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Should Emotional Intelligence Be Taught In Schools?

By: Krystle Crossman

Emotional intelligence is when someone has the ability to control their emotions and respond effectively to different situations. It also helps children (and adults) to figure out how to deal with a situation as it comes up instead of immediately reacting to it. There are tens of thousands of programs in schools around the country trying to teach children about “emotional literacy” and trying to help them raise their emotional intelligence.

The programs that are being taught to students are not exactly clear cut at this time as there are no set guidelines on how emotional intelligence is supposed to be taught. Many different methods are used. Experts are wondering if this is a skill that truly can be taught effectively with a laid out curriculum in mind or not. Some of the methods that are used are free-form debates and scripted lessons that are given by the teachers.

Studies have been performed to find out more about emotional intelligence and how it affects someone’s life. The studies found that the more emotional restraint a person has, the more successful they can become. One study that was performed in Britain showed that children that had a higher emotional intelligence when they were younger ended up doing better not only at their jobs, but were able to sustain longer relationships, longer marriages, and had less stress, anxiety, and depression. It is not completely clear as to how it affects the children academically but it is a skill that interacts with the prefrontal cortex and maintains impulse control and problem solving.

The main focus for most of the programs that are currently being taught are breathing and self-talk. They teach the children how to quickly calm down and how to think about their actions before they react to a situation. It also teaches the children to re-frame a situation which means to look at it from another perspective and see if the situation could really be something other than what they first thought it to be.

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