I feel like writing. Anything. Everything—well, arguably everything. But I only have so many hands and one mind. So I have to write one thing at a time.
Lately, I’ve been working on my research for my Literature Pedagogy summer course. I’ve been taking this amazing class which has opened a whole new world on education. What I have discovered by now is that there are amazing teachers out there who want to teach because, one, they love it, and two, they are figuring out ways to help students—not just the motivated ones but also the unmotivated students and those with economic strife or other disadvantages.
According to journalist and psychologist Danial Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, there are a few things that people with highly emotional intelligence do differently. Here is the list:
- Knowing one’s emotion or Self-awareness.
- Managing emotions.
- Motivating oneself.
- Recognizing emotions in others.
- Handling relationships.
If we feel we lack any of these for some reason, the good part is that they are not genetic. They are behaviors that we can be attentive to and learn the skills. How many times do we readily walk into arguments and let our emotions interfere? I know I have. There is nothing wrong with emotions. Nevertheless, we can avoid many headaches by attempting to understand the other person and manage our emotions accordingly.
Now imagine if we taught these skills to children from a very young age beginning with kindergarten. In an ideal world, excellent communication skills would resolve all of our problems. But the reality is that our humanity is imperfect. And that’s okay.
Many times the word “argument” has a negative connotation. But it really means disagreement, or we can say that it’s someone challenging our opinions or statements. We can’t spend our life challenging people; I understand that part. However, when someone challenges our beliefs I see it as a process of learning or figuring out new ways to support my thoughts or ideas. Or simply, maybe I was wrong.
We hate being wrong. But just as failure does not define success, being wrong doesn’t mean you have to stay being wrong. Maybe we need to find a new angle. I reiterate, sometimes you have to admit you’re wrong, and that’s also part of obtaining or increasing emotional intelligence.
My research extends even further. I argue that Literature helps us internalize emotional intelligence because we learn different culture through the many characters. I am an English major, and in my classes, we discuss many uncomfortable subjects, such as racism, misogyny, & or religion. Think of something uncomfortable that you can’t talk freely about in public. We discuss these issues as literary scholars or (English majors). We debate, argue, and we have this urgency to research and find answers and question a lot.
My point is that exposing children to emotional intelligence and guiding them to internalize these skills, either through literature or psychology, we can provide them more tools to engage at school and in life in a healthier manner. We need to help children understand that it’s not all about talent and IQ. Because there are those that are not naturally skilled at one thing or the other. There are those with an average IQ or even less than average.
But the effort, not giving up, & motiving oneself make the difference between success and permanent failure. And educators should believe in those students who cannot believe in themselves. Sometimes that’s the world of difference because they have been told at home, by friends, other people, and educators that they aren’t smart or talented enough.
Once again, failure is uncomfortable. And I’ve had a handful of failures in my life. But you have to remember that failure does not have to be permanent— as educator and psychologist, Angela Lee Duckworth explains. If we teach children this idea, we helped them realize that failure is not permanent. I can’t stress this enough.
I feel that children are perfectly capable of being trained to become “little scholars” to question, argue well, and figure out new angles to a dilemma—even if it’s on Dora the Explorer. These type of skills help with empathy, and the professor builds a community that is safe for feelings and arguments.
I don’t wish to overwhelm you with so many facts and details of my research. But I do recommend, especially educators and parents, to take a look the link below. Thank you for reading some of my ideas for my research. I appreciate it greatly. Please, feel free to leave your comments below. I welcome ideas.