The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Education

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Emotional Literacy Activities & Games

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Emotional Intelligence…
  • 0:47 Emotional Intelligence…
  • 3:14 Emotional Intelligence…
  • 4:39 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rachel Tustin

Dr. Rachel Tustin has a PhD in Education focusing on Educational Technology, a Masters in English, and a BS in Marine Science. She has taught in K-12 for more than 15 years, and higher education for ten years.

For decades, education focused on developing students' academic intelligence but not their emotional intelligence. Since the 1990s, however, educators and researchers have begun to realize that developing students' emotional intelligence may be just as important.

Emotional Intelligence in Education

Remember those mornings when you fought with your parents getting out of the car, then found yourself trying to take your government test later that day, but you were unable to concentrate? What you experienced was driven by your emotional intelligence. Studies in human behavior first coined this term in the late 1990s. It addresses two aspects of our psyche. First, it includes our ability to understand, and manage our emotions. Second, it includes our ability to understand, and in turn influence, the emotions in other people. Today, many professionals and scholars are making an argument that we need to teach emotional intelligence on the same level of importance as we teach the ABCs.

Emotional Intelligence & the Class

There is a strong correlation between students' emotional intelligence and their classroom behavior. Students with low emotional intelligence may struggle to focus and have relationships with their peers or may even show aggression. Students with lower emotional intelligence tend to struggle to communicate their feelings with their peers, and this can result in struggling to form friendships with classmates or even relationships with adults. Aggression is a common issue with students with low emotional intelligence, because they don't have the skills they need to communicate or manage their emotions appropriately. These behavior problems typically surface in preschool and early elementary school and increase in seriousness from that point on.

Some expect children to learn aspects of emotional intelligence implicitly from family dynamics and by participating in school, church, and community activities. These aspects, or skills, include self-expression of emotions, conflict resolution, and empathy. Self-expression is a person's ability to communicate how he or she feels in any given situation. Conflict resolution refers to our ability to discuss our issues with another person calmly and work together to resolve the issue. Empathy refers to our ability to understand the emotions of those around us.

Often we assume that these are innate in people or develop naturally by casual interactions with others throughout childhood. For many children, however, this is simply not the case. Therefore, they need to be taught explicitly through classroom instruction, modeling, and even role playing.

Preschools and elementary schools that use structured emotional intelligence instructional programs reap some benefits. For example, students who participate in emotional intelligence instructional programs exhibit less aggressive behavior towards adults and their peers. Developing emotional intelligence improves the environment in the classroom as well, making it easier for teachers to teach and students to learn.

The importance of explicitly teaching emotional intelligence follows students into secondary school. Students who explicitly learn how to recognize and manage their emotions reap positive benefits. These pre-teens and teens are less likely to engage in a variety of risky behaviors, including alcohol and tobacco use, have greater self-confidence, and make safer choices.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account