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edward long

Association of Old Crows

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In school can, and should, "Emotional Intelligence" be taught?

Read the brief New York Times article before you share your ideas about this. Well beyond the scope of the three R's, does this usurp parental responsibility?
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/magazine/can-emotional-intelligence-be-taught.html?hpw&_r=0

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Closing Statement from edward long

19 Tedsters offered 91 comments on the question. 33 Thumbs-up. Read them all to see the clear trend. Educators do not see EI as an appropriate curriculum item. The day-to-day handling of individual issues of emotional turmoil is part of the teacher's lot in life and most of them agree they call for privacy, and the public airing of the details of a students home life is not proper. Folks who grew into adulthood without "normal" family support and guidance see the real need for teaching children, in class along with reading and writing, how to manage their emotions. Some say it takes a village to raise a child, others say it takes a family. The NYT link is biased in favor of teaching EI in school. Empathy figured in as did usurpation. A spirited, polarized discussion. Thanks to the contributors.

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    Sep 17 2013: Hi Edward,
    The premise seems to be that educators are emotionally stable people themselves. I would guess the truth is that they are a cross-section; just like the mums & dads. Looking back, many of my issues were with the teachers themselves. Children are unlikely to share this with the source of their inhibitions.. I went back to college in mid-life, & found some of the lecturers & students sharing their problems with me. This is of course perfectly natural, but not sharing with the rest of the class.
    For me emotional developments takes place by favourable interaction & love between human beings. Our self esteem needs building from an early age. We need to love & to be loved by those around us. There is no quick fix. Let's let the poor educators get on with the job they are qualified for. Sure, if you are an understanding sort, then children will come to you for advice. Great, advise & encourage, but respect the child's privacy.
    A child came to me once & shared that her mum was having an affair with the headmaster. That would have gone down well. :-)
    Who dreams up these ideas anyway ?

    :-)
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      Sep 17 2013: Hi Peter, you bring out a good point when you state that "the premise seems to be that educators are emotionally stable themselves"..........when "in truth they are a cross-section, just like the mums and dads".

      That is why this kind of interaction is such a sensitive thing.

      I think children naturally express concerns in their lives to loving adults who they feel comfortable with.
      Teachers have a great responsibility when they are nurturing and caring.
      We have to be very careful how we handle these issues.....lives are involved.

      You ask, "who dreams up these ideas anyway?".............the powers that be.....and they fork out money for people to play around with these ideas.........here, look at the Grants page from our government:

      http://www.3cisd.com/funding/grants/view/federal-grants-contracts/1R43MH070162-01
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      Sep 17 2013: Thanks Peter for a lucid expression regarding the inappropriateness of saddling teachers with responsibility for something they are untrained, and very likely unmotivated, to provide. So far everyone agrees there is a problem of young people being without understanding regarding how to manage their emotions. This question asks if schoolteachers are the appropriate source for that training.
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    Sep 17 2013: In a word 'yes.' But first teacher's need to be taught.
    I don't think it's an 'either or' problem. EQ won't take the place of anything -- yet it will enhance everything. I know from personal experience of being a 'foster child' and tossed from place to place--when I graduated high school, I'd been to 18 different schools. I was in 'survivor mode' and didn't have much energy left for anything else. Someone/anyone helped me with EQ would have been a wonder, a bright light in my life. Maybe with EQ I wouldn't have believed I was stupid--and it wouldn't have taken 20 years after college to believe I was actually intelligent.
    So yes.
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      Sep 17 2013: You raise a good point that some children have more reliable resources available to them at home than others. You were "tossed from place to place." Some kids have a parent in jail or otherwise inaccessible to model wise choices. Does the society want to do something in this area to help these children in ways that their parents or guardians cannot? Or do we want children to be the victims if their parents cannot step up?
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      Sep 17 2013: I doubt anyone exposed to a cross-section of young people will argue there is no need for guidance and education in managing emotions. The question here is should that nurturing come from already strapped classroom teachers who are themselves untrained, and often unsuited, to take the lead in that arena. In the USA the model seems to be if the teacher suspects a student is unable to learn, for whatever reason, action will be taken on a private (not in class) basis with Adminstrative approval and oversight. The issue may lead to the involvement of protective services outside the school. The question here is should teachers be required to become trained in SEL and should curricula be amended to include regular, requisite classroom hours dealing with specific problems which most of the students probably do not have? You suffered most unforunately with systemic failure, the question is which system failed to recognize and meet your need? Was it the school system? Bravo for your successful overcoming of a rough childhood. Welcome to TED!
    • Sep 21 2013: Yes, I can see how the behavior of the teachers would affect how kids learn EQ. I had the benefit of choosing the highest rated professors for my college EQ classes. They were very kind and respectful to their students, and very enthusiastic. But if I were to have had a boring, apathetic teacher, or and angry, disrespectful teacher, that probably would have an effect on how I took in these EQ skills. Because they're skills that we use all the time. And how they see the person teaching them about it uses them, that would affect how the students use the skills. So the teachers would probably need some learning too.
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    Sep 16 2013: it's a curly one.

    in my experience, there is a lot of social learning that goes on in between the books, if you get my meaning.

