In Nepal, the English medium of instruction is challenging for the students in terms of proving their linguistic competence. As a result, many students fall victim to anxiety, fear and nervousness. In other words, they become a victim of psychological distress. In order to overcome these weak emotions, EI training can be helpful
Emotional intelligence (EI) is a way of channeling emotions in a positive way. EI is defined as the ability to monitor one's emotions and also those of others through self-awareness so as to guide the thinking process into taking the right action.
It constructs self-awareness to know one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives and values and recognise their impact on others; self-management that involves controlling one's disruptive emotions and adapting to the changing circumstances; and social skills that help in maintaining a healthy relationship with people. Teachers, or educators, and parents are now starting to support EI in education for both social and emotional growth of the children.
EI plays a significant role in classroom management, maintaining good rapport between teachers and students.
It is a kind of medicine to the students who are a victim of psychological distress, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many students have suffered from mental health problems during this pandemic that have challenged the teaching and learning process. Teachers have been asked to come up with strategies to resolve such a situation in a rational manner. Despite the many efforts being made at imparting knowledge to the students in the classroom, some students get easily distracted, hampering the overall teaching and learning process.
Psychological well-being, teaching and learning are inter-related, which require understanding the psychology of the students.
The teaching and learning process goes smoothly if the emotional well-being of both students and teachers can be secured. One can internalise the intended message only in a healthy emotional state.
For instance, during the time of the pandemic, many students have fallen prey to depression. And in such a situation, the most valued trait that may come of use is the high EI of the teachers in dealing with those students who have become victims of emotional inability.
Even in a physical class, sometimes teaches are under tremendous stress in managing a large class, and only EI can resolve the issue in an effective manner.
A review published in the journal Annual Psychology explains that EI positively correlates with better social relations for adults. Highly emotional intelligent individuals are well recognised and perceived positively as they have the capability to make a positive impact on others. High EI means being socially skilled and empathetic, and it is correlated with better psychological well-being, which means a higher level of contentment and self-esteem and lower level of insecurity or depression.
During the pandemic, students taking online classes wanted to be motivated towards learning through strong counseling.
There were many factors that caused them immense stress – loss of loved ones, lack of digital literacy, digital divide – which deviated them from the teaching-learning process despite the adoption of innovative teaching strategies.
Hence, educators, teachers and researchers have felt the need to introduce emotional intelligence in the curriculum as it helps in managing personal, professional, academic and social issues in an efficient manner. Teachers with high emotional intelligence are able to solve any problem and make an impact on the students.
When emotions are overwhelming with low feelings, they degrade the decision-making skills, critical thinking skills, creative skills, interpersonal skills and cognitive abilities. It becomes difficult to fulfill one's purpose, and that leads to failure, resulting in frustration.
Being able to manage one's own emotions leads to a successful and safe journey in all aspects of life, including academics, personal and professional life.
Emotional management is crucial not only for becoming successful in personal, academics and professional life but also for a happy life.
Students' negative self-image and fear are one the major obstacles in the learning process, and they can be handled by introducing an emotional intelligence strategy in the teaching curriculum.
In Nepal, the English medium of instruction is challenging for the students in terms of proving their linguistic competence. As a result, many students fall victim to anxiety, fear and nervousness. In other words, they become a victim of psychological distress, seen in the form of anxiety, depression and nervousness.
In order to overcome these weak emotions, EI training can be helpful. EI training should be integrated into the curriculum from the starting days of schooling to help the students grow emotionally strong. Through such trainings, the students can know and manage their own emotions when they invite a panic situation in the teaching and learning environment, which hinder the entire learning process.
EI would act as the best motivational tool enhancing the emotional strength of the students. This skill helps the students not only in excelling in their studies but also in their personal, professional and social life.
Studies have shown that EI is more important than IQ. IQ provides one with a degree, but EI helps one to put theoretical knowledge into practice. It helps in gaining stability in every aspect of life and overcoming distractions.
Realising the importance of EI, many researchers who have worked in a similar field have called for developing EI skills and training and integrating them in the curriculum.
EI training is most essential in the educational curriculum for effective teaching and learning process that prepares students to face life and help in solving real life problems in an effective manner.
Priya is an MPhil scholar at Kathmandu University, School of Education
A version of this article appears in the print on February 28 2022, of The Himalayan Times.