Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions in order to overcome personal challenges and empathize effectively with others (Segal et al., 2021). Developing EI skills is an important component in achieving success in school, at work, and in personal relationships, as those with the ability to work well with others can form long-lasting, genuine connections and stand out in professional and personal settings (Segal et al., 2021).
Educators play an important role in helping students to develop these essential skills. Consider these strategies to incorporate EI into your classroom:
- Incorporate mindfulness into the school day. Short mindfulness activities (such as our library of mindfulness meditations) can be used at any time during the school day when students are becoming restless and need a chance to reset. These activities provide students with strategies to stay in the moment and acknowledge what they are feeling so that they can remain on a positive trajectory.
- Introduce journal writing. Giving students the opportunity to write down how they are feeling during the school day helps them to think through and articulate their emotions and develop a greater sense of self-awareness (George Lucas Educational Foundation, 2001). Journal writing gives students a “low stakes” space to work through their emotions without feeling judgment from others (Gordon, 2020).
- Practice modeling. Students look to their educators as examples, meaning that how teachers respond to situations throughout the school day has an impact on students’ understanding of emotion management (Goleman, n.d.). Thinking about what you communicate to your students through your words and actions, as well as becoming comfortable talking about emotions in the classroom are important facets of showing students what emotional intelligence looks like.