    schools teach bare facts and academic skills, to a greater or lesser extent, based on a curriculum. but students - children, in particular - do not operate like a computer, switching on at the 9 o'clock bell, switching off for morning tea and then back on again when class resumes.

    in fact, i have watched students watching teachers when the teachers are interacting socially and you rarely see them more intently engaged. they are watching and learning how adults behave and interact.

    this is one of the reasons why schools desperately need more male teachers - children and students are able to see how males interact with females (within the structured formal social space of school grounds) and also (if the schools have several male staff members) how males interact with males.

    as this is very different compared to the way females interact with females, it can be valuable information, especially for young boys learning how to become men.

    the reality is that very little of this kind of interaction is guided or planned and even less of it is assessed but to do so would lessen it's impact, I feel, reducing it to yet another lesson rather than authentic social interaction.

    so my short answer is no, it should not be taught in schools. but adults, in the presence of young students, should always be mindful of their behaviour towards other adults as they are probably carrying out some of their best teaching.
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      Sep 16 2013: I see. Taught in school, but not as a curriculum item. Thanks for those insightful observations Scott.
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        Sep 16 2013: it most certainly could be taught in a more direct fashion but i do think that schools are constrained by their assessment methods - both those shown to be robust and useful and those foisted upon schools by ministers and government - as well as by that ever-present (excuse the pun) factor of time.

        as you point out, it also starts to blur the area between parenting and teaching which, for all the good intentions behind doing so, is not really the job of teachers, in my opinion. maybe that's changing but i really don't think that the world has changed so much as to require schools to do this.

        society does seem to get all het up at times over these sorts of issues but the reality is that these issues really are more complex than the news would have us believe and cannot be universally dealt with by an education system that is really becoming more and more like underfunded logistics organisations.
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      Sep 16 2013: " i have watched students watching teachers when the teachers are interacting socially and you rarely see them more intently engaged."

      Your words jumped out at me because..............if you want to hear a pin drop in the classroom, then start to have a conversation with a fellow teacher..........It's like the old E.F. Hutton commercial......remember the one?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MXqb1a3Apg
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    Sep 22 2013: In the first page of the article...

    A teacher might say, ‘Calm down!’ — but how exactly do you calm down when you’re feeling anxious? Where do you learn the skills to manage those feelings?”

    There has to be an understanding between teacher and student. For the student, there is a time and place for everything. For the teacher, reward student(s) in small increments of fun and laughter. This is a more compromising approach between the student and teacher. AND it's magical if you can mix the two together at some point!

    Forgive me for only taking the time to read the first two pages of the article, Ed. How ya been?
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      Sep 22 2013: Say hey, WD. Your idea for a magical mix is attractive.As an outsider it seems fairly simple to me how to handle an upset kid. Ideally saying "calm down" would restore order and class can continue. As my teacher wife reminds me it very rarely works that way. Clearly it is important for the teacher to have students who have emotion management skills appropriate to their age. Again, it is not always so. So what do we do? Modify the curriculum to include EI/SEL training? Send the teachers back to college to become qualified therapists? Does it take a family, or a government (village) to nurture a child on the way to healthy emotional maturity? What do you say? Be well!!
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        Sep 22 2013: I'd say... The teachers that receive great feedback from the students (like a popularity contest) almost always follow suit with learning and I use the word "almost" because I know there is no such thing as perfect. These are the teachers that stand out and surpass all the others. When teacher and student have a strong bond there is alot of respect, both ways. This makes it easy for learning to take place because of this environment that is created by the teacher.

        These are special teachers that should lead (loosely) all other teachers. I don't believe it is necessary for modification or more college. However, I do believe the best help would be to have the teachers, whom have this type of relationship with the students, share their experiences with the problems other teachers may be facing. An advice sort of set up or meetings, a way to reach out to other teachers that could be struggling in any way. As far as becoming emotionally mature, I'm under the impression this does not exist. Oh, "emotionally mature" just sounds lame, boring, cut dry, and lacks good character development. One might as well hang out with a computer all day or program one. :)

        I honestly believe it takes a special gifted personality to be an 110% effective teacher and they are out there. Problem is the ratio of these teachers to students is not met in a classroom environment of what is today and seems impossible for every student to have this type of teacher even every other year. At times I believe teachers going lower or on the same level of maturity makes it much easier than battling it ("calm down!"). I believe this type of behavior from teacher is the very beginning of having that gifted personality. I don't have it, lol, I'd go overboard with it and upset a parent when a child would come home explaining why most farts smell bad. more than likely. I have been well. And you?
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          Sep 22 2013: All rightey then. You advocate an informal, OJT (on the job) style training for teachers to make them competent EI counsellors. I guess you do not hold parents primarily, if not solely, responsible for the development of emotion management skills in their children?
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        Sep 23 2013: Pops, there is a window to go through to get to every child in some form or another, teaching is not for everyone as I said. It takes a special talent just as many other things in life. For some it take much more practice or studying for someone without a talent. Sure, what happens at home may increase or decrease this window size through out the child's life. We are the same way as adults as well. I wouldn't go as far as to put a label on this such as a EI counselor or anything either. It's about finding the way through every child/person. I strongly believe it takes a good teacher to perform character shifts for every child in the group. It's much more complicated than we may want to think it is. Watch the movie, the breakfast club. There is no doubt in my mind would I believe I could find this window in a limited amount of time such as a year in the 5 students to effectively teach them what I know to each for/to their best abilities.

