Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
Quick – who are the most emotionally intelligent people you can think of? The Dalai Lama, Oprah?
And the least? Gordon Ramsay, Simon Cowell, your ex? And just how emotionally intelligent are you?
As teachers, we’ve been taught that emotional intelligence has to do with the way we handle emotions both on our own and as we interact with others.
But when it comes to our students, have we put any effort into educating them about their emotional intelligence?
Celebrated doctor of social work Brené Brown, of Netflix, TED Talk and self-help fame, explains:
Teachers are some of our most important leaders. We know that we can’t always ask our students to take off the armor at home, or even on their way to school, because their emotional and physical safety may require self-protection.
But what we can do, and what we are ethically called to do as teachers, is create a space in our schools and classrooms where all students can walk in and, for that day or hour, take off the crushing weight of their armor, hang it on a rack, and open their heart to truly being seen.
So how can we help students take off their armor? By helping them hone their emotional intelligence.
The Emotional Intelligence Certification Course
An easy way to get your students more in tune with their emotions is through Edpuzzle’s free online certification course. Your students will watch and answer reflection questions on a series of videos on the ins and outs of emotional intelligence.
You’ll be able to see your students’ responses so you can identify if anyone is having a hard time emotionally and might need some extra support.
Let’s check out the course contents more in detail, which include four modules on Well-Being, Awareness, Communication and the Growth Mindset.
Module #1: Well-Being
A key part of emotional intelligence is your well-being. While you may understand the concept well, this could be the first time your students have ever heard of it. This module will change that!
Video 1: Emotional Intelligence The very first video in the module is a great introduction to the relationship between emotions and logic:
You’ll also get a handy definition of emotional intelligence: “the process of understanding and facilitating emotions into rational thinking.”
Of course, making decisions with logic over emotion is no easy feat for students, especially teenagers!
Video 2: Identity From there, the next video takes on the concept of identity, and how the way your students think of themselves affects the way they live their lives.
Delve into how identity is formed and have your students reflect on how they see themselves. Is their identity something they believe they were born with? How much is it influenced by the way others see them?
Video 3: Boost Confidence All about self-esteem, optimism and empowerment, this video has some excellent tips on how to boost your self-confidence.
Try out the “quick fixes” in class with your students, some of which might surprise you! Examples include visualizing your success, giving yourself a pep talk, listening to music with deep bass or even striking a superhero pose!
Video 4: Foundations of Well-Being How is a pencil a metaphor for your journey through life? Find out in this video. It also imparts this great nugget of wisdom:
“Think of stumbling blocks as stepping stones.”
Module #2: Awareness
A big part of emotional intelligence is awareness, not just of the world around you, but of yourself.
Video 1: Self-Awareness As explained in the video, self-awareness is the ability to objectively watch what’s happening inside of you as if it were happening to someone else.
It also gets into what it means to be self-conscious, how negative self-talk influences us and how to control your inner critic. (Good advice for any age.)
Video 2: Mindfulness Mindfulness is a big buzzword in education these days, but it’s for good reason! Your students will identify with the students in the video as they talk about their anxieties, ranging from homework, to their activity-packed schedules, to social pressure.
Finally, the video will walk you through a mindful meditation – a great practice you can incorporate in your classroom today:
Video 3: Gratitude This video will introduce your students to “the happiness experiment.” According to science, practicing gratitude makes you happier, and this video puts that idea to the test.
The experiment consists of asking random people to write a paragraph about the person who has most influenced them. Then, they were asked to call that person and read them the paragraph, which took all the participants by surprise.
Video 4: Gratitude, Part 2 In the last video, your students will see the results of the happiness experiment. Spoiler alert: practicing gratitude really does make you happier!
Module #3: Communication
If the first part of emotional intelligence has everything to do with how you see yourself and manage your own emotions, the second part has to do with how you interact with the rest of the world.
How well can your students read other people and react accordingly and empathetically? This module will help them improve.
Video 1: Communication 101 Explore the different modes of communication and how your perceptions can get confused with the objective truth.
It also introduces the concept of passive versus active listening, which the next video covers in detail.
Video 2: Effective Listening This might be the hardest concept for your students (and for you!) to practice. It all starts by putting your phone away!
The next step is to reserve judgment and let the other person finish their thought. Then (and this is the most difficult part), while you’re listening, don’t think about what you’re going to say next. While it might not be easy, especially when you’re arguing, this is crucial to active listening.
Some additional tips are to show empathy, offer support not solutions, ask questions (but don’t interrupt) and be responsive (as easy as nodding, for example).
You can have your students roleplay active listening in class and see the results for yourself!
Video 3: Understanding Negativity Bias Have you ever noticed that we give more weight to the bad things in life over the good? That’s called a negativity bias.
In this video, you’ll learn how the negativity bias actually started out as an evolutionary trait – it kept us alive by helping us avoid predators and dangerous situations!
The upside is that you can train your brain to focus on the positives in life, and the earlier your students start, the better.
Video 4: Dealing With Rejection One of the most difficult things all students have to deal with at one time or another is rejection. Whether it’s being turned down by their first crush, or not getting a spot on a sports team or a role in the school play, dealing with rejection is a life skill students need to learn.
The first step is accepting you were rejected without trying to change the other person’s mind. The next is to congratulate yourself for taking a risk – that’s a huge accomplishment in itself! Finally, spend some time with your friends and focus on all of your good qualities to get over your rejection fast.
Module #4: Growth Mindset
If you’re a teacher, the phrase “growth mindset” coined by Dr. Carol Dweck has likely been a part of your vocabulary for a long time now. Take it out of theory and put it into practice by showing your students this module.
Video 1: Grow Your Mindset Start by defining growth mindset in parts: mindset refers to the way your students think about their ability and talent.
The rest of the video delves into the differences between the fixed and growth mindset. If a student has a fixed mindset, they see their talent as something they were born (or not) with which can’t change. They’re likely to give up when obstacles appear, choose easier tasks so they won’t fail, and take criticism personally.
With the growth mindset, on the other hand, you believe that you can improve your talent through practice, and you take criticism and failure as opportunities to learn and grow. You’re also more willing to take creative risks.
Have your students reflect on which mindset they exhibit, and remind them that changing their mindset is up to them!
Video 2: Achieve More Teaching your students to set goals is huge. If you can get them into this practice, you’ll be setting them up for success in their future. This is where SMART goals come in!
SMART goals are:
Have your students set their own SMART goals and celebrate when they accomplish them!
Video 3: Persist & Resist Another one of the big buzzwords in education today is grit. According to the video’s definition, grit is the combination of persistence and resilience.
Another way to look at it is that if things are easy, you’re not learning, but when you struggle or fail, you learn the most.
How to Use the Emotional Intelligence Certification Course
The beauty of the course is that you can assign it to your students as is, or log in to Edpuzzle to copy the modules to your content and add your own comprehension questions and comments.
As your students watch the videos and answer the questions, you’ll be able to track their progress in real time and download a badge and certificate of completion to send them when they finish.
The real reward, however, is giving your students a better grasp of their emotional intelligence to help them navigate their relationships with others and improve their self-esteem. What could be better than that?