Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

EQ>IQ: The Value of Social and Emotional Learning

George Lucas discusses the importance of developing emotional intelligence in students.

April 15, 2001
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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