        Can you really dance or do you just think you can after 4 years of dance lessons? Are your efforts validated by the lessons? You have to know how to break dance, tango, ballet, line...ect. and transition smoothly through each several times an hour.
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    Sep 18 2013: As a foreigner, I've got a picture of the class in the US school and known what you want to talk about. Thanks to Mary!:)

    I feel that If I were the teacher I wouldn't do like that. I think focusing on happy things instead of problems is better. I think a young child should be happy every day.It's said a happy childhood benefits a person when he grows up. And there's a saying: if you share your hapiness with others , you will get more happiness. So helping children think about happy things in their lives will be positive to their EQ. And for the problems, I think they're complicated and related to some kind of privacy. It's better to ask about the questions when you find the child's sadness has badly influenced his performance in communicating with others and learning or when the children tell you their problems on their own accord. If the tone of the topic in the article is changed to a positive ,colorful one , I think this could be a good complementary daily activity for the children.
    When I was in my primary school , we were required to tell an interesting story or things in life we had learned from that we'd like to share with others about 5minutes at the beginning of the class by turns on a daily basis. And other classmates could ask some questions about it to have a short interaction. I think it's quite good. We usually enjoyed the time listening to others' stories and thoughts. Teachers never asked us about our private problems in the classroom. They addressed them on a need-to-know base.

    So my opinion is teacher could help to develp children's EQ at school by setting some complementary daily activities with the appropriate ways. These activities needn't to be developed into curricula, just using the imperceptible teaching method in daily life to develop children's mental health is ok.

    This is only my personal amateurish view, if any ignorance about your situation, please kindly ignore it.:)
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      Sep 18 2013: EQ can appear on report cards as "Plays well with others", or "Deportment". None of it has to do with delving into the students private life looking for material for group discussion in class, and it is not a curriculum subject given a dedicated time slot in the school day. By the way Yoka, most of the contributions on TED Conversations are personal, amateurish (non-professional), and come from less-than-complete knowledge of the topic, so do not fear.
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        Sep 18 2013: Thank you. I agree with you. Teacher can guide the students with their EQ by encourage them to think and act positively. I think this positive attitude and habit could benefit them in their long life. No private family affair is needed to be discussed as an example in the class.
        And Children are easy to be influenced, they sometimes laugh right after their crying. I think it's not necessary to remind them of their passed unhappiness sometimes,either. They can be cured by the new interesting activities with other children or their interested things automatically.
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          Sep 18 2013: Hey! I am 68 years-old and I am easily influenced, I laugh after crying, I like new and interesting activities. Maybe this training is more widely applicable than we think? Good observations Yoka.
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        Sep 18 2013: And Thank you for your explanation on the interesting American slang. I really like American slangs. They are so vivid and interesting. I cracked up, too.
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          Sep 18 2013: You cracked up? You developed a structural failure causing a separation of the material substance of your body? Just pulling your leg Yoka.
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        Sep 18 2013: haha,you laugh right after crying, so you're a Peter Pan? I'm pulling your leg,too.

        Actually I think when people take apart in the meaningful and exciting social or group activities, their mental health could be affected positively. When I am happily doing something with my friends,my heart will probably be stronger to deal with some trouble, and with the support from my friends, I can get more excellent advice or solutions to the problems too. This is great! Yes, we are just like children and TED discussion is one of these activities.:)
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        Sep 19 2013: "Cracked Up.........developing a structural failure"..........that's a good one Ed.

        It has been a really nice thread with Yoka.

        I enjoyed reading the part of airing dirty laundry as well.

        Very entertaining........but also very insightful.
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    Sep 17 2013: With more and more kids at risk due to either poor parenting/alcoholism/drug-addiction--the question is what can any/all of us do to help them fight their way out of a bad beginning--because not doing so IS going to cost all of us. I believe--yes teacher's should be trained because probably not all have a healthy EQ themselves--it will only help them, not hurt them. Then EQ could be incorporated into all the schooling. For example, teaching history--ask about how the Japanese might have felt during their time in POW camps--how does it make the students feel?

    "The question here is should teachers be required to become trained in SEL and should curricula be amended to include regular, requisite classroom hours dealing with specific problems which most of the students probably do not have?"

    Yes, because their training would ultimately benefit ALL students--even witnessing another student being helped would be an example of 'empathy' for all students to observe. It isn't just the at-risk kids who need to develop empathy. And again, since drug-addiction is at an all time high--along with divorce--most students in the classroom may be included in the 'at-risk' category than we think. I think the benefits far out weigh the negatives.

