Daniel Goleman, one of the emotional intelligence gurus of our day, calls this educating the whole student by "bringing together mind and heart". Goleman speaks about the journey of bringing intelligence to emotion and keeping distressing emotions in check.
Emotional intelligence is:
- Being self aware
- Being socially aware
- Being able to manage feelings
- Having empathy for and awareness of others
- Being able to bring this awareness into relationship skills, as illustrated by Jean Hammink's emotional intelligence model
These are life skills for all people, young and old. But how do youth workers go about intentionally nurturing these competencies?
I learned more about this recently when I attended the Building a Grad Nation Summit 2013 in Washington D.C., put on by America's Promise Alliance. The summit focused on the potential we have to impact the achievement gap in education. My favorite break-out session was "Nurturing Social and Emotional Growth" in which the speakers discussed the realities, latest research, and compelling examples of how families and communities are strengthening social and emotional skills as an essential part of every child's education. The session included a rich interchange about how the school day blends with out-of-school time as well as family life to best support youth. I walked away very encouraged.
The National Human Services Assembly recently issued a report called "Keeping Kids On Track In The Middle School Years". On page 5, a model describes how youth development programming connects to promoting educational success for school achievement. The model proposes that youth workers who improve the quality of youth development programming help strengthen the psychological, social/emotional, as well as academic and career development domains of middle school students, who then enter high school better prepared to succeed.
I particularly homed in on the specific list of social and cognitive development skills included in the model. I find this recognition about the importance of all these domains contributing to educational success an important focus for youth development programs.
Is social emotional intelligence on your radar in your youth programming? In what specific ways do you see youth workers nurturing these skills in youth?
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