One of the main findings from my doctorate was that having an academic who is socio-emotionally intelligent, one that models it and applies it within their practice, influences students’ own socio-emotional intelligence. I find this very exciting as it shows us that we are much more than ‘fonts of knowledge’ (Rogers 1961), and our responsibility goes beyond that of instructing students. Alan Mortiboys who is one of the experts in the area of emotional intelligence in teaching and learning has written about this within the context of higher education. His books and resources are packed with very interesting and relevant ideas of how to apply emotional intelligence within the context of the classroom, in our planning, for behaviour management and many other areas of teaching practice. He also explores how being emotionally intelligent is vital to develop effective relationships with students.
I found that if we as academics are perceived to be socio-emotionally intelligent through modelling it and embodying it in every aspect of our practice and of course our lives, students will learn to pick up cues from our behaviour and learn through our example.
Within my area of practice which is education, I also found that it is important to know and understand socio-emotional intelligence as knowledge gives us confidence. What is more, having an awareness of specific areas of socio-emotional intelligence allows us to implement them or modify them to improve our lives. Consequently, being reflective may allow us to be self-aware of how we behaved or managed a situation. For example, if we found it hard to deal with a confrontational student but we know about resilience, assertiveness and learn about managing relationships, the next time we are in a similar situation we may be able to manage it more effectively.
Consequently, I think that it is much more than that, and that socio-emotional intelligence more than being a tool for practicing our teaching with the aim of improving the classroom environment, should be seen by all academics as integral to cope and manage our own feelings, emotions and social interactions. It is something that we should foster and develop for our own benefit, this in turn will affect how we teach, facilitate, engage and support students and further enrich our lives.
In future posts I will explore specific areas of socio-emotional intelligence in much more depth to hopefully share useful ideas.
Thanks for reading and keep smiling:)