    Thanks for welcome--and yes, I did make it out! But it took a village ;- )
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      Sep 17 2013: I will not be surprised if this conversation evolves into a Village vs. Family issue. Does it take a family or a village to raise a child? The village idea is viewed negatively because it looks suspiciously like excessive government involvement. The family idea is rejected by those who did not have the benefit of a caring, nurturing family. Perhaps the two scenarios are so different that one solution will not work. Whatever happens any caring society will keep an eye on every child and intervene to rescue from harm.
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    Sep 17 2013: I don't like the framing of "emotional intelligence," but I do think schools have a responsibility to teach more than just the facts. Just finished Paul Tough's "How Children Succeed," and took two main points away from it:

    1) many underprivileged students (and non) have home lifes that leave them a perpetually overstressed state, and nobody can learn or otherwise work on self-development when in this kind of frame of mind
    2) even more so than content learning (which can be remedied even to a late point), underprivleged students are disadvantaged culturally - they often do not have the support systems that naturally inculcate the resiliency skills other students take for granted and are lacking the sense of entitlement to demand resources for their development

    If schools have a responsibility for fostering these kinds of skills in students (and I think they do), then we need to accept that they have the power to develop a certain personality type or at least personalities that fit within a certain spectrum.

    This certainly goes beyond a just the facts approach, but also edges away from the softer implications of teaching emotional intelligence to something more focused - resilient students who have the skills to achieve themselves.
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      Sep 17 2013: Without doubt there are children who need training in managing their emotions. The question here is if school is the best place to give that training. I know the "modern family" is not like the 50's TV families, but should the school be expected to pick-up the slack where parents have failed to meet their rightful responsibility?
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    Sep 17 2013: I'm sorry I haven't read the article because I can't find it with my internet. But I'm still interested in this thread and want to say something. :)

    I don't know about American school ,but I think with the one-child-policy in China,mostly there's one child in every family . Parents and grandparents consider their children as the apple of the eye which possibly leads to children's selfishness and low capability of communicating with other children. And also some of children's parents have to go to other cities to work and can't take care of their children which gives rise to some mental problems to their children,too.

    So I think teachers in the school could help the children to gain some good emotional intelligence and raise good habits at school.Teacher could teach them to be friendly and helpful to each other through some meaningful group games or activities, teach them how to deal with conflicts fairly between each other .These may help the children foster the team spirit in the social environment and help them grow healthier on mental..
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      Sep 17 2013: There certainly is an "only child" stigma in society, and not without reason. I think your observations are valid. My question is more about the appropriateness of educators becoming primary instructors in such matters. Should the family laundry be done in the classroom? The link stresses the use of real examples of emotional stress encounterd by students in their private lives. Is this a healty practice, and should it become a Lesson Plan item in every school?
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        Sep 17 2013: Thank you very much for allowing my boldness in your thread. I just have glanced at some other person's comments. I think I totally agree with Mary's view below.

        "I don't think I am comfortable with the idea of discussing one child's problems in front of an entire class. I prefer on focusing on classroom dilemmas and then teach appropriate emotional responses to these.

        Children do tend to confide home problems to their teachers at times, but I personally prefer to help the student one on one.....and not in front of others."

        And with all due respect, I think a laundry being done in the classroom is totally kinda joke. We can't imagine it in China. Do you really mean students bring their clothes and wash them in the classroom? I'm very willing to ask you more,but I'm sleepy now. I will have more thinking and follow up tomorrow.
        Thank you again and Good night!
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          Sep 17 2013: How delightful Yoka to imagine you visualizing children bringing the family laundry to class and scrubbing away on it! Actually it is an American idiom meaning the act of speaking publically about matters which should be kept private. Sleep well!
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  • Sep 17 2013: Crown House has a book............................. but remember emotional intelligence has certain specific applications. What is wrong with just telling people that one is not a peiple person,etc.
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      Sep 17 2013: Two things George: 1) The book title? 2) What about telling people that one, etc.?
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        Sep 17 2013: Here's a Crown House book on E.I.

        http://www.crownhouse.co.uk/publications/product.php?product=368

        As for the #2 thing.......

        I think he meant to write......

        "What is wrong with just telling people that (you are) not a people person" :)

        I swear Ed, after reading my student's papers for so many years and deciphering their writing, I've gotten pretty good at understanding what others are trying to say. I think I am right in my interpretation. But I could be wrong.
        Hopefully George will chime in. I just finished giving him a lesson on the letter "ñ" in another conversation.......so he might have his Spanish and English mixed up. LOL

        George, you know I'm just kidding right? :D
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          Sep 17 2013: You must edit your profile to include "Metaphysical and Transcendental Interpretation" under Languages. Thanks for the link.
        • Sep 19 2013: 1. about three that I could find on www.crownhouse publishing.com
          Two(2) that start out with Emotionally Intelligent Living..... by Geetu Orne and Geetu Bharwaney

          2. This was an idea from Strength Finder.
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    Sep 16 2013: I read the first of the seven pages.
    Interesting stuff.

    You know Ed, a lot of caring teachers deal with this sort of thing daily.
    In the classroom there are a lot of 'teachable' moments where valuable life lessons are exchanged.

    Having said that, I don't think I am comfortable with the idea of discussing one child's problems in front of an entire class. I prefer on focusing on classroom dilemmas and then teach appropriate emotional responses to these.

    Children do tend to confide home problems to their teachers at times, but I personally prefer to help the student one on one.....and not in front of others.

