Emotional Intelligence


Emotionally literate learners working in an emotionally literate environment.


Emotionally literate learning matters for many reasons:

  • 1.  Developing the whole person will have demonstrable benefits for individual and society by increasing people’s capacity to contribute and achieve in terms of both productivity and personal development.
  • 2.  Our moral outlook and value systems are fundamentally shaped by our attitudes, beliefs, feelings and values.
  • 3.  Understanding emotions is directly connected with motivation and with cognitive  achievement.
  • 4.  Educating the emotions leads to personal and professionally development and in turn to more effective learners.
  • 5.  Our sense of purpose and meaning is derived as much from feeling as from understanding.
  • 6.  Emotionally developed people are better equipped to live with difference.
  • 7.  Dealing with emotions effectively helps to develop better relationships and a sense of psychological well-being.
Emotional Literacy
  • 1.  Can be learned and developed.
  • 2.  Encompasses individual knowledge and skill, ethos, culture and communication.
  • 3.  Promotes mental health and well-being.
  • 4.  Enhances communication.
  • 5.  Fosters empathy and compassion.
  • 6.  Addresses conflict
  • 7.  Encourages problem solving.
  • 8.  Takes account of feelings.
  • 9.  Is enabling.
  • 10.  Focuses on the positive and the possible.
  • 11.  Builds optimism and hope.
  • 12.  Optimises academic attainment.
  • 13.  Builds supportive environments.
  • 14.  Underpins personal and professional integrity.

Emotional Literacy means working in the following ways:

  • 1. Collaborating to promote inclusive well-being rather than a blame culture.
  • 2. Encouraging reflective thinking and dialogue.
  • 3. Pro-actively addressing.
  • 4. Seeing problematic behaviour as the outcome of unhelpful and/or damaging experiences rather than as problem with the individual.
  • 5. Focusing on the humanity we all share, respecting difference and valuing diversity.
  • 1. Promoting discourse on the importance of:
  • 2.  ‘Negotiation’ rather than ‘winning’
  • 3.  Being open to ‘learning‘ rather than ‘being right’
  • 4.  ‘Self-awareness‘ rather than ‘self-seeking’
  • 5.  ‘Agency‘ rather than ‘control’
  • 6. What is meaningful, not only what is measurable.
  • 7. ‘Listening’ as central to good communication.
The Curriculum

In many staff rooms and classrooms, as well as the taught curriculum there is what is commonly known as ‘the hidden curriculum’ and together these determine the ethos, climate, aims and values of the organisation. Not only should emotional literacy be identified through learning and teaching, it should also be embedded in extra-curricular activities and beyond the school into the community.

It is crucial that all teachers and other school staff have confidence in their potential contribution in order to utilise opportunities to cultivate and secure a climate of trust, sharing and respect. Modelling has a colossal contribution to behaviour, responses and the quality of relationships. All staff need a rational and informed approach to equal opportunities, gender differences and preferences to learning.

Although the taught curriculum links closely to Circle Time and the provision for spiritual, moral, social and cultural education, emotional literacy is best promoted through all learning and teaching.

Coleman (1998) set out an emotional competence framework that encompasses:

Self-awareness – knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions:

  • 1. emotional awareness
  • 2. accurate self-assessment
  • 3. self-confidence

Self-regulation – managing one’s internal states, impulses and resources:

  • 1. self-control
  • 2. trustworthiness
  • 3. conscientiousness
  • 4. adaptability
  • 5. innovation

Motivation – emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate goals:

  • 1. achievement drive
  • 2. commitment
  • 3. initiative
  • 4. optimism, persistence and resilience

Social skills – adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others:

  • 1. influence
  • 2. communication
  • 3. conflict management
  • 4. leadership
  • 5. change catalyst
  • 6. building bonds
  • 7. collaboration and cooperation
  • 8. team capabilities

The emotional literacy curriculum needs to be fostered through using a range of knowledge, skills, experience and feeling. This will encompass the following areas of development:

  • 1. Conscious awareness,  particularly in extending the vocabulary of feelings;
  • 2. Understanding thoughts, feelings and actions as they relate to learning and achievement, decision-making and relationships;
  • 3. Managing feelings so that we can be more effective in meeting out needs without violating the interests of others;
  • 4. Promoting self-esteem so that people feel good about themselves and each other
  • 5. Managing conflict to achieve win-win outcomes through effective anger management and better interpersonal skills;
  • 6. Understanding groups to contribute more effectively in group settings;
  • 7. Communication skills to promote appropriate expression of feelings and thoughts.

The emotional literacy curriculum, while existing in itself, must be treated as a curriculum in action. There is a place for promoting emotional literacy within our schemes of work, lesson plans and by using a range of teaching methods and learning experiences, just as there is a need to ‘live’ the emotional literacy experience.


In practice emotional literacy will only really have meaning in our school if we have in place a process for developing a shared understanding of what emotional literacy means and what it could come to mean.

Developing the emotional literacy of staff is central to developing the emotional literacy of children. Characteristics of emotionally literate staff include:

  • 1. being infectiously optimistic
  • 2. being a good listener
  • 3. showing commitment
  • 4. being a celebrator of success
  • 5. having high self-regard
  • 6. being emotionally resilient
  • 7. having high stress tolerance

Staff can promote emotional literacy in a variety of ways, the most important of which is by modelling good practice. Specifically, staff need to understand, manage and express their feelings appropriately and consistently, just as they hope children will learn to do.


