Authors: Fozia Temam and Tidiane Ndour (edited by Linda Ruas) | Published on 11 April 2024


Question: How can teachers develop emotional intelligence in themselves and learners? 

Answer: by working on our own emotional well-being and then helping our learners

Here are some tips/ideas on how we can become better at using emotional intelligence:

  • We need to be aware of, prioritise and develop our own emotional well-being. Teacher Wellbeing is becoming more important, as we can see that teachers need to be in a good place themselves before they can guide learners. Do regular wellbeing checks and discover what you need to work on, and how.
  • Engage in self-care activities like exercise, hobbies and social connections; and set clear boundaries with students and colleagues to maintain a professional and healthy work environment. By doing this, teachers can safeguard themselves from burnout and maintain their wellbeing
  • We need to be aware of what emotional intelligence is: the ability to recognise, understand, and manage one's own emotions as well as recognise and influence the emotions of others - using self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and relationship management.
  • We can work on self-awareness by recognising our emotions and how they impact our thoughts and behaviour, for example by focusing on our breath, or making regular notes in a journal, and maybe with the help of counselling or therapy.
  • We can learn to self-regulate by managing and controlling our emotions, impulses, and reactions effectively, for example with the use of counting, breathing exercises, and meditation or mindfulness
  • Working on relationship management refers to the ability to build and maintain positive relationships through effective communication and conflict resolution; we can practise this with learners in class through role-plays where they need to resolve conflicts and understand the point of view of others, then analyse what happened afterwards
  • By guiding learners in productive group discussions about motives, reactions and responses, we can often enhance collaboration, build strong teacher-student relationships, and encourage openness and mutual support – all very useful life skills
  • If we practise active listening in class, this will help students, especially teenagers, develop emotional maturity
  • Story-telling and reading novels can be really important for building empathy in learners of all ages
  • By working on emotional intelligence, we are helping learners with future lives, relationships and work, by navigating cultural differences and relating better to others; we are also making them better language learners as their understanding of and communication with others will improve