Limespring School

Emotional Intelligence for Pupils Studying at a Specialist School

In the past, education focused solely on developing a student’s academic ability. However, in the last few decades, there has been an increasing focus on ‘emotional intelligence’.

Emotional intelligence is defined as having the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. Developing EI can help people to feel happier, more confident and to have better relationships with others. However, emotional intelligence is not just concerned with what happens outside the classroom or workplace; studies have shown that in determining future success, qualities like self-restraint, persistence and self-awareness can be more important than academic ability.

For a long time it was thought that possessing these qualities was a result of a child’s innate temperament or their upbringing. But in education, we are increasingly seeing that emotional intelligence is something that can be nurtured and developed in the classroom.

Teaching emotional intelligence is important at any school. However, it is of particular importance when working with children who have special educational needs. Children with dyslexia and dyspraxia can suffer from anxiety and depression and find many academic tasks frustrating. In addition, interacting with others can also be a challenge for some children who struggle to read social cues. This is compounded by the fact that language difficulties can make it hard for some children to express their feelings.

For that reason, here at Limespring School, we place the development of emotional intelligence at the heart of our curriculum. In so doing, we help children to navigate through the many challenges they will face in the classroom and to develop better relationships with their peers.

We work with children both one to one and in a classroom setting to enable them to tolerate – rather than act on – their emotions, whether they are feeling angry, afraid or rejected. I have seen firsthand how in working in this way, children develop a healthier attitude towards challenges and setbacks. For example, when children first come to our school, they may throw a book down in frustration or refuse to engage with a task because it is too difficult. However, by teaching children strategies to deal with these feelings, whether it’s asking for help; taking a short break before returning to the task; or simply being aware of what is causing these feelings they are able to develop confidence in their own abilities and greater resilience when faced with challenges.

At the school, we all share the view that education is about creating a well-rounded and happy individual. It is extremely rewarding to see how, by embedding emotional intelligence into the way we teach, our students flourish, personally, socially and academically.

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