Social and Emotional Intelligence

Social Emotional Intelligence is a vital intelligence that provides the foundation of all other forms of intelligence and of academic learning. Social and Emotional Intelligence gives students the ability to focus their attention and learn to their highest potential.

67% of the skills that employers want in their employees are in the area of Social and Emotional Intelligence, yet schools spend approximately 1.6% of their school week on these skills.

Teaching Heart Institute is dedicated to supporting students, teachers, and parents in developing their Social and Emotional Intelligence.

What is Social Emotional Intelligence?

It is the ability to. . .

  • Identify, manage, and express emotions constructively.
  • Control impulses and delay gratification.
  • Express empathy.
  • Persevere when things get difficult and challenging.
  • Communicate and relate effectively with others.
  • Work collaboratively in groups.
  • Negotiate and resolve differences in a win/win manner.

social emotional intelligence children working in a group

Benefits of Social Emotional Intelligence 

These skills are critical to success in schools, jobs, relationships, and in navigating life challenges:

  • Behavior – Students who develop their Social and Emotional Intelligence are better behaved, more positive, and less anxious because they can manage their emotions, control their impulses, and a calm themselves in stressful situations.


  • Academic Performance – Schools that teach Social and Emotional Learning have students that score higher in standardized tests by 11 percentile points! 


  • Job Preparation – 67% of the skills that employers are looking for in their employees are in the area of Social and Emotional Intelligence. In many cases, employers value Social and Emotional Intelligence over the technical skills. It is quicker and easier for employers to teach the technical skills than it is develop an employee’s Social and Emotional Intelligence.


  • Mental Health: Students who learn to identify, manage, and express emotions constructively are more likely to  avoid anxiety issues, depression, and other mental-health issues disorders.


  • Health and Financial Success:  Children who by the age of 10 years can delay gratification, control impulses, and modulate emotional expression become healthier, wealthier, and more responsible adults.  


Connection to Brain

The two lower levels of the brain, the brain stem and the limbic system, drive attention, motivation, behavior, and the ability to focus. If students can’t manage these brain areas, then they aren’t going to be able to manage their emotions and sensations in their bodies.

Social Emotional Learning helps kids to develop the wiring of their brains from the frontal cortex to the limbic system and to the brain stem. This allows students to be able to manage and regulate the emotions and sensations that are moving through their nervous systems. Better emotional regulation equates to more focused students who can stay on task and learn more efficiently and effectively.

The Problems With Schools Today

Schools are drastically out of sync with the skills that employers most value and want in their employees. Research has shown that 67% of skills that employers want are in the area of Social and Emotional Intelligence, and yet schools spend approximately 1.6% of their school week on these skills. Many skills don’t spend on teaching these critical skills.

Schools today teach in an upside down manner. They focus exclusively on developing the cortex, the highest level of the brain, through the instruction of Reading, Writing, Math, and other academic subjects and neglect developing the lower levels of the brain which provide the foundation for optimal learning.

The lower levels of the brain, the brain stem and limbic system, generate sensations and emotions and can cause students to have too energy in their nervous systems. When students have too much energy in their nervous systems, and they don’t have the skills to manage this energy and use it constructively, they can act out or space out.

If students can learn skills to manage the lower levels of their brains, they will be able to focus, sit still, learn, deal with stress effectively, and work collaborately with other students.

In Focus:

My In Focus Book Series was named specifically because it is designed to help students learn the skills that are necessary to manage their sensations, impulses, and emotions so that they can focus their attention on learning.


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