase in self-awareness and self-regulation.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to engage our hearts and minds by taking a step back when we feel an emotion to consider:

• What we feel

• Why we feel it

• Enables us to communicate our feelings

• Assists to respond effectively to what we feel

Research contained in Bar On et-al; 2006, pertaining to the benefits of the above, confirms the benefits of Social Emotional Learning as follows:

• Data “from a meta-analysis of 668 independent studies of *SEL programmes and their outcomes, conducted by Roger Weissberg and his associates indicated that educating children to enhance their emotional and social abilities had an academic payoff: a sizeable increase in all indicators of academic achievement. “*(SEL: Social Emotional Learning)

• “Another recent finding in the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) programme, a pioneering SEL curriculum for elementary school students, relates some of the boost in academic achievement directly to enhanced function in the prefrontal cortex. Specifically, this suggests that neuroplasticity – the shaping of the brain through experience – plays a key role in the benefits to be derived from SEL in children.”

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About the book:

Educating People to be Emotionally Intelligent

(Bar-On, Maree,Elias)

“In a sense, this book represents the healing of a long-standing wound in Western civilisation, one caused by the chasm between thought and feeling. While Eastern thought has never split the two concepts- the Chinese have a word that translates as “heart-mind”, and there is no word for “emotion”, the meaning which is separate from cognition in Sanskrit or Tibetan – Western thought has long posited rational thought as inevitably opposed to the irrationality of emotion. (Bar-On et-al; 2006)

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