Emotions are part of our daily living and mostly determine how better we may perform in life, especially our ability to manage the distressing ones. For this simple reason there is the need to educate our emotions and make them intelligent.
Simply put we ought to be emotionally intelligent, which means, we should be able to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions and that of others, so we can relate to others empathetically, functionally, and cooperatively.
One most important category of people that must be emotionally intelligent are teachers. For teachers, emotional intelligence competencies are imperative not only for their personal wellbeing but also to improve students learning.
According to Patricia Jennings and Mark Greenberg, leading scientists in the field of social-emotional learning, teachers who possess social and emotional competencies (SEC) are less likely to experience burnout because they are able to work more effectively with challenging students, one of the main causes of teacher burnout
Furthermore, teachers being emotionally intelligent will ensure that children will also develop their social and emotional skills very well. They are the best role model for children.
It is worth noting that many empirical studies show significant relationships between children’s social-emotional skills and their short and long-term academic outcomes. It is therefore imperative for educators to incorporate social-emotional development into their curriculum and also to ensure that teachers receive training on how to improve and enhance children’s social-emotional skills.
Again, research suggests that, in order to help children develop social-emotional skills, teachers themselves need to have strong social-emotional skills. For example, instead of quickly resorting to punishments, emotional intelligent teachers recognise their student’s emotions and have insight into what may be causing them, which then helps teachers respond with compassionate understanding when a student is acting out and redirect the student’s behaviour appropriately.
If, for instance, a teacher knows that a student is acting inappropriately because of problems at home, that teacher may be more likely to treat the student with kindness and be supportive.
This sort of response promotes caring and supportive relationships between teachers and students, a key to reducing both student behaviour problems, possibly by as much as 30 percent, and teachers’ emotional exhaustion.
Additionally, emotionally intelligent teachers create a warm and safe classroom environment, nurtured by strong classroom management skills. In an emotionally intelligent school environment the teacher and students practice respectful communication and problem-solving. Transitions from one activity to another run smoothly and lessons are designed to encourage student engagement and love of learning.
An emotionally intelligent school environment promotes academic achievement and creates a positive feedback loop for teachers, sustaining their passion for teaching.
Emotionally intelligent teachers know how to build strong, supportive relationships with students, colleagues, and parents, deal effectively with conflict, set firm but respectful boundaries, and regularly demonstrate kind, helpful behaviour to those around them.
Surprisingly and currently, our teacher training module in Ghana is not paying proper attention to the inclusion of social emotional intelligence in teacher education and training programmes.
From the ongoing analysis it is clear that the importance of a teacher’s emotional intelligence competencies levels to the development of a child cannot be taken for granted.
It is based on these premises that the first Ghanaian internationally certified emotional intelligence coach, Mr. James Kwesi Addison, now a master trainer in collaboration with ‘Addison International Center for Emotional Intelligence is organising training for teachers and helping institutions to incorporate social and emotional development into their curriculum.
The main objective is to help create the needed enabling environment for pupils to perform creditably and ensure they are adequately prepared for the 21st-century demands of successful people.
James Kwesi Addison
Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach