Be emotive

27th June 2003 at 01:00
EMOTIONAL intelligence, as the intelligent will know, has been around for some time; the 1920s gave us "social intelligence". But it has since had the benefit of being exposed to the scrutiny of countless gurus, so there must be something in it - perhaps. Daniel Goleman's enlightening yet pragmatic approach during his visit to Scotland last weekend certainly gave gurus a good name.

Good teachers might have wondered, however. Those who interact well with their pupils, prompting thoughtfulness and provoking thought, are acting in accordance with the precepts of emotional intelligence. Headteachers who realise that the only way to wield real power and influence is to get the best out of their staffs, and to help them work effectively to do so, are similarly inclined.

But there is a sense in which Richard Majors of the new Glasgow University centre may be right, that emotional literacy is coming into its own. The evidence is piling up, from studies on school improvement, on school management and on emotional intelligence itself, that simply concentrating on driving up test scores year on year is a recipe for hitting a brick wall. A study by the School of Emotional Literacy in England, for example, showed that schools with heads in emotional deficit who are disengaged from their staff tend to be struggling.

There are signs of a recognition by politicians that the creative and emotional side of the curriculum has to be nurtured. It is in the nature of the times, however, that they will only be finally convinced if the result is better achievement and better attainment.

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