Emotional intelligence in the classroom

It is believed that in order to be a teacher you should know your subject perfectly and can explain it to others but only some people can speak about emotional intelligence. It is difficult to disaffirm those teachers always under stress being overloaded with rules and claims set by the education system, parents, colleagues and learners. However they still have to be responsible to work with enthusiasm and interest and regard with glory to their profession. Teachers make sense to their chosen career and make contribution to children’s lives.

Teachers who are bright enough to show emotionally intelligent actions towards their learners can better find a way to their hearts. Emotional intelligence establishes favorite conditions for learners to feel themselves important and tended by someone. Such teachers harmoniously support their learners. They engage learners in classroom activities and help them see themselves capable of doing these activities. An emotionally intelligent teacher will inspire learners to participate and to make decisions in the classroom.

The term “emotional intelligence” was first created by Peter Salovey and Jonh D. Mayer (1990) as a supplement to conventional view of general intelligence. Salovey and Mayer distinguished relation between two main integrates of personality, cognition and emotion.

This quite cramped definition of Emotional Intelligence (EI), as the competency to understand how other’s emotions work and monitored one’s own emotions, was broadened by Goleman to enclose such qualities as optimism, consciousness, motivation, empathy and social competence. (Goleman 1995, 1998). In articles in the Harvard Business Review, Goleman widened the concept of EI to the business world. He informed that “truly effective leaders are distinguished by high degree of emotional intelligence” (Goleman, 1998, p.82). Likewise, by involving on experiences of more than 3000 executives, he showed the connection between EI and leadership and came up with the idea that leaders can soar their quotient of leadership styles by realizing which “emotional intelligence competencies underlie the leadership styles they are lacking” and working to improve them (Goleman 2000, p. 90). Goleman and his colleges also claimed that various leadership roles ask out various types of emotional intelligence accentuates behavior that demands emotional and behavioral control in public situations. The construct is in a stage of active development nevertheless researchers meet in their opinion that Emotional Intelligence is a separate form but positively connected with other intelligence.

Emotional intelligence expands particular variance in the sense that some people are more gifted than others. Emotional intelligence changes and develops throughout the person’s life. It can influence on persons skills as everything in life is connected with emotions.

According to Goleman emotional intelligence is more important than IQ (Goleman 1995). Because emotions affected the way we think and behave. It is necessary to be able to use these skills effectively and to be able to produce one’s own emotional states as well as those of others in order to establish the appropriate emotional conditions for different types of thinking. Social and emotional abilities are connected with success in many areas of life including productive teaching and students learning (Marc A. Brackett). First of all teacher should be emotionally intelligent because student look them, learn from them and teachers influence on them. Experiencing the right emotions at the right times can improve motivation and energy in the teacher and interest and attention in students. Those who can control their emotions, reactions and tries to understand others attitudes can deal better with difficult conversations, pupils, parents and administrators.

Another important thing about emotional intelligence is that it can positively effect on classroom discipline strategies and can help to achieve cooperative and good work in interrelation between teachers and learners.

How teachers’ and students’ perceive each other’s behavior is also important and it relies on some factors (Soleiman Yahyarabeh). Teacher as an adult individuality should make learners understand correctly. For example, if teacher puts low marks or punishes them there should be a clear explanation.

There are a lot of suggestions about emotional intelligence. According to Goleman one of the factors that influence to behavior management in the classroom is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is selfmotivate competence. He assures that person with high intelligent quotient doesn’t mean that he/she will be successful in life. Maliga (2006) also believed that teachers with high level of emotional intelligence can make personalities from various age groups. According to Gardner there are interpersonal and intrapersonal descriptions of EI. Intrapersonal intelligence means an ability to make a correct, true model of a person who is capable of handling with everything effectively. Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand other people: what motivates them, how they work and how to work cooperatively with them. All emotions have reasons however it is not always facile to recognize them. One of the best methods of finding the reason of certain kind of emotions is by analyzing objects, events, people and situation (Mark A. Bracket). Mayer and Salovey assured that people with a high emotional intelligence can achieve some success more quickly through the capabilities designated and to improve more of them.

Teachers’ goal is to enlarge the academic and social improvement of all students. Some teachers used assertive discipline in order to decrease the classroom conflicts and make them to spend their time on tasks. MacMullin (1994) distinguished that learners’ social and emotional problems and their poor capability to contact with teacher by using social skills and gain support can lead to low academic achievement. In spite of having academic competence and good literacy skills, their academic performance and classroom behavior however cause discomfort. They tend to show two problems with general organization and presentation of work, and classroom behavior which meddles with the progress of other students. In relationship with adults they tend to have an argument in order to show the truthfulness of their opinion and behavior or to refuse to obey their request. However such students may need to be take care and communicate with others in spite of their dissociable attitude and behavior. Because the reason of learners negative behavior may be various. Family or out of class relationships can be the main reason of their negative self-image.