Schools are learning communities. All stakeholders (teachers, pupils, non-teaching staff, parents and governors) are all learners and all play a part in creating community. However, everything that happens in school exists primarily to enable pipils to learn how to live as members of a community.

Schools are about growth abd development and raising standards. Although emotional literacy undoubtedly contributes to raising academic standards, it is also an end in itself.

Schools therefore have the task of raising the Emotional Literacy standards of all its pupils. It is not an add-on activity for those pupils in the school community who have emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Curriculum for All

The principle of inclusion implies that we must attempt to provide the right conditions to ensure the maximum growth and development of all our pupils.

The principle of differentiation implies that we must attempt to take the appropriate steps to ensure the pupils with difficulties in accessing the curriculum are able to do so. Issues of differentiation are not unique to emotional literacy and so the procedures where we attempt to differentiate in Numeracy and Literacy, for example, should apply to emotional literacy also.

Ten indicators of a child with high Emotional Intelligence:

  • 1. You feel warmth and respect from them.
  • 2. You feel warmth and respect for them.
  • 3. They can communicate clearly about what they want and how they feel.
  • 4. They smile often and have a relaxed manner.
  • 5. They can think creatively and come up with new solutions to challenges.
  • 6. They are happy more often than sad.
  • 7. They bounce back from a knock.
  • 8. They don’t see their mistakes as failures, just information.
  • 9. You can trust them.
  • 10. They have a value system in which believe, and try to live up to it.
Emotionally Intelligent Classroom

Physical Environment

  • Physically attractive;
  • 1. colours
  • 2. fresh air
  • 3. noise
  • 4. space
  • 5. resources etc
  • 1. Displays include Emotional Intelligence material
  • 2. Quiet areas for reflection
  • 3. Layout conducive to good eye contact and communication.


  • 1. open climate
  • 2. positive relationships/praise and encouragement
  • 3. well managed routines
  • 4. agreed rules
  • 5. respect for each other
  • 6. high level social skills
  • 7. good calming techniques
  • 8. motivation/commitment
  • 9. openness of communication – feelings expressed, discussed, acknowledged
  • 10. tolerance of differences (perspectives)
  • 11. empathy
  • 12. sensitivity
  • 13. change is possible
  • 14. we are in control – responsible for our actions/taking responsibility


  • 1. relationship management
  • 2. conflict handling
  • 3. time for interviews
  • 4. teacher a role model/modelling Emotional Intelligence
  • 5. self regulation of emotions
  • 6. peer monitoring
  • 7. buddy schemes
  • 8. inclusive
  • 9. behaviour is a result of feeling
  • 10. children are good sports/pleased at success of others
  • 11. Emotional Intelligence high in all those involved with the children


  • 1. Emotional Intelligence woven into all areas of the curriculum
  • 2. Emotional Intelligence taught not caught
  • 3. thinking skills developed
  • 4. Emotional Intelligence vocabulary is used with ease
  • 5. independent projects
  • 6. reflective diaries
  • 7. emotions diaries
  • 8. knowledge of strengths and areas for development
  • 9. questioning
  • 10. making connections
  • 11. co-operative group work
  • 12. assessing of Emotional Intelligence
  • 13. giving constant feedback
  • 14. self-evaluation is routine
  • 15. role play
Emotions Awareness

Awareness of emotions in self;

  • 1. awareness of and the ability to use the language of emotions and to identify emotions in designs, artwork, pictures, music, people’s appearances and behaviours
  • 2. know what emotions they are feeling and why they are feeling them
  • 3. are aware of their limitations and strengths
  • 4. recognise and understand their moods, emotions and drives
  • 5. are aware of the values which will be important to them in life
  • 6. recognise how their feelings may influence their judgement and behaviour and make sound decisions despite uncertainties and pressures
  • 7. voice views which are unpopular and go out on a limb to achieve what they believe to be right
  • 8. are self-confident even in the face of failure and can cope with rejection.

Regulating emotions in self;

  • 1. control and redirect their disruptive influences and suspend making rash judgements and think before acting
  • 2. stay composed, positive and unflappable in trying times
  • 3. build trust by being reliable and genuine
  • 4. reflect and monitor their emotions in order to recognise how influential and reasonable they are
  • 5. have the ability to find appropriate emotions so that they can relate to the feelings of others
  • 6. control negative thinking
  • 7. take different perspectives and risks in their thinking
  • 8. have no difficulty in sharing their values, beliefs, interests and feelings with friends, other pupils and adults.

Empathising and Working with the Emotions of Others;

  • 1. understand the emotions of other people and show sensitivity and understanding of others’ perspectives
  • 2. sense the felt but unspoken emotions in individuals and in groups
  • 3. know their friends as individuals with talents, varied interests, feelings and potential and acknowledge these strengths and accomplishments
  • 4. manage conflict effectively, drawing out the thoughts and feelings of all involved
  • 5. lead and work co-operatively in teams
  • 6. are highly motivated, enthusiastic and can motivate others
  • 7. challenge bias and prejudice
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