    There are character development lessons which are integrated into the social studies curriculum in the primary grades.
    Sometimes these end up being a Pandora's box............that become quite interesting.
    A conscientious teacher has to be careful with the information children divulge in the classroom.

    This is a sticky subject for me. :/
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      Sep 17 2013: You say sticky, Scott says curly, my wife says private discussions only. I am seeing a trend here. Thanks!
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        Sep 17 2013: Yeah.....I noticed Scott said curly.......all we need now is Larry and Moe.....haha

        I really do think that perhaps the population in the school might affect what they do in the classroom setting.

        Oftentimes inner city schools get grants to try a lot of new innovative ways to help these children get a running start in life. I'm sure that the teacher who is implementing that program has been trained using special strategies.
  • Sep 23 2013: Emotional intelligence can be taught but this is not your typical classroom curriculum where the teacher stands on the board or flashes something on the screen. I believe this requires a personal touch.. in a very small group. Emotion "education" requires people to talk about their emotions and you as a teacher give feedback regarding those "feelings". You just cannot do something like that in a usual classroom setting. It doesn't usurp parental responsibility because you are teaching these kids something that is "positive" in society and will be universally accepted. Its a different thing when you talk about sex education for example... some parents don't want schools to teach this and is willing to take up the burden of education their child regarding sex. Teaching children positive emotional responses is something i think all humans will agree upon.
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      Sep 23 2013: Agreed, Jeff. I doubt if anyone argues that learning to manage one's emotions is not an essential life skill. Your idea is for teachers to be responsible, and able, to teach EI in class using very small groups and not as a Lesson Plan item in every class. Many here have commented that not all teachers are able to manage their own emotions. Do you think there should be assessment and training for all teachers as a qualification for employment? Thanks for your well-spoken view on this matter.
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    Sep 23 2013: Lejan is correct; mirroring neurons are present as part of our brain's genetic makeup. Recent research has found that the brain subject to various trauma changes at an epigenetic level and can govern the ability to shut off the hormones relating to the response to trauma. This in turn affects the ability to learn both about oneself and other people. A child who has suffered or is suffering trauma whether abuse, neglect or bullying is unable to calm down mentally on his or her own. A dedicated effort on the part of empathetic, knowledgeable adults to sit down with such a child and give them the safety to look at what is happening, has happened and might happen and to help them gain tools to deal with these things is a priceless gift. Whether this could be achieved as part of a school curriculum is debateable.
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      Sep 23 2013: It is kind of like telling a kid to who has never learned to swim to just swim when they fall into the pool. Just saying "calm down" won't work. The ability to calm one's self is a learned skill. The ability to teach that skill is not currently a requirement for classroom teachers, but some say it should be. Thank you for your informative response and your clearly expressed opinion regarding the appropriateness of SEL/EI being a standard subject in school.
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    Sep 22 2013: A very perceptive question. Emotional intelligence can be taught and should be. By parents or caregivers first, but by compassionate teachers at school if not elsewhere. Even if a child is in a family relationship where the adults are emotionally immature and/or abusive and neglectful, helping the child to see how their own feelings and an understanding of the other person's motivation can affect their reaction to a situation, can literally be life-saving at times. Self-awareness is the origin of resilience and the ability to empathise. It isn't inherent in our children so it needs to be taught. It can only be taught by those who possess it to a good degree themselves and who care for the children as fellow human beings deserving of dignity.
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      Sep 22 2013: If you don't have it you can't teach it! Very succinct. It has to be taught, no doubt. Do you think it should be requisite study as part of the primary/secondary syllabus? You mention empathy, be sure to read Lejan's comments below. Thank you for your insight Lesley.
  • Sep 21 2013: I don't think that teaching these skills would go against what a child's parent teaches them. I think that having EQ taught in schools would actually get kids to consider their parents life lessons even more than they do now. That teaching EQ would help kids to be less apathetic towards their parents. Not going against parenting, but actually strengthening the relationships between kids and their parents. Because EQ involves questioning your own thoughts, vs. questioning others. For example, one thing I learned in one of my college EQ classes for managing your emotions is to ask yourself "Does feeling this way help the situation?" It doesn't involve criticizing other people (such as your own parents), it's quite the opposite. It's being critical of yourself in a reasonable way. It doesn't teach, "this is right, and that is wrong." It teaches more along the lines of getting you to ask yourself "Is this right, and is that wrong? And why do I believe that? And do I have good reason to believe that?"
    Because of this, I personally, would like to see it as at least an option in schools. But whether or not it should be a requirement, I'd like to see it be a requirement, just because I see no downfalls in it. But I can see that many kids wouldn't want to have another requirement to take in school, and parents that many parents would have the misconception that teaching EQ would make kids rebel against their parents. But from what I learned in my EQ class, I think that kids would, on the contrary, be more obedient to their parents.
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      Sep 21 2013: Check the other responses here and you will see some agree with your take on this and others have good reasons to oppose the idea. Thanks for your thoughts and concerns for young people. By the way, use the REPLY function to respond to one particular person and they will get a email notifying them. It's the red letter word "REPLY" to the left of the thumb icon. If you don't use it they might not read your comment.
  • Sep 21 2013: I have come up with a theory that teaching interpersonal skills to kids early in life will reduce bullying in schools. We can't be around the kids all the time to control them. But they are under the most control is in classes. And interpersonal skills are the “empathize with others, and maintain satisfying relationships” part of EQ. Although, I learned these EQ concepts in college. So I do not know how early they will be able to learn and understand the concepts of EQ in their young minds. And bullying happens at very young ages. I think they would be able to understand the concepts of EI in their early teens years, which would also be a good time to have EQ fresh in their minds, because intrapersonal skills is the other part of EQ, which involves understanding one’s own emotions. And in our teen years is when we are trying to find our identity, who we are, and where (or if) we fit in, and what we want to do with our future lives; which is a lot of complicated and confusing stuff to think about. So this could also reduce teen suicides. Because they would better be able to think about their own emotions, and therefore, their confusing and suicidal thoughts. And suicidal people often don't say anything about their suicidal thoughts, so intrapersonal skills (able to manage one’s own emotions) would help them to think more clearly about what they won’t share with others. And for the kids who can't yet grasp these EQ concepts, we could have EQ taught in parenting classes for parent who choose to take them. So they can help their kids to manage their own emotions, and empathize with others. So, in short, teaching kids intrapersonal skills will reduce suicides, and interpersonal skills will reduce bullying and abuse in schools. And I also think we would have less road rage if we had EQ taught before learning to drive.
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      Sep 21 2013: Thank you for a lucid dissertation on the value of EQ/EI/SEL (and any other acroynyms for emotion management training). I doubt anyone will disagree with your theory. We are, more specifically, discussing the appropriateness of "teaching" such skills in school. Are you arguing that school should be where kids learn to live responsibly by managing their emotions? Traditionally the family is where such life skill is taught, with augmentation by classroom teachers on an as needed, private basis. Do you advocate transferring responsibility from the family to the government?
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    Sep 19 2013: Sure, why not,

