Four mindful back-to-school questions to build emotional intelligence

Four mindful back-to-school questions to build emotional intelligence

Washington Post | September 11, 2017

By Marc Brackett and Chris Frank

Picture a middle school student who we’ll call Ethan. He entered third grade today with a scowl on his face. He squirms and fidgets in his chair, unable to focus. When his teacher asks him about last night’s homework, he bristles with annoyance and says he didn’t do the assignment. It’s not clear why Ethan appears angry, and chances are Ethan may be a little unsure himself.

Great teachers and parents have always known that a student’s emotions can derail the educational process, and a growing body of research suggests that students in classrooms that rate high in emotional intelligence may actually perform better. Last year, the World Economic Forum included emotional intelligence (alongside skills like creativity and critical thinking) among the top skills required for success in tomorrow’s global workforce.

But too few classrooms today are teaching the tenets of emotional intelligence. It takes a team effort on the part of parents and teachers to help young learners more effectively communicate and regulate how they’re feeling. At ClassDojo, an online site that connects parents and teachers, and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, we’re using technology to build awareness of skills such as mindfulness through popular tools that parents and teachers are already using to communicate.

So where should parent-teacher collaborations start?

Here are four questions parents and teachers can ask young learners that will help to spot issues early, and identify concerns and opportunities to spark a more meaningful conversation with them about emotions.

Read the full interview here.