By María de la Lama
Much has been discussed since Dan Goleman published his book Emotional Intelligence in 1996. The author defined the term as the ability of being aware of our own emotions and those of other’s and knowing how to handle them so as to make a positive impact on other people´s life. The term made a huge impact specially since intellectual intelligence, measured by IQ tests, was believed to have a direct impact on success in any environment: academic, professional, personal, at work, etc.
Emotional intelligence is very important for developing a successful teaching career. In fact, I’ve worked with teachers with promising teaching careers and important academic degrees but who didn’t achieve the high level of performance achieved by other teachers with the same level of academic preparation. What seems to make the difference? By far, the development of their emotional intelligence.
Teachers who have developed this important skill show the following characteristics at work:
- They are builders of positive environments by knowing how to work with other peers in a constructive way.
- They have developed empathy, which helps them to avoid any kind of interpersonal conflicts with peers, students or staff.
- They enjoy working in groups and because of their empathy skills it’s easy for them to take leaderships roles.
- They contribute to the institution’s organization and growth.
- They understand their students´ feelings, needs and learning styles. This understanding makes them flexible enough to adapt their teaching styles to tailor students’ learning styles. Thus, teachers with a good level of Emotional Intelligence become very effective teachers.
- They develop and keep good relationships with their students.
- They cope with stress by controlling their own levels of stress.
- The know what they want and enjoy their daily work. EI teachers are self-motivated professionals.
- They are assertive individuals able to take initiative, act on opportunities, and look at their own lives with optimism.
The good news is that emotional intelligence is a skill that we can work on and develop gradually. The benefits for our personal and professional life are countless.
Shall we start?
Shall we start?
DE LA LAMA, MARIA, Bachelor in Education, has a master's degree in Applied Linguistics and a Bachelor's in Linguistics, both obtained at the University of California, Davis. She also holds an MBA from Universidad del Pacífico. She currently serves as the Director of the Language Center at Universidad del Pacífico.