    However, when you look at how the schools have been doing with reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic, I would be a little nervous on what kind of emotion wrecks our kids would become...
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      Sep 19 2013: Hear Hear Sir!!!!!
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      Sep 20 2013: I suspect your "why not?" is rhetorical, but will offer an answer in case it isn't. 1) Some see the subject as inappropriate in the general curriculum of requisite subjects to be taught to all students. 2) Some see no room for such teaching in today's school schedule. 3) Some see a need for education and training of teachers before they can perform as SEL teachers/counsellors. 4) Some see the public airing of private matters as inappropriate in the classroom. 5) Some see the responsibility for EI/SEL to be primarily the parent's with incidental augmentation by classroom teachers on an as needed basis and always in private. 6) Some see the foisting of this responsibility upon the school to be a misapplication of governmental authority which diminishes the sanctity of the family by involving The Village.
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        Sep 20 2013: Not rhetorical, sarcastic....
        I see no good coming from teaching children about emotions... I remember the Nazi "kintergardens" educating the emotional response in children for the Fatherland
        and giving up their parents to the state.
        I know, everyone has said, "What happened to the Weidmaire Republic could not happen to us.
        The Romans said the same thing when the Senate elected an Empiror.
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          Sep 20 2013: Note to self: Mike Colera is given to subtle sarcasm. I will revise the tally sheet to put you on the "NO" side. Thanks Mike.
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    Sep 19 2013: Is there a proven method to teach 'empathy'?
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      Sep 19 2013: Does managing one's own emotions equate to empathy? Have I missed your point Lejan?
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        Sep 19 2013: I haven't been clear enough.

        Empathy is the ability to put ourselves into 'the shoes' of another person and to 'feel' from within that other 'perspective' in order to get a better understanding about that other persons 'emotional state'.

        This understanding then may guide the way we then interact with that person if we choose to do so.

        To me, this ability is the foundation of 'emotional intelligence', yet so far I am not really certain if 'empathy' can be taught - thus - I have my doubts on EI to be teachable as well.

        Today we know that 'mirroring neurons' are fundamental to empathy, and that this process 'runs' unconsciously in our minds. What I do not know is, if this process is equally active in all of us, or, if it was, if the 'interpretation' of it was the same. The fact, that there are people who are less considerately towards others than a given 'average' may be part of my hesitation.

        So to be able to teach EI at school succesfully, there must be a method to teach empathy, of which I haven't heard of so far. This is the reason of my question.
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          Sep 19 2013: Aha! Empathy is a component of complete Emotion Management/EI/ SEL/EQ, whatever it is called. We are not born with an understanding of, or concern for, what other people are experiencing. Babies don't lay quietly in their bed at 3AM so Mommy can get her much needed sleep. Somewhere along the path to emotional maturity the ability to think of others is acquired. I doubt that empathy, or any other component of healthy emotional maturity can be taught in the classroom.
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        Sep 19 2013: Even though I have my doubts that 'empathy' could be taught, I have no doubt that 'empathy' can and should be nurtured.

        The baby cries at 3 am not because it isn't capable of 'empathy', in fact, babies are, but because it has not yet developed the faculty of abstraction necessary to understand the underlaying 'cause and reaction' which brings its mother in this unpleasant situation.

