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Promoting A Child’s Emotional Intelligence Through Social/Emotional Education
By ERUANGA ISAAC
Last Modified:  
 
oshiomhole
Governor Adams Oshiomhole

SOCIAL and Emotional Learning (SEL) is an umbrella term that refers to students’ acquisition of skills to recognise and manage emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish positive relationships, and handle challenging situations effectively. In other words, SEL refers to skills to manage self, relate to others and make viable decisions.


SEL is geared towards aspiring to a higher Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Research has shown that EQ is the best purveyor of a child’s future achievement, even better than any other single factor.


Emotional intelligence is not a new concept, it could be traced to Socrates the Greek philosopher that lived long ago. Socrates was having the idea of emotional intelligence at heart, when he said, “man know thyself”.


In the 1980, Howard Gardner, in his important work on multiple intelligences, outlined the presence of seven domains of intelligence, two of them were inter-personal and intrapersonal – these combined were the fore runner of what we now known as emotional intelligence. The term was first coined by a Yale University Professor and Psychologist, Peter Salovey and University of New Hampshine’s Professor and Psychologist, John Mayer. Daniel Goleman in 1995, reported that “IQ is only a minor predictor of success in life, while emotional and social skills are far better predictors of successes and well-being than academic intelligence”.


Goleman in his book, “Emotional Intelligence”, said that a child’s emotional and social skills can be cultivated, so that the child will accrue both short-term and long-term advantages in regard to well-being, performance and success in life. He outlines five crucial emotional competencies basic to social and emotional learning.


Self and other awareness: understanding and identifying feelings; knowing when one’s feelings shift; understanding the difference between thinking, feeling and acting; and understanding that one’s actions have consequences in terms of others feelings.


Mood management: Handling and managing difficult feelings; controlling impulses; and handling anger constructively.


Self-motivation: Being able to set goals and persevere towards them with optimism and hope, even in the face of set backs.


Empathy: Being able to put yourself “in someone else’s shoes both cognitively and affectively; being able to take some perspective; being able to show that you care.


Management of relationships: Making friends, handling friendships; resolving conflicts; cooperating; collaborative learning and other social skills.


The mastery of these five competencies its in enhanced emotional intelligence.
Parents have been warned by child psychologists not to omit social-emotional programs from their children.


A leading child psychologist, researchers and expert on SEL from Rutgers University, Maurice Elias explains the dangers of omitting social emotional programs from our children’s classrooms in his ground-breaking book – “Emotionally intelligent parenting.


He asserted that “many of the problems in our schools are the result of social and emotional malfunction and debilitation from which too many children have suffered and continue to bear the consequences. Children in class who are beset by an array of confused or hurtful feelings cannot and will not learn effectively. In the process of civilizing and humanizing our children the missing piece is, without doubt, social and emotional learning. Protestations that this must be outside of and separate from traditional schooling are misinformed, harmful and may doom us to continued frustration in our academic mission and the need for Herculean efforts in behavioural damage, control and repair. The roster of social casualties will grow ever larger.


How to integrate social and emotional learning into a child’s life
Many schools are implementing and infusing social and emotional learning competency building into their daily curriculum; many educators are honing their social and emotional skills through workshops and self study and parents too can bring social and emotional learning into their daily lives.


Some tips for parents
The earlier emotional education begins, the better. Being attentive to the social and emotional needs of your infants, toddlers and young children is a great way to start them off and will make the transition to adolescence easier.


Start a PTA SEL discussing group, attend SEL workshops and on-line charts.
Be a role model. Providing your child with social and emotional competent parenting makes it easier for children to emulate your prose behaviour.


Build a language between you and your child which involves talking about feelings; describe your feelings out loud; ask your kids how they feel, teach your child that he can have two feelings at the same time.


Applaud your child’s efforts to improve her EQ.
Some tips for educator


Integrate SEL skills into the daily curriculum.
Exhibit pro-social and emotionally intelligent behaviour to your students.


Investigate successful SEL programs, such as the social decision making and problem, solving program or the resolving conflicts creatively program and talk to educators currently implementing these programs.


Be alert to teachable moments that occur naturally in the classroom, for example, moments when you notice a shift in mood, a conflict, a caring act.


Keep a journal which will allow you to be more reflective about your emotional self, and encourage your students to keep a journal.


Participate in SEL forums, conferences, etc.
Check with other teachers about classroom strategies they have used to boost social and emotional competencies of their students.


Some tips for students


Keep a journal to increase your self-awareness and self reflection.


Use “self talk” to encourage yourself, be your own best friend, not your worst critic.
Encourage friends to tell you their points of view on issues.


Pay attention to strategies you can used to calm yourself and shift your mood from negative to positive.


Take quiet, alone time every day to listen to your inner voice. Be attentive to your own social and emotional needs.


According to the Director for New Media Research and Development at the Center for Social and Emotional Education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, Dr. Robin Stern, “it is crucial to provide children with an environment that allows them to develop their social and emotional skills. In November 6, 1999 speech delivered at a conference on Social and Emotional Learning and Digital Technology, Dr. James Comer, a national leader in social and emotional learning told a group at Columbia Teachers College about the impact a child’s school and home settings can have on his/her development, Comer explains that an atmosphere that provides support for one’s social and emotional learning and competence versus one that does not make a huge difference in that child’s life. The difference, Comer claims, is equal to the difference in the outcome of throwing seeds on cement versus planting seeds in enriched soil. And what a difference that is!.

 
Nigerian Observer Digital Edition
Sunday September 01, 2013
 
 
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