From the time we are six years old heading off to Kindergarten, most of us spend the next 13 years minimum in a formal school setting learning everything from biology to trigonometry. We learn to write letters, read words, solve multiplication tables, and build upon our knowledge each year. However, in the middle of learning and growing academically, I think many kids miss out on perhaps one of the most important lessons of growing up: emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” While we master the art of studying and answering prompts, do many of us forget to develop into empathetic, self aware citizens that are ready to cope with growing up and going out into society?
A new approach is beginning to develop among primary and secondary education thanks to an organization called mindSpeak Learning. In a society where STEM is becoming increasingly more pushed starting in even kindergarten, mindSpeak has begun to partner with teachers with an approach called STEMpathy: integrating emotional intelligence into the rigorous academic programs now offered. In an article from Samsung Newsroom, Kellie Lauth, the CEO and president of mindSpeak Learning says about integrating empathy into STEM programs, “You simply cannot create viable, scalable solutions without empathy and compassion.” More and more teachers are beginning to integrate this into their classrooms and I believe that an increased awareness of emotional intelligence has the power to raise up a generation filled with not only ingenious problem solvers and inventors but also loving, compassionate champions of humanity.
EQ allows us to be more diligent employees, communicative in relationships, and also develops a healthy view of oneself. With rising levels of mental health problems among the youth, we need to focus on equipping students with resilience and tools to deal with the stressors of life. It was not until the middle of my sophomore year that I realized I had spent far too much time and energy on becoming the perfect student and getting the right answers that I had failed to develop myself in other areas — and it showed. I am passionate about cultivating empathy and solving problems from a humanistic perspective, but it is not something that we can wait to learn until we are adults. Rather, teachers have the ability to be such an impact in teaching not only letters and numbers to students but also kindness, resilience and grace both to others and themselves.
When EQ is developed and highlighted in the classroom, the 13+ years of education that we go through as we grow up will be better suited to each personality, career interest, and individual. We will not only be educated but empathetic, not only knowledgeable but compassionate, and not only excellent at studying but excellent at loving those around us.
MW, Samsung Newsroom. “STEMpathy in Schools: A Conversation with MindSpark Learning.” Samsung US Newsroom, Samsung Newsroom US, 17 Nov. 2020, news.samsung.com/us/stempathy-a-conversation-with-mindspark-learning/. The Oxford Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 1992.
Photo Credit: Ten News International