Coleman emphasized that the psychology of the brain is acquiring and keen feelings replenish for field in the working memory. Thereby emotions induced by conflict prevent the learning of students who engaged in it. Moreover, they interrupt and create an unfriendly atmosphere for other learning too. There three mostly spread things that can lead to conflict between teacher and “difficult” learners. First of all, it is the absence of serenity about educator’s anticipation of learner behavior and activity. This may follow by students misunderstanding of teachers’ normal words, attitudes, especially for those students who have difficult background or experiencing hard period of life in their family. At last, teacher possibly could pay attention on student’s character rather than finding the reason and solving the current argument. The shortage of understanding and supporting from teachers side may instigate negative behavior on the part of the learner.

There several strategies to help learners to develop right social skills and emotional stature. All of them directed to teacher behavior like setting the rules and making the border of right behavior expecting from learners in order to have good relationship a nonconfrontational style and reply to any misbehavior which appears.

A non-confrontational teaching style focused on speaking on a calm voice, making away finger stabbing and long eye contact in the classroom, in this manner establishing non-threatening environment, using less interruptions and walking around the classroom. By this teacher can reclaim misbehavior by saying it individually to the student and others also can continue doing their tasks. In such way teacher shows that everyone should respect each other’s private life. Educators can use humor when necessary in order to decrease the tension and learners can comprehend and manage the situation. These would

be the teacher’s showing of empathy and acceptable skills of communication with people. All learners find it useful and can demonstrate it in different kinds of social relationships (teachers, peers, parents etc.) and avoid arguments.

In the USA there several programs for improving EI of educators and learners. They are focused on abilities as perception, understanding, management and use. All of them concerns emotions that in appropriate using of them helps to lead better work and develop academic achievements. Target of program is to give teachers necessary information to establish protected, enjoyable and useful environment in school. Salovey and Mayer suggested a model that found for various indexes of emotional intelligence: the perception of emotion, the ability reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotion and the ability to manage emotions. The first one is about interpreting emotions correctly and conceiving them in a right way. Mostly it might immerse nonverbal signals as facial expressions and body language. Second one immerses emotions to raise cognitive and thinking activity. Emotions promote prosper what we notice and response to; we react to things that attract our attention. Perceiving emotions can have different meaning. If person is angry and show it observer must think of its reason and what this person wants to say in such way. For instance, if your employer’s behavior is negative and shows anger, it might be because of unsatisfied work that you have done or because of having had an argument with a wife. To be capable of manage emotions efficiently is very important and main thing of emotional intelligence. Furthermore person should regulate and give other emotions correct feedback.

Goleman points out that emotionally intelligent person shows such qualities as emotional conscience, accurate self-esteem, selfcontrol, honor, flexibility, will to win, optimism, sympathy, ability to influence to others, and ability to work in team and communicative skills. Kenjemmy and Kovalsky emphasized such qualities in emotionally intelligent person: intuition, active, ability to cope with stress, also flexibility, determination, sensitive, ability to solve various problems at a time, responsibility, independence, sense of humor, interested in promotion of organization. To sum up analyzing these qualities it’s obvious that peoples’ professional promotion and high emotional intelligence are closely connected.

The environment of school mainly includes a teacher who must make good conditions for learning. Without endangering academic wholeness, the school environment directed to improve social skills in students that permit them to concern with sense of belonging. Until learners’ emotional needs are met it is hard for them to learn and perceive knowledge effectively. Teacher and certainly learners emotional state influences students’ attention, perception, focus, and the time spend on task and academic performance.

Educators who shows emotionally intelligent attitude towards work and learners are more productive in reaching the academic aims they have established. Moreover, emotionally intelligent teachers carry a sense of conveying in relation to their students. They create a friendly atmosphere that is not give way to peer conflicts and promotes better teaching context.

Emotions may extend easily however, not all of them extend in same way. According to Yale University research joyfulness and kindness spread most fast, while irritancy is less catching and heaviness spread hardly entirely. Moods effects on effectiveness of people’s work, optimistic moods boost collaboration, equity, and productivity. Laughter is the contagious sort of emotions. Human being tends to smile mechanically when hearing laugher and it easily spread among all group. Merriment spreads so quickly because there are open-loop circuits in our brain, dedicated, in particular, for revealing smiles and laugher that makes us laugh too. The reason is positive emotional state. It makes people to understand that everything is all right at that moment.

Bosses who can show their devotion appropriately are those with who people most eager to work. These people magnetize skillful people for enjoyable working with them. In contrast, bosses who show negative emotions, which are irritable, cold and always command repel peopleNo one wants to work with such people. Distress makes people less emotionally intelligent. People who are upset have trouble reading emotions accurately in other people – decreasing the most basic skill needed for empathy and, as a result, impairing their social skills.

