Social-emotional intelligence measures for learning

Social-emotional intelligence measured for school enrollment.

Spring is the time where parents are choosing elementary schools for their soon-to-be kindergartener or helping their teenager choose a college or university to attend. Choosing a school at any age can be a stressful event for all involved and keeping emotions in balance is more important than one might think.

Social and emotional intelligence is a skill-set that is needed for entrance into school, no matter what age. Academics are not the only intelligence measured for acceptance into a school. Having the ability to communicate needs and/or self-regulate is a building block to learning. Because of the research results around social-emotional learning, schools are now scoring or measuring how you communicate emotions, or in other words, what is your social-emotional intelligence?

Daniel Goleman's research on social and emotional competencies in his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence brought the importance of social-emotional intelligence into focus. Goleman outlines five crucial emotional competencies basic to social and emotional learning:

  1. Self and other awareness: Understanding and identifying feelings; knowing when one's feelings shift; understanding the difference between thinking, feeling and acting; and understanding that one's actions have consequences in terms of others' feelings.
  2. Mood management: Handling and managing difficult feelings; controlling impulses; and handling anger constructively.
  3. Self-motivation: Being able to set goals and persevere towards them with optimism and hope, even in the face of setbacks.
  4. Empathy: Being able to put yourself "in someone else's shoes" both cognitively and affectively; being able to take someone's perspective; being able to show that you care.
  5. Management of relationships: Making friends, handling friendships; resolving conflicts; cooperating; collaborative learning and other social skills.

If you are a parent of a toddler keep these emotional competencies in mind as milestones to master. If you’re parenting a teen, think how their extra-curricular and volunteer service activities or employment record attest to these competencies. Many college scholarships are available based on academic records, extra-curricular activities, volunteering/citizenship and leadership. None of these would be possible without having emotional intelligence.

Choosing a school and navigating through all the paperwork is stressful, but watching your child take that “next-step” is the reward. Model for your child the emotional intelligence you want them to emulate. Be aware of your own and your child’s feelings, set goals, be empathetic and balanced as you set forth in your quest to find that school for your son or daughter.

Michigan State university Extension recommends some websites that can help you choose schools are as follows:

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