Warm, welcoming and a pleasant school environment makes children, school teachers and staff not only happier but gets them pumped to go to school every day. In addition, an encouraging atmosphere and happier people make the educational process more productive and conducive to learning. Schools that promote equality in diversity, collaborative approach to learning, set realistic expectations from teachers and students, and focus on physical-social-psychological well-being of children and teachers make a school admirable. With advent of technology, these days schools are aiming for smart classrooms on one hand and parents are providing gadgets in form of musical toys or tablets at home on other hand. In today’s world, we cannot stop our children from getting exposed to technology or artificial intelligence, but at the same time is it essential to cater to the socio-emotional needs of the child. For life excellence it has become imperative to balance between S-E-A intelligence (social, emotional and artificial intelligence).
S stands for Social intelligence aims to generate self and social awareness. It helps children to manage complex social changes. Verbal fluency, communication skills, understanding what makes other person happy or sad, displaying flexibility in different social roles, accepting diversity and treating each individual equally are few of the key elements of social intelligence. A school that caters to social intelligence is instilling values of equality in diversity and collaborative learning process. In today’s world collaboration, flexibility and adaptability are required at all levels to become successful. A child who would lacks SI is likely to become ignorant of truth, lack logic and reality of the world that could translate to a child becoming less self-confident. A child who is deficient in self-confidence is expected to be inept to make sound decisions and stand by the decision taken. Observational studies show that these children lack social networks and often demoralized themselves.
E stands for Emotional intelligence on the other hand takes care of developing and enhancing emotional competency, maturity and sensitivity among children. Emotional competency caters to tackling emotional upsets, building self-esteem in children and how to effectively deal with egoism and inferiority complex; whereas emotional maturity helps to develop self-awareness, adaptability, flexibility, accommodative attitude and skills to delay gratification. The last component of emotional sensitivity helps to develop empathy, effective communication of emotions and controlling emotional arousal in children. Lack of emotional intelligence leads to rigidity in thinking processes and poor relationships with family, peers, and society.
A stands for Artificial intelligence that has entered into our homes through TV shows like Small Wonder, Alexa or in form of gadgets helps child to understand that only one task can be done at a time. This is enabling a child to develop sense of visual and auditory perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translation between languages. Rational and systematic thinking is developed in children.
A school can support and develop S-E-A- intelligence in children through these activities:
1. Start the day with welcoming each child to the classroom. This need not be an elaborate procedure, but simply asking children “how are they feeling today?”
2. Give children at least two tasks per day to work with partners or in groups. This will help build cooperation and community in classroom. For a task, a teacher can make groups or partners and in other tasks allow the children to choose their partner or group. This helps to develop collaboration and choice-behavior in children.
3. Encourage children to talk, argue, and complement each other and ask questions in classroom. This promotes critical thinking, accommodating other’s view-points and tackling emotional upsets and delayed gratification.
4. Teach kids to manage conflicts with peer mediation. Peer mediation helps students to resolve problems in private, safe and confidential settings. This helps children to learn to respect the right to disagree, express real concerns, open up to different viewpoints, listen carefully, think about probable consequences and negotiate mutually for cooperative agreements.
5. Provide plenty of opportunities in structured and unstructured form to talk to one another during the day. When you see that your class is getting wiggly and distracted, it is good to take a five-minute chat break to reset the mood of the students.
6. Teach children to monitor their own progress. Each week, ask students to set their weekly goals (academic, social, emotional etc) and at end of the week, ask them if they met their goals or not. Help them to meet their goals or ask other students “how do you think the goal could have been met?” This would promote to strengthen interpersonal skills, accept suggestions from others, and develop divergent thinking patterns and self-monitoring.
7. Encourage students to express their feelings through art.
8. Classroom teaching can be supplemented with educational videos. Higher classes, power point presentations can be assigned to students. This will help students to build self-confidence for public talking and using technology effectively to communicate their thoughts.
A school that caters to and works in a direction to develop S-E-A intelligence in their wards, will be an admirable school. Such a school will not shun away from technology entering classrooms but at the same time will satisfy to the socio-emotional needs of the child. To have a mentally healthy society the need is to create balanced individuals who know how to handle their relationships and emotions in a technologically advancing world.