Emotional intelligence can be a misunderstood term. Like so many umbrella terms, emotional intelligence is used to describe many things that perform a similar but slightly different action. Emotional intelligence for children is not the same as for adults, but it is similar.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the descriptor for a person able to judge situation based on the responses of another. Someone with a high EQ score is likely to be able to spot someone in pain, or someone hiding information. They might be able to diffuse tense situations or respond well to positive ones. Building an understanding in young children of the vast expanse that is the human emotional network is important because one day they will be adults, and emotion is a factor in almost all interactions.
Naturally we can’t discuss the finer points of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with primary school children, but we do have some techniques to help them grow:
Star of the Week
Our Star of the Week program is aimed at rewarding children for good behaviour or outstanding achievement. More than that it builds confidence in children as they collect certificates in front of their peers. It also gives onlooking children a sense they too can achieve, and teaches them to be gracious in congratulation.
We expect to offer children the chance to deliver assemblies. They will agree a subject with a teacher, work alone or in a group, and then deliver the assembly to the rest of their year or school. It is said that fear of public speaking is very common. Why not build confidence early, why not usurp that fear before it takes hold.
Our teachers are writing down snippets of information about our students. The information doesn’t form a dossier or database, it simply exists to prompt a memory. We want to get to know our students. We want to remember what TV shows they like to watch, if they have a brother or sister, if they prefer jelly and ice-cream or a chocolate cake. Children are individuals, and even when there are a thousand of them in one place, teachers should take the time to treat them as so. The more we know the more comfortable our students feel about talking to us.