Cultivating emotional intelligence in children

Posted on May 27, 2014

The publication of Daniel Goleman;s breakthrough book Emotional Intelligence in 1995, introduced the public to the then radical idea that "there are other ways of being smart," couldn't have been more timely. Goleman defined 'emotional intelligence' as: "The capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships."

Lantieri, who's been teaching for the last 40 years, says that she has always been guided by Gandhi's exhortation, "to begin with the children." So it's been with a sinking heart that she's watched the situation for kids in many parts of the US deteriorate, especially in the early 1990s when according to Lantieri, "we were losing a classroom of children to violence every three days. A child was killed by a gun every 98 minutes."

Lantieri says that like many educators, she sought to apply Goleman's theory to her own work in the classroom, helping to create curricula that are still in use in many schools today. She says, "We called it social and emotional learning, a process whereby children and adults acquire knowledge, skills and dispositions related to five core competencies. We taught self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, decision-making skills and self awareness."

Not surprisingly, these efforts produced positive results. Lantieri says, "We reduced risks, increased pro social behaviour and the good news is, kids when they're taught these skills as a normal part of their curriculum, they do better on the academics."

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Category(s):Child Development, Emotional Intelligence

Source material from Think