Emotional Intelligence (the ability to understand & regulate your own emotions & those of people around you)

Emotional Intelligence (the ability to understand & regulate your own emotions & those of people around you)

– program wonders if EI is under-estimated with respect to success at school/work – is it just a nice to have or an essential?
– EI – or being emotionally skilled – makes us more compassionate
– speech by Professor Mark Bracket – Centre for EI, Yale university
– think about a child you might know – think for a minute & imagine living their life –
– when they wake up
– home
– parents
– breakfast / no breakfast – type
– are you being yelled at
– commute – what like
– what is school like – are ou welcome
– are you enthusiastic
– what are your relationships like? Teachers / peers
– what about lunchtime – what do you have? Where? With whom? Is it enjoyable? Is it healthy? Do you interact – are you included / excluded / connected / disconnected
– afternoon lessons – what do you think? Ae there tests? Do you care?
– after school – what happens / where do you go? Home? After school care? Tutor? Bus/walk? Who is home? Ae you welcomed? Food?
– when at home – what does your evening look like? What does it feel like? Who do you spend time with? What are you talking about? Is there homework/no homework? Do you care about homework?
– late evening – what is going on? Are you alone? Or with your family? Are you interacting? Is the conversation rich about what happened – or are you locked in our room texting? To whom? About what?
– now it is time to go to bed. How are you feeling before going to sleep as your head lies there in your pillow?
– what do you see as you do that reflection? What is the one word you would use to summarise the emotional roller coaster of the child you visualised?
– conflicted? Anxious? Tumultuous? Changeable? Exhausting? lonely? Traumatic? Boring? frustrating? Uncertain? Predictable? Happy? Something else?

– things to note: some kids never have a positive experience going through school; some families have parents who are unhappy; siblings can be unwell physically &/or be psychologically suffering for various reasons ; kids can be bullied at school; some kids have few positive experiences generally

– now ask the young person – how does it feel to be a student at your school?

– interestingly a US survey by Bracket of a large number of US schools found that 75% of high school students reported a negative experience of school, with the top 3 emotions identified as being: tired, bored, stressed (hardly the recipe for creativity, innovation & high-performance)

– Bracket also reviewed data for high school & college students which included 10,000 LGBTQI students – the findings were:
– gender identity
– the more complex your gender identity is, the less happiness you have, the more anxiety you have & the more depression you have (this finding also applied to sexual orientation
– socio-economic status
– low SES kids experience positive emotions approx 35% of the time
– higher SES kids experience positive emotions approx 60% of the time
– stress however appears to occur at same rates within the student body regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation &/or SES
– his study also showed a strong correlation between being bullied (in the past week) & feeling helpless/hopeless & despair

The top emotions of teachers in the USA:
– frustrated (because they felt inadequately prepared to deal with the emotional challenges in the classroom; they also reported being “unappreciated”/”not valued” by school administration authorities
– overwhelmed
– happiness
[60 to 70% of the emotions were categorised as being “unpleasant”

– researchers looked at the climate of the school (based on relationships with supervisors & peers):
– unhealthy “climate” led to burn out & less satisfaction

Q: what emotions do you feel – ehat do they feel like? frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed?
What do the emotions happy, supported, respected, energised, accomplished feel like?
– emotions are embodied – what do they feel like?
– feeling negative emotions all the time takes a toll on your body (& your psychology)

To bring about change regarding EI, you have to:
1) work on people’s mindsets around emotions
2) develop skills within the ecosystem

Emotions matter because of:
1) attention memory learning
– how you feel drives your attentional capacity
– if you are bored, you want to do something else & escape
– note: your brain is built to work – to be productive (& to do this, it needs stimulation)
– if you are overwhelmed & stressed – I.e. having the fight/flight response all the time (it is adaptive & was develop to respond for short-term purposes) is also not ideal for learning because the emotional system overrides the cognitive system & affects focus (instead you are wondering who will be your protector)
2) decision-making – how you feel influences how you think, make choices etc.,
– studies show teachers award higher grades when they feel happier
3) relationships quality
– emotions tell us who to approach & who to avoid
4) physical & mental health
– studies show students are increasingly having mental health issues
5) performance & creativity
– are impacted by feelings of stress, being overwhelmed & bored
– without strategies to regulate emotions (rather than grit), people give up quicker & more easily

Q: what is a good day? What is a crappy day?

To be emotionally skilled involves:
– accurately recognising emotions (identify expressions, body language)
– awareness (knowing what is going on in my body & mind)
– understanding the causes & consequences of emotions – why am I feeling angry? Disappointed? What is the theme for stressed v’s overwhelmed? Disappointment v’s anger. Jealousy v’s envy. Ecstatic v’s excited. [you need a language to describe the full range of emotions]
– you have to name it to tame it
– knowing how & when to express emotions
– there are cultural rules, family rules, school rules for expressing emotions
– we also express our emotions based on our temperament & personality

RULER – acronym for EI skills – aka social & emotional learning:
– recognise (use mood meter)
– understand
– label
– express
– regulate

[these help us better understand ourselves & others]

Other Ruler Tools:
1) the Charter to build an organisational climate
2) mood meter (self & social awareness & an emotional vocabulary)
3) the meta-moment (for managing difficult emotions, emotional problem-solving & perspective-taking) [about dealing with difficult triggers – the idea is to activate your best self when you are tired, angry, overwhelmed]
4) tool for problem-solving/conflict resolution
5) high school – who am I? Where do I want to go?

The mindset is often to regulate to get rid of negative emotions (that they are bad)
– remember all emotions have utility/purpose
– some anxiety can make you detail-focused

– note: used at Mentone Grammar at school

Source: Big Ideas podcast | 10 April 2018


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