Emotional literacy skills students must have
For children to interact responsibly with others, they must develop four dimensions of emotional intelligence: understanding, self-management skills, empathy, and relationships.
These dimensions cannot be developed without building emotional literacy.
Children who learn social and emotional skills in school develop a broader perception of the world around them than some of their peers. Emotionally literate students discover how other children and adults view the environments in which they live. When they build the vocabulary that allows for emotional expression, students have developed emotional literacy.
Emotional literacy vocabulary focuses on feeling. People who are emotionally literate can identify their feelings and label them with words as well. Students must be able to talk about their emotions to understand the emotions of others.
Accurate visual interpretation
There’s a reason we have an idiom that says, “It was written all over her face.” People with strong emotional literacy skills can read faces. They can interpret emotions accurately just by looking at someone, almost as though they are reading from the printed page.
Some children are adept at reading faces. Others need instruction to learn about emotions and how to recognize them.
Begin by having students look at pictures of people and analyze that the person might be feeling. If students see a picture of someone who is surprised, for example, explore how they know the person feels surprise. Answers may include wide-open eyes, raised eyebrows, and an open mouth.
Active listening skills
Communication is less about talking and more about listening.
Listening can be a difficult skill to practice. Most people are thinking about what they want to say as soon as the other person stops talking. Others may be scrutinizing the speaker’s intentions or level of honesty rather than listening to the message.
Teaching emotional literacy in your classroom
You can foster emotional literacy in your classroom by incorporating strategies like these into your daily routine.
- Teach the precise vocabulary your students to need name the feelings they experience. Include pictures with the words. Ask your students to state which emotion they are feeling as you take attendance. Avoid using vague words like, “Okay/.”
- Talk about emotions. By discussing emotions, students see that’s acceptable to talk about their feelings. Their perception can lead to insight and prevent misunderstanding.
- Explore ways in which to handle emotions. People get mad, and that’s acceptable. Breaking windows or hurting people is not. Students who develop appropriate coping mechanisms are more likely to excel in using their emotional intelligence. They learn how to self-regulate.
- Allow for boundaries. People with emotional intelligence know how to set boundaries. That means standing up for one’s self and not giving others permission to shame or humiliate them.
The emotional well-being of every student in your classroom is essential to their success academically and in the future. Children who develop emotional intelligence feel significant.
They find that they are better prepared to handle uncertainty because they can discuss their feelings rationally. They learned how to respond in familiar and unfamiliar situations.
Most importantly, emotionally literate children know where to draw the line and stand up for themselves.