Critical role of Emotional Intelligence in Education

Plato,2000 years ago,said that all learning has an emotional base. However,it is only in the last two decades that the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EI) in education has gained momentum. Increasingly, the older thought of intelligence being the sole predictor of success is being contested with the introduction of the concepts of Multiple Intelligence  by Howard Gardner and Emotional Intelligence popularized by Daniel Goleman . These broader forms of intelligence have been found to be useful in multitude of situations, including classrooms.

Mayer and Salovey , firstly,coined the term Emotional Intelligence in 1990 and a  decade later Daniel Goleman established its importance .  The Harvard Business Review defines EI  as an individual’s ability to accurately perceive your own and others emotions;to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships ;and to manage your own and others’ emotions. EI is made up of four core skills;  Self-awareness., self-management,social awareness and relationship management. According to Maurice Elias , professor at Rutgers University “It’s the set of abilities that helps us get along in life with other people in all kinds of life situations.” He calls it the “missing piece” in American education. Empirical evidences collected over the years have supported the value of emotional intelligence in effective teaching , student learning, social relationships, and academic performance .

EI has an important role in educational setting . The ability to name and regulate emotions helps students improve focus in class and better handle anxious situations such as examinations.  With emotional intelligence, students learn to collaborate, cooperate and work better in teams, moving away from impulsive behaviors .Emotionally intelligent students are able to empathize, persevere, communicate clearly and make thoughtful decisions. At school, they help create a safe, comfortable classroom atmosphere that makes it easier to learn. They are more productive ,are able to   work well  with others and  are more happy and satisfied.

 According to the World Economic forum report emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in coming decade.Countries like USA ,Singapore ,UK ,Denmark,Norway  have already incorporated EI in their curriculum and policies . Other  countries  are also realizing the need for a broader educational agenda that will enhance teachers and students social emotional skills . The concept of emotional skills and its amalgamation with curriculum is critical as it would help enhance competencies of students and enable them to prepare for upcoming opportunities in economy characterized by prevalence of Industry 4.0.

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