Emotional intelligence is as vital as IQ in a child’s development

Feb 10, 2020 | Socio-emotional Learning

A Quick Summary

A person’s IQ is known to decide their ultimate success. But, studies have shown that one’s Emotional Quotient, or EQ, is equally, or at times even more important. EQ helps an individual understand his own feelings, as well as the emotions of others. It makes a person more empathetic, and broad minded. Possessing a strong EQ from a young age goes a long way.

EQ acts as a strong suit when one enters the workforce and has to maintain social interactions with all kinds of people. Building this quality early on is essential. Here are a few approaches for students to develop emotional intelligence:

  1. Recognizing ones emotions
  2. Understanding those emotions
  3. Labelling emotions accurately
  4. Expressing emotions correctly
  5. Regulating ones emotions

Appropriate tools taught to students in schools can help them to understand their emotions better and therefor act on them correctly. Students will learn the ability to regulate their emotions and react appropriately in difficult situations.

Armed with equal parts of IQ and EQ, a student will be able to create their identities on the foundation of socio-economic development they’ve received from an early age.

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According to popular belief, there is a direct connection between one’s IQ and his/her ability to be successful in life. However, several studies have shown that IQ only accounts for about 20% of a person’s success. The major factor in determining one’s success is his/her social and emotional intelligence (EQ). Thus, it is crucial that EQ is factored into a child’s development process. When we talk about EQ or emotional quotient, we talk about the ability of an individual to understand his/her emotions as well as the emotions of others. To make children emotionally intelligent, it is important for educational institutions to factor emotional development, growth and intelligence into their curriculum and provide these to students from a young age.

Following their education, when students prepare to enter the industry, they will be faced with various social situations that require them to interact with or work alongside people on different emotional spectrums. To successfully face this, children should be equipped with the emotional quotient, empathy, and understanding to help navigate themselves through these different situations.

Here are the major components that are vital to building emotional intelligence in a child:
1. Recognition: The ability of the child to recognise emotions in themselves or in another student.
2. Understanding: Figuring out the causes and consequences of these emotions
3. Labelling: The ability to label his/her emotions accurately
4. Expressing: This is the ability to know how one should convey the emotions they are experiencing. This component is especially crucial since children should be allowed to express their emotions in a space where they feel safe.
5. Regulation: Having processed why he/she is feeling the emotions, their causes, and the appropriate way to express them, a child can finally make a decision on how to react, or not to react.

For instance, if a student is feeling anger or frustration, the correct social and emotional tools in school will know how to correctly and constructively express their anger using words. The tools will also enable students to have the right knowledge of diffusing their anger rather than react by throwing something at the wall.

Students who are given appropriate socio-emotional development are not only able to navigate their own emotions, but also have the ability to recognise this in others, and can empathise/sympathise with another person. As they get older, the EQ allows them to cope and manage stresses and anxieties better, and also helps them navigate complex situations they might find themselves in. It gives students an agency and a sense of self-confidence, thus preventing them from being held back by small setbacks.

As students enter the industrial sphere and the work culture, they will find themselves entering more complex worlds and relationships that they will have to navigate through. With a good balance of EQ and IQ, not only will they be armed with specific skills and knowledge set required to be successful but they will also be able to communicate, navigate, and address problems more effectively. A strong foundation in socio-emotional development is essential for students as, at the end of the day, it makes more effective in the workforce and more empathetic people.

(This article is written by Rohan Parikh, Director of The Green Acres Academy for Education Times here.)

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