I got called into the principal’s office the other day. I wasn’t in trouble like decades ago when I used to throw spitballs and got busted by Mrs. Applegate. This time I was called in as a psychologist to provide consultation to a local school. Seven-year-old Natalie, the worst challenge they’d seen in years, had defeated administrators. She was the ringleader of a group of first grade girls who would gang up on the others.
This kind of story, unfortunately, is becoming more commonplace. Kids lack social and emotional skills while parents rate these concerns as secondary. Academics come first. But new brain research reveals that emotions need quieting for learning to happen. Kids with high “Emotional Intelligence” skills have higher test scores and fewer behavior problems. It turns out, we’ve been putting the cart before the horse. Emotional intelligence primarily includes a set of five factors. Here are the factors in more detail.