Why are top students not always the most successful in the workplace? How come that some brilliant-career-makers appear to have been much less outstanding at school or university? If you ever pondered on these questions you might have noticed that such factors as the ability to communicate effectively, leadership skills or resistance to stress, frequently become crucial in one’s life success. Yet, these skills are not IQ-related, but are strongly dependent on Emotional Intelligence (EI).
The concept of Emotional Intelligence was first defined by Salovey and Mayer (1990) as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action” (p. 189). This term became later popularized in 1995 as an aftermath of Daniel Goleman’s bestseller “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ”. Since that time, studies reported positive correlations of EI (Emotional Intelligence) or EQ (Emotional Quotient), as Bar-on (1997) calls it, with such abilities as creative thinking (Afshar & Rahimi, 2013), adapting to social changes and establishing large networks (Salovey, Bedell, Detweiler, & Mayer, 1999).
Indeed, if educators are aiming to develop professionals successful in their careers, fostering EI and teaching students how to control their emotions and recognize others’ feelings might be considered essential. For language learning, in particular, as speaking and listening language skills are closely related to communication, high EQ could increase the learning outcome. Moreover, teachers themselves might boost their productivity and efficiency by being trained to be more emotionally intelligent.
What are your thoughts? Should education somehow support EQ development? Do you think teachers are already paying attention to these skills subconsciously? If no, would you like to see EQ as a school subject, university discipline or integrated across the curriculum? Or do you find EQ too psychology-oriented to be fit into compulsory education system?
Afshar, H.S. & Rahimi, M. (2013). The relationship among critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and speaking abilities of Iranian EFL learners. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 136, 75–79.
Bar-On, R. (1997). The Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i): Technical manual. Toronto, Canada: Multi-Health Systems.
Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam.
Salovey, P., Bedell, B., Detweiler, J. B., & Mayer, J. D. (1999). Coping intelligently: Emotional intelligence and the coping process. In C. R. Snyder (Ed.), Coping: The psychology of what works, 141-164, New York: Oxford University press.
Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, cognition, and personality, 9(3), 185-211.