        This is different for the father though, as he should have already developed all skills necessary to take his share in midnight suffering and to make his woman sink into the pillows again while he's rocking the cradle any other night... :o)

        Nurturing of 'empathy' is mainly rooted within the family, as this is the very place for children to get to understand and to use their abilities and this mainly by exemplary living of the parents as well as by their affectionate and forgiving care.

        Whenever we learn to use a tool, we do it best if we have a chance to watch someone using it.
        From there and a little practice, the learning curve will be much steeper than if we have a tool yet don't really know what it is used for.

        On 'empathy' I expect this as well, as if a child has no one who cares for it, how should this child learn to develop its own sense to care for others?

        This is what I consider 'nurturing' and on this I expect any school to take on its very responsibility it has for all the children who are part of it.
  • Sep 18 2013: I have to admit I am not sure because this is a skill that each child needs but most will learn it at home or in a social environment both at school or outside of school and outside of the normal curriculum. Even with training, the teachers will need the correct personalities to do it correctly. Even trained professionals in the field with years of experience make mistakes.

    In the past, the philosophy has been to give the students what they need no matter the cost (i.e. special ed students) but this will affect all the children's school time.
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      Sep 18 2013: Good point Wayne about the scope of application for SEL in school. Like Special Education programs, not every student needs to be involved in the program. But the trend seems to be toward making EI part of the standard curriculum.
  • Sep 17 2013: Schools today run as commercial outfit,performance matter,not character building
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      Sep 17 2013: You say "today" as if there was a time when schools were responsible for the emotional development of children. Is that your intent? In the USA that was never the case. Children do develop emotionally in school, but it is not an academic entity in the education system.
  • Sep 17 2013: Yes for various long term situations arising at home,at work and in Business n relationships
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      Sep 17 2013: I will represent your view in the Closing Report of this post. By the way, use the "REPLY" feature (in red letters to the left of the thumb icon) when responding to a particular person.
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        Sep 17 2013: Thank you Edward and sorry about not using the reply option. It completely slipped my mind. I re-entered the post in the reply section.

        Also, I just posted an idea on TED conversations. Let's see how many takers the idea of having a human science subject in schools has.
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          Sep 17 2013: I look forward to the responses from the TED community. You suggest the title "Human Science"?
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        Sep 18 2013: We have sciences and humanities, we also have social sciences, but we are missing out on the most vital part of our education-being human. Maybe a century ago we did not have to teach our kids how to be human, but in this capitalist, money driven world, it is increasingly becoming evident that we are forgetting what it's like to just be human.

        We need to teach our children to love again, to enjoy the company of other human beings, to form meaningful relationships. There is a subject called human science that is taught at university level in very few colleges globally, but it's not exactly what I have a mind. A human science subject in school will essentially teach our children what it means to be human, to fall in love, to feel pain, to feel happy, sad, angry, to respect each other, to build a better world!
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          Sep 18 2013: Children need to learn what you have mentioned. The question here is who is primarily responsible to teach them? Who should properly be the "we" you speak of? The State, or the family?
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        Sep 18 2013: While it is primarily the responsibility of the family to teach the things I mentioned, the current trend is seeing parents depending more on schools to bring up their children. With both parents working, the child actually spends more time with teachers than with parents. In such a scenario, teachers are in a better position to help children understand these things than parents.

        I believe it's not about whose responsibility it is, but we should rather be looking at it is this way: looking at how the present society is structured, through whom or rather what channel is best suited to teach our children the important things in life.
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          Sep 18 2013: Good points sir. What do you think of the argument that Pragmatism (adapt to the current problem rather than solving it) ignores the cause (family disintegration) which may have far more overall impact on society than the symptom (lacking EI skills)?
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        Sep 20 2013: That is what we have been doing all along (adaption to the problems instead of solving them). But I think we have come to a point where if we continue in the same trend we will see the end of our world very soon. We always have a choice, it's time we choose solutions rather than acceptance and adaptation.

        If you ask me it's the intrinsic greed of humankind and the flawed distribution of wealth in the capitalist economy that has forced people concentrate more on earning and careers than on family life. Over here in India, parents send their kids to play school as early as when they are just one year old.

        If parents spend more time with their children, if there was family time than just weekends and holidays, it'll really help children develop emotionally and psychologically. Like you've mentioned the lack of EI is just a symptom. We've got to go to the root cause and not just try to treat the symptoms. If we treat the symptoms and leave the disease untouched, it'll come back later in a more serious condition and then it'll be too late to find a cure.
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          Sep 20 2013: Thank you Rohit for your ideas. What word did you leave out in the first paragraph: ". . . we will see the [?????] of our world very soon." ?
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        Sep 20 2013: I left of the word "end". Added it now. Edward I might seem a little obsessed with changing our education system, and yes I might well be. But it's because of my experiences that I feel this way. Life's been a cruel yet good teacher to me and I've learnt my lessons well.

        I just don't want my lessons to go waste. I don't want our children to go through the same experiences. I don't aim to change the world. I just want to initiate a change in the education system and I know that if our education system is in order, the world will get better as time passes by. :)
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          Sep 20 2013: The very existence of an education system indicates a society is trying. I agree with your assertion that a well-ordered school system will contribute to the orderliness of the society. Your concern is commendable and well-placed.
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    Sep 17 2013: How many parents actively have self sense? How many people watch themselves with their kids? How many parents apologize after an outburst? How many people out there even understand that there is such a thing called emotional intelligence and if they do how many disregard it as poppycock due to cultural conditioning?

