In the late 19th century – the age of schooling’ development in the Western World – John Dewey, an American philosopher and psychologist, started criticising the way schools were being modelled into. At this time, Dewey already defended that purely vocational schools were not enough, and that there was an urgent need to create “habits of mind” such as plasticity – the ability to change opinions after receiving new information.
Two hundred years later, the idea that school should be retaught is still here. (You can read an article we wrote about this subject a couples of months ago, here).
Yet now, what seems to be more and more relevant is the importance of emotional intelligence. What it is? Mainly, the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Should we teach emotional intelligence in schools? Probably yes.
A 2011 British study which had followed for fifty years 17 000 British men since they were children, discovered that a child’s level of mental well-being correlated strongly to his future success. Similar studies revealed that emotionally intelligent kids would do better in their professional lives as well as in their personal ones, as they would probably have longer marriages and suffer less from depression.
So the benefits seem clear. But how can we learn to be emotionally intelligent? Is it an innate virtue?
The NYT published an interesting article asking the central question: Can this emotional intelligence be taught? Their conclusion is that not only it is possible but there are already a bunch of schools teaching it. If this new vision of schooling became the norm, in 20 years the world would definitely be a different place.
Just in case you are wondering, we found a test to measure your level of emotional intelligence. Check it out.