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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

EQ>IQ: The Value of Social and Emotional Learning

George Lucas discusses the importance of developing emotional intelligence in students.
George Lucas
Filmmaker and Founder, George Lucas Educational Foundation
IQ: The Value of Social and Emotional Learning" /> Credit: Kristen Funkhouser

Emotional intelligence is becoming a vital skill in this Digital Age, as important -- perhaps more so -- than a high degree of intellectual intelligence. As the workplace becomes more specialized, from offices to medical centers to factories, teams of people must accomplish their work by collaborating with each other. In my work in filmmaking, we need talented individuals with technical skills, but their abilities to communicate and work with others are just as valuable.

One of the most important things our schools can do to prepare students is to teach emotional intelligence. The teacher can be the most powerful force in modeling and teaching how to control anger, resolve conflicts, and motivate students. This is something no computer, no machine, can ever do. Nothing is as powerful as the human touch in education: the ability to whisper in a student's ear, give them a pat on the back, and say, "You're right! That's a very interesting way of looking at it."

With the current emphasis on the professional development of teachers, I hope more school districts and schools of education will offer courses and workshops on this crucial, but undervalued, aspect of teaching.

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Meredith Lee Priesmeyer's picture
Meredith Lee Priesmeyer
Artist, Illustrator, and Teacher

"You're right!"
Understanding others and oneself are extremely important to the smoothness one sails through life in.

Knowing what to say--what the correct answer is--is one thing; but knowing how to finesse it takes EQ which is being able to understand what 'you' want and how to appeal to the other person in able to satisfy his or her wants. Or how to accept someone's new idea or criticism when working in an organization.

Perhaps EQ undervalued because many think that it comes naturally or that it is somewhat difficult to measure?

April Whitstone's picture
April Whitstone
4th Grade ELA/SS Teacher

I whole-heartedly agree. As a previous preschool teacher, emotional intelligence was high on my list of priorities. Learning how to "get along with" or work alongside another person requires effective modeling strategies and extensive opportunities for practice (in other words, EQ does NOT happen naturally, although many may assume such.) Unfortunately, once our students reach 2nd-3rd grade we expect them to work "independently". Individualism and independence are rightly valued in American culture, however group skills and relationships are imperative to overall successful living. For example, establishing small learning groups in the classroom empowers students to assume roles and responsibilities that are similar in nature to what they will experience in the workplace. Additionally, these learning communities foster responsibility for one's own learning while providing scaffolding opportunities for ELL's and mentoring opportunities for G/T students. Teaching (and utilizing) emotional intelligence is a win/win proposition. :D

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