People work at their best when they feel good. Positive feelings improve mental efficiency, and help people to better comprehend the information and to use adequate rules in whole judgments, and to be flexible in their thinking. The basis of emotional intelligence is the ability to sustain an optimistic outlook in life, a healthy self-esteem and qualities such as self-appreciation, self-respect, intuition, character, integrity and motivation. It includes good communication and relationship skills.

Emotionally intelligent teacher are known by their happy inclination and optimism towards their job and life. There some characteristics suitable for them:

  1. They are eager to know and practice who they really are and what they can became through their innate ability to choose who they want to be.
  2. They tend to be open-minded towards their profession and can accept everything with love.
  3. They are thankful for life and given opportunities. They try to see beauty in every moment of their life in everything.
  4. They have a desire to share with their knowledge and to give their best for teaching with love and cooperation.
  5. They are reliable, accurate, productive and conscious in their communication and giving knowledge.

There different ways of influencing others emotional states, for instance lighting, music, emotion – laden reading, mental imaginary or games, some teacher use even smelling. The good appearance and visual senses are also very important. But the most important way of influencing is speaking. Especially in Kazakhstani people it’s very important how person speak, sometimes even more important than what you speak about.

Learners also can use their imagination. For example, teacher can ask them to think about calm place in their mind. Then they can accomplish this comfortable place by using senses like visualization, touching, smelling and hearing. Not only are they using more vocabulary, but they are turning this place of calm more real and prolonging as they write a description of it.

They can also look up jokes on the internet and learn to tell them, using expressive voices and body language. This will make the other students laugh, but at the same time the students are working on their pronunciation. Laughter increases the level of serotonin in our bodies and so improves our immune system and reduces stress. Being able to laugh at ourselves is a good way to offset the embarrassment of a mistake from which we could learn.

Teachers through their behavior establish a particular emotional atmosphere in the classroom which is certainly impacts on learners. Classroom climate is the shared perception of learners about the classroom environment. It consists of their feelings and thoughts about teachers’ attitude to them. The classroom atmosphere can be warm and welcoming on the other hand it can be described by coldness and indifferences. This can be seen in the behavior that teachers show.

The emotional atmosphere in the classroom has an obvious influence on the students’ attitude and desire to study. In an emotionally warm classroom atmosphere learners feel accepted for their uniqueness. Consequently, it raises their self-esteem. A positive learning environment helps to meet the teacher’s and students’ emotional needs for psychological safety, unconditional regard and acceptance, the feeling of belonging, purposeful behavior and a sense of personal competence.

There are five basic emotional needs according to Robert Reasoner (1992) that should be taken into account in the classroom. These are psychological safety, a positive selfimage, and feeling of belonging, purposeful behavior and a sense of personal competence.

Psychological safety is one of the main human being needs. In the classroom it can be when learners know what is demanded from them, feel comfortable, protected, can trust to others and can suppose or foretell the progression of events from learning. When students come from a dysfunctional family they may feel insecure. For instance, their parents may be separated or divorced; they may have moved home a number of times; they come from different culture; they attended several schools; they spend large amount of time in the care of a variety of adults; they are left alone for most of their walking hours.

Positive self image is about the improvement of the students’ selfconcept which starts from their very early age. It is based on how the world replies to their efforts to make their needs known.

Feeling of belonging. It is very important for learners to feel that they are equal to others in the group and to feel that they have the same basic qualities as others.

Purposeful behavior brings meaning to learners’ efforts. If their efforts remain directed towards pleasing or complying with the demands of adults, learners lack internal motivation.

Personal competence is about the recognition that teacher gives for the achievement of goals which helps learners to gain a sense of competence.

There also some things to remember like to avoid harming others, respect the right of others, do not lie or cheat, keep promises, obey the law, prevent harm to others, help those in need and to be fair.

Emotional intelligence takes a great role in person’s life. Whether someone achieve success or not is directly connected with EI. Also effectiveness of teaching and learning in English classroom depends on it. It is important that students graduate with well-honed levels of emotional intelligence. It is a prime responsibility of educators to convert theories and research into practical applications in the courses.



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  2. Goleman, D. Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee. (2009) “Primal leadership realizing the power of emotional intelligence What is Emotional Intelligence”
  3. Cherry, K. (2008) “What Is Emotional Intelligence? Definitions, History, and Measures of Emotional Intelligence”
  4. Coetzee, M. and Jansen, C. (2007) “Emotional intelligence in the classroom”.
  5. Salovey, P. and Sluyter, D. (1997) “What is Emotional Intelligence in Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence: Educational Implications”.
  6. Developing of emotional intelligence in the classroom Retrieved from http://www. nfer. ac. uk/
  7. Salovey and Sluyter, D. (1997) “Development and Emotional Intelligence: Educational Implications”
Year: 2013
City: Almaty
Category: Philology