EQ in Education?

IQ-vs-EQ-e1382792068438

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?

Reference:

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.

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4 thoughts on “EQ in Education?

  1. Dear Sasha,

    Thank you for an interesting an engaging post. I strongly believe in the importance of understanding EQ in the context of education and applying it to teaching practices to improve outcomes. While listening to the presentation by Prof. Torrano on one of the conferences, where he talked about EQ, he mentioned an interesting fact. While all of the countries measure their GDP, there are some countries which measure their GDH or Gross Domestic Happines, one of those countries was Bhutan. And I do think that reorienting the curriculum towards developing EQ as well as the IQ would improve GDH of Kazakhstan.

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  2. Dear sashaxxxx, thank for bringing up this interesting topic. I agree that the abilities such as to communicate effectively, to resist stress, and to monitor your own and other’s feelings and to guide your further actions that you describe as EQ are very important and should be supported by education. But I wonder how can schools teach students the ways of monitoring one’s own and others’ feelings and who will be regarded as qualified enough to teach these abilities? Is it about teaching psychology?

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    1. Thank you for the questions, Ariya. In fact, there are multiple options of using EQ in education. Education institutions can develop EQ skills in teachers by asking them to complete self-reflecting journals. As for students, Daniel Goleman suggests incorporating EQ lessons in the curricula of courses. Such methods as the use of role-plays and teaching active listening skills can be applied. There is also a course “The Best of Coping” that consists of ten lessons which develop skills in separate components of EQ such as optimism and problem-solving. This program was developed for freshmen at universities and involves fostering other EI components as well. These are just few examples. I personally would opt for EQ integrated across the curriculum with the subject teachers trained in teaching it. With regard to your last question, I do not think that developing students’ EQ means teaching psychology, although it is definitely closely connected to psychology. Students are not learning the theory, but rather working on their skills.

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