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Emotional Intelligence

I have been teaching for about 6 years and I've been a student, in school and in university, since I was 5 ½ (I am currently 25). So by now, I think I've got a pretty good overview of the benefits and deficiencies of our school system. I have lived in the United States, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia and Germany, and no matter where you go the general approach to education remains the same. The focus of our globalized education system is on reading, writing and arithmetic. When children lack these skills they are deemed illiterate and often quickly categorized as failures or simply as inadequate.
In my experience this is a grossly distorted view of the capabilities that children have and need in order to live happy and successful lives. I have discovered that by focusing all of our attention on eliminating illiteracy in reading, writing and arithmetic we have given rise to another and much more profound form of illiteracy: emotional illiteracy.
In order to understand what emotional illiteracy means, we have to look at what emotional intelligence means. I felt that as a teacher and as a learning guide it was crucial that I understood exactly what emotional intelligence is and so I did what I always do when I want to learn more about something... I read a book.
In this case I read “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ“ by Daniel Goleman, who is an author, psychologist and science journalist. I learned so much about what emotional intelligence is, why it matters, and how it is never too late to become more emotionally literate (no matter your age!).
There are a few different definitions of emotional intelligence in the book, but one that really summed it up perfectly for me was from a paper titled Self Science: The Subject is Me (in Appendix E in the book):
Main components of emotional intelligence:
  • self-awareness personal decision-making
  • managing feelings
  • handling stress
  • empathy
  • communications
  • self-disclosure
  • insight
  • self-acceptance
  • personal responsibility
  • assertiveness
  • group dynamics
  • conflict resolution
I will certainly go into more detail on the individual components in time. For now, I leave you with a question: How many of these components were part of your school education?
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