Why Does EQ Matter?
According to the NYS Education Department, the learning capacity of a child who is anxious, afraid, preoccupied, depressed, or feeling alienated is significantly impaired.
EQ (Emotional Intelligence) matters because it affects everything we think, say and do, which in turn affects what others think, say and do, which, together, determines the quality of both our individual and collective experience. So it stands to reason that the more we emphasize EQ building/SEL in our schools, businesses, and communities, the more effective our education system, the more robust our economy, and the more just and harmonious the world we live in. But where to start? Given the sheer amount of time our children spend in school, coupled with the enormous amount of influence the school environment has on a child’s social and emotional development, I’d say schools would be the place!
Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., world renowned psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence (1995), shares on his website some exciting news about a recently completed meta-analysis of 668 evaluation studies of SEL programs for children from preschoolers through high school conducted by CASEL Director Roger Weissberg.
“The data show that SEL programs yielded a strong benefit in academic accomplishment, as demonstrated in achievement test results and grade-point averages. In participating schools, up to 50 percent of children showed improved achievement scores and up to 38 percent improved their grade-point averages. SEL programs also made schools safer: incidents of misbehavior dropped by an average of 28 percent; suspensions by 44 percent; and other disciplinary actions by 27 percent. At the same time, attendance rates rose, while 63 percent of students demonstrated significantly more positive behavior. In the world of social science research, these remarkable results for any program promoting behavioral change, SEL had delivered on its promise.”
The simple fact is, social and emotional learning directly supports many of the nation’s current educational standards and goals by providing the skills needed for young people to maintain an interest in learning, remain motivated to stay in school, and ultimately, do the work needed to succeed.