EQ in Education

EQ Durban, EQ South Africa
Written by: Avril Kidd
Category: Life Skills
Thinking of the education system, I often find myself asking the question,“How can we best educate children for the new world of work?” This article takes a deeper look into EQ and the importance of teaching this skill in our schooling system.

Emotional intelligence is as crucial to our children’s future as the standard academic fare, and as such there is now a greater need for a broader preparation for life than the traditional school curriculum has offered.

We should be boosting the level of EQ within our youth and every parent, teacher,school and company should recognize the value this will ultimately bring to society and organizations as these children enter the workforce. If they do not learn this at home or in school, then organizations will need to teach them once they enter the workplace.

Children with greater EQ have been shown to have greater success with making and maintaining friendships, can manage conflict with peers better,have greater academic success and have lower absenteeism.

There is abundant research on the risks to children who don’t develop their EQ. These children who are unable to manage their emotions have a greater risk of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, having issues in managing their anger, impulsivity, developing eating disorders, and overall engaging in more risky behaviors.

Learning how to become emotionally literate is one of the best investments that human beings can make for themselves, their children and their future as it is the first step to self-regulation.


Intelligence plus character is the true goal of education.

EQ develops from the early years as all exchanges children have with their parents,teachers and each other carry emotional messages.

As Emotional Intelligence means being smarter with our feelings, nearly everything we do throughout our lives depends on our EQ, from maintaining healthy relationships to achieving our goals.

It is therefore essential to understand that EQ needs to be included in our education system to ensure that our children are well equipped for the future, building relationships and dealing with the challenges of the world that may come along.

If you are in the education industry start thinking about how you can play a part in getting EQ into schools. It may just be a very small part but that is a very important part to play and someone needs to drive it forward to not only benefit our children individually but also society as a whole, and help to build a better tomorrow together.

We teach mathematics by starting with the basics of adding and subtracting and multiplication. In the same way we need to start teaching the basics of emotions and how to understand them and use them to make better decisions and lead more balanced and satisfying lives.

There are some really simple ways of starting to get children to express their emotions. These could include:

  • Having an emotional check-in as they enter the classroom by selecting a face that best describes how they are feeling; or around the dinner table; or in the classroom by asking what their ‘sweet’ and ‘sour’ moments were for the day.
  • There are great games and tools available like Emo-heads up or the Go Fish for Feelings game, as well as tools like the Emotion Board, or Sticky Feelings. Every opportunity to increase emotional vocabulary and understanding should be taken.
  • We also need to help children reframe ‘failures’ as opportunities to learn and grow, start recognizing effort, not just outcomes. Children need to be taught that anger is a powerful emotion that can give us the energy to bring about change and how to express their anger appropriately rather than to suppress it.

Emotions have taught mankind to reason.

The greatest lesson we can give our children is to model the behavior that we want them to learn.

As parents, educators, sports coaches, and leaders, we need to ask ourselves: are we showing up in the way we want our youth to behave?

As the end of the term arrives and our children have many weeks of holiday, we need to ensure that they are well equipped to make decisions that they understand the consequences of; to ensure that they are safe, healthy and happy.

Remember, we are not born with consequential thinking – we need to learn it!