Emotional Intelligence in Schools

How the next generation will be better prepared for the challenges of the workplace.

The Times today reported that “lessons in happiness, well-being and good manners are to be introduced in all state secondary schools”.

It’s unfortunate that the SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) programme is being labelled in this way by the media, because it instantly downgrades its importance, putting it firmly in the category of pink and fluffy fads which we’d be better off without.

What SEAL is actually for is to promote children’s social and emotional skills which underpin effective learning, positive behaviour and emotional health and well-being in schools. “So what?”, I hear you ask. Well, for many years now, various employment and business related organisations in the UK, such as the Confederation of British Industry, have been highly critical of employees’ lack of (so-called) soft-skills. In 2004/5, Sir Digby Jones, then Director-General of the CBI said of new graduates:

“A degree alone is not enough. Employers are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree discipline. They particularly value skills such as communication, team working and problem solving. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage”.

So you could say that the real point of the SEAL programme in schools is to start providing kids with the necessary tools to develop their self-awareness, empathy, motivation, social skills and ability to manage their emotions, so that ultimately they can become successful members of the community and successful in the workplace. Makes perfect sense now, doesn’t it?

Thanks to Bruce Stanley for the Times article.

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