    Maybe this will help to change the next generations for their kids?
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      Sep 17 2013: Am I correct, Ken, that you are invoking the "Someone Has To Teach Them" concept? No doubt the ability to manage one's emotions is a critically important life skill. The question here is who should be the prime provider of that teaching. If, and when, the parents fail to teach should the school pick-up the slack? Should SEL be alongside math and science on the curriculum?
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    Sep 17 2013: Education should and must include emotional intelligence as well. We have to guide and nurture children to be socially responsible, emotionally stable citizens of this world, and not just technically qualified workforce to fill in the increasing needs of capitalist economies. I'm glad that many educators around the world recognize this bare truth about holistic education. However, in countries like India teachers are strictly advised by administration not to interfere in the family life of students. There is no such thing as child protection in these countries. Parents can abuse and mistreat their children because it's a part of the culture. If a teacher tries to help out a child, the teacher gets into trouble. I recently tried to stop the child marriage of a 14 year old girl student of mine. That's when I woke to the harsh reality of life. I had to be in prison for 38 days and see the real face of corruption and debasement of humanity in its raw form.

    But that incident has opened my eyes and I really want to change the education system, not just in India, but globally. I believe the root cause of all the human degradation and corruption is our flawed education system. If we can only teach our children more about life, then there would be fewer parents getting their daughters married at 14, fewer corrupt police officers, fewer corrupt judges, and definitely more responsible schools.

    Emotionally, our children are broken and unstable. That is why when they are exposed to the real world, they end up following the general trend, rather than doing the right things.
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      Sep 17 2013: In every society at any given time there is always a commonly accepted model of how things should be. Here in the USA the traditional belief is that teachers are expected to respond when they have reason to believe a student is experiencing abuse in their home life. This action is taken as an emergency, non-routine, measure, and never in a public mode, The question here is if the commonly accepted way things are done should be changed to add "Emotional Intelligence" as a curriculm item alongside math, history, and reading. You suggest the primary cause of "human degradation and corruption" is the flawed education system. You should consider posting that idea here on TED. Thank you for the insight into life in India today.
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        Sep 17 2013: Hi Edward. Thank you for your views. I strongly believe that we have to add a core subject that deals with human relationships and emotions. I would like to call it as 'Human Science'. We do have a subject called as moral in our curriculum for lower grades, but it's not a core subject and children can afford to fail in that subject without it affecting their grades. Moreover, it's taught like any other subject. You tell them a story and test them in the examination by asking a few questions based on the story. Thank you the encouragement. I'll post the idea of having human sciences as a core subject in TED right away.
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          Sep 17 2013: I suspect some cultural diversity issues will be apparent in the responses you get from different nations. What is appropriate for one place may not be for another. Contrary to moderist thought this is not one world. I look forward to your post.
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        Sep 17 2013: This "Emotional Intelligence" deal sounds to me like one such Grant program that is being implemented due to monies being diverted to that.......it happens all the time.

        Lookie..........here is a Federal Gov't page on the Grants available for this very same thing.

        http://www.3cisd.com/funding/grants/view/federal-grants-contracts/1R43MH070162-01

        [edited to remove extraneous info]
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    Sep 16 2013: Mrs. Long, as an experienced educator of very young children, likely has great experience and wisdom in helping children learn how to work and play well with others. We still do that sort of work with kids, if to a lesser degree, in secondary school.

    A teacher builds a learning environment in which children can learn together through interaction, often in settings of great diversity. I think it is part of the job.

    If you can relay Mrs. Long's take on this, I know I would be interested.
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      Sep 16 2013: When she gets home from school I will solicit her opinion. Does the teacher in the link delve too deeply into the kid's personal situations, and do you think such teaching should be a Lesson Plan item?
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        Sep 16 2013: I don't like the idea of an authority figure encouraging kids to report their parents in public for misdeeds, though I know there have been precedents all over the world..

        It is more common for a teacher to notice something amiss in a child (any certified teacher is a "mandatory reporter" of suspected child abuse, for example) and take him aside privately to ask if something is wrong.

        It is also customary to give some time to playing out challenging scenarios that may arise among kids and role-playing effective responses. At the last secondary school where I taught, we might have had such a session once a month for the whole school in small groups as part of our anti-bullying/community-building program.

        I have done a lot of helping kids figure out how deal with issues one might consider personal. But that was private and outside of class time (like at lunch). Issues that demand continuing services would be referred to a school counselor for triage.
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          Sep 16 2013: My wife, (who answers to "Lucky"), says only in a suspected abusive situation should a teacher inquire further into details and that must be done privately. She confirms the E.F. Hutton syndrome is operative in any and all conversations meant to be "private". The idea being children are learning by watching social interactions without it being on the Lesson Plan. She says NO! such learning is part and parcel of a well-run classroom and CANNOT be guided or planned as Scott points out above. An emotional crisis in the classroom MUST be dealt with privately to restore a comfortable, safe learning environment. She categorically disagrees with the ideas promoted on the link.