Emotional Intelligence and Youngsters – My write up for The Hindu Column

· What is the role of emotional intelligence in the character building and career of a student?

People maketh the world. Each one of us will succeed in life only when, we are of value to ourselves and also to people around us – Interacting, understanding, helping, facilitating, motivating, and inspiring. It is all about how we take care of ourselves and also how nurture relationships and mutually excel. This dimension of a human being is nothing but Emotional Intelligence – Personal and interpersonal excellence.

· Are our youngsters emotionally intelligent? Why and where are they falling short?

Our education system has come about being marks centric. So every action or advise to youngsters centers around how to maximize marks, forget about even understanding the subject.

I do a lot of workshops for parents and teachers. One of the basic questions I ask is “What percentage of what you learnt inside the classroom do you apply in your life, and what percentage of what you have learnt in a sport or a theatre do you apply in your life” Invariably people say more than 90% of what they apply in life they learnt outside the classroom, in the sport field or extra-curricular activity.

Unless we do not make the learning application oriented, introspection oriented, collaborative, emotional intelligence will take the back seat and we will have youngsters ill-prepared to face life. Industry will keep saying less than 10% of the graduates are employable!

· What kind of role teachers play in improving the EI of students? How can the EI of students be improved?

It is not about just teachers. It is about entire eco-system. It all starts from home, parents and family. We need to believe in investing time to facilitate inquisitiveness, collaborative and dialogue centric environment. Teachers are part of this very society. We need to find ways of making the learning process interactive and collaborative. The dialogues and arguments that would emerge out of such a process will lay emphasis on every learner to prepare more thoroughly, take stance, hear to others viewpoints, and appreciate and accept counter-arguments, be more open to accommodating and learning.

Exposing children from the school age onwards to things beyond the books, encouraging them to take interest and participate in activities beyond, is the key. Take the class out of the classroom. I am sure teachers can be creative and purposeful in find interesting ways of helping youngsters learn and accomplish their learning outcomes.

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