We Must Teach Emotional Intelligence in Schools

Our education system is out-of-date; not enough research drives our instruction, as it does in every other impactful field. Harvard’s Thomas Kane believes that “the problem is that we don’t have any kind of mechanism for connecting [research] to the decisions that [are made]” (Westervelt, 2016). One area of research that is not communicated to the decision makers and, most importantly, the teachers is how emotions influence our learning capabilities.

E.I.Neuroscientists have discovered that “emotional processes are required for the skills and knowledge acquired in school to transfer to novel situations and to real life” (Immordino-Yang, 2007). Without the ability to connect with others in a positive manner, decision-making skills are compromised, if present at all. In school, we must teach emotional intelligence so that our students can learn to control their own emotional states by improving their relationships with others.



Classroom Link


Neuroscientist and psychobiologist, Jaak Panskepp notes that “our love and our attachment are partially addictive phenomena…they provide us with a sense of security that everything is right in the world” (2014). Students need, and innately want, to learn the skills to make connections with their peers and others they encounter. Their “biology and [their] sociality are completely…intertwined with one another;” the desire to be accepted and feel purposeful in a group is natural and would not be contrived in a classroom (Immordino-Yang, 2011).

Education needs to improve its dissemination of research into the working field better. Teachers can jump-start it by teaching social skills and emotional control in their classrooms every day, starting now.



Immordino-Yang, M.H. (2011). Embodied brains, social minds: How admiration inspires purposeful learning. [Video]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RViuTHBIOq8 
Immordino-Yang, M.H., & Damasio, A. (2007). We feel, therefore we learn: the relevance of affective and social neuroscience to education. LEARNing Landscapes, 1(1), 115-131. Retrieved from: http://www.learninglandscapes.ca/images/documents/ll-no9-final-lr-links.pdf
Panksepp, J. (2014). The science of emotion: Jaak Panksepp at TEDxRainier. [Video]. Retrieved from:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65e2qScV_K8
Westervelt, E. (2016). There is no FDA for education. Maybe there should be. NPRed. Retrieved from: https://t.co/BnXH3shYz6

Philosophy of Education

The ultimate goal of education is, of course, for learning to take place.  It is the job of every teacher to increase learning in each of their students, while also fostering their students’ natural desire to explore, question, and learn independently.  I believe my task is to create an environment where students feel comfortable to take risks, in addition to choosing sound learning goals and recognizing the path to lead students towards reaching them.

For students to feel comfortcommunityable, it is essential to lay down the foundation of respect for one another.  This is made possible with their knowledge that I respect them and am sincerely interested in their lives.   Students in my classroom find me easy to approach with their personal celebrations and concerns they have.  The unguarded feedback they give me regarding their classroom experiences complements my desire to instill democratic values in my students. They know their comments are almost always taken into consideration while planning future instruction.  They are fully aware that I, too, am imperfect, but strive to be better every day.  My respect and heartfelt enthusiasm for the class and subject matter is contagious, so I take it seriously.

In order to be successful, my planning begins with clearly defined learning goals in mind.  Taking into account students’ current knowledge, interests, and learning styles, I select the ideal means to pass on information.  My vision of ‘ideal’ is expected to change as lessons are taught and more is learned about my students through my observations of their discoveries and interactions in and out of the classroom.  Having to alter my lessons is not looked upon as a failure, rather a success in forging productive relationships with my students; I embrace these newly-found challenges to modify and tweak future lessons and plans.

Students are not merely ‘sponges’ that will soak up information I expose them to.  It’s a fundamental necessity to provide my students with active, multi-sensory learning experiences and opportunities to discuss information and ideas with one another.  By connecting the curriculum to student’s lives and interests, they are more likely to retain the information and develop an interest in the subject area(s) I teach them. 

I believe in whole-child education because my job is more than teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic.  To fully involve each student in the learning process, I must make sure that all of their needs are being met: physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially.  Each child deserves to feel they are safe, supported, and challenged.learning

My skills as a teacher are constantly evolving; I feel that my accomplishments as a professional are measured through my attempts to improve.  By seeking and attending professional development classes or workshops, observing colleagues, and keeping up on professional articles or books, I will not find myself in an idle position in which my students would be the ones who ultimately suffer.

This is my personal teaching philosophy that I created to guide my current and future practice as an educator.  New developments and future knowledge in education and child development will maintain its status as a working document.  I cherish and respect the opportunity to support students’ growth as individuals, life-long learners and model citizens of our world. Teaching is my passion; I view it as a gift and a responsibility.