Some experts say that mindfulness is the foundation of emotional intelligence.
Google’s, Search Inside Yourself, programme looks at the latest research in neuroscience and ancient contemplative wisdom to help their leaders fight distraction and to grow emotional intelligence by being more present in the moment.
In the Google training, participants undergo attention and mindfulness training exercises designed to build emotional intelligences. Google believes that these skills are crucial for successful leadership and performance of its employees.
If Google, a highly successful multi-national business, puts this much significance on mindfulness and emotional intelligence, shouldn’t we, as educators, want to be developing these skills in all children to allow them to be successful as well?
Exactly what is emotional intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is the capacity of individuals to recognize your own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.
Then, the first step in developing emotional intelligence is to get children to understand that their emotions are valid. It is not bad to have emotions, good or bad. It is how they deal with and react to these emotions that makes a difference.
What are a few mindful strategies to develop emotional intelligence in children?
- Talk about emotions like you talk about the weather- Often and every day!
- What emotion are you feeling right now? How does it feel? Is this a good emotion to have in control? How can we change emotions?
- Use Inside Out (The Movie)- Many teachers find this movie a useful resource for teaching about emotions and controlling emotions. There are a lot of resources online that have been created by teachers and parents using the movie. A couple of useful free resources are:
- Track your emotions with a diary or chart
- Have the children track their emotions for the day or at a certain time each day. Discuss how they are feeling? How does their body feel? Why do they believe they are feeling this way? What can they do to change their emotion if they are not happy with the emotion?
- Guided Reading- During guided reading sessions, have the children identify the emotions of the characters. Questions: Have you ever felt these emotions? Can you relate or empathise to how they are feeling? What could they do to change their emotion?
- Recognising Emotions- Emotion Card Activity
What have you found successful in your classroom?