Emotional Literacy

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Introduction
The term emotional intelligence came into common usage following the success in the 1990s of Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence; why it can matter more than IQ. Goleman pointed out that ‘success’ in life depends not only on our IQ as measured by our literacy and numeracy skills but, more importantly, on how well we know our own emotional make-up, manage our emotional responses and react to the emotional responses of others.

Goleman’s emotional intelligence speaks to the topical issue today; the issue of emotional literacy.

Understanding emotional literacy is the key to help the young child develop self-esteem, self-control and so become socially and educationally successful. The National Early Childhood Care and Education Curriculum Guide wellness strand suggest that an environment need to be created which nurture children’s emotional well-being. It also states that children need to develop emotional competence which will help them to deal with their feelings appropriately.

Emotional literacy is the ability to identify, understand, and to respond to emotions in oneself and others in a healthy manner.

What it means to be emotionally literate:
To be emotionally literate one has to develop a complex set of attitudes and skills. Skills can be learned and attitudes can be adopted if the environment the individual is in values and nurtures emotional literacy. Component skills that make up emotional literacy include: * Ability to reflect on one’s own emotions

* Self-knowledge (understanding the reasons for one’s actions). * Understanding of consequences
* Self-control
* Healthy self-image (feeling good about oneself, but also being able to acknowledge aspects of oneself that need developing). * Ability to empathise with others.
* Understanding of the way others behave as they do.
* Understanding how effective relationships are forged and sustained. * Ability to discuss feelings and emotions with others.
* Recognition and acceptance of differences and different points of view. * Recognition of the complexity of emotions.

Importance of Emotional Literacy:
Being emotionally literate enables one to make wiser decisions, develops better self and social awareness, stronger interpersonal relationships, and higher academic achievements. Science has noted that brain injuries preventing individuals from processing emotional information can lead directly to antisocial behaviors and unreliable decision-making.

Emotional Literacy can act as a preventive tool to treat children against the serious danger they face in today’s society, such as, gang and drug issues etc. It can also be a step towards turning an anxiety-dominated society into one of hope and salvation.

Other Reasons of the Importance of Emotional Literacy include: * Emotional development in young children is important for their attainment as well as their well-being and success in all areas of development. * Targeting social and emotional development in young children are more likely to cause them to settle into their early years setting, * To grow to develop confidence and become cooperative

* To learn to behave appropriately in varied situations.
* To strengthen healthy and balanced relationships.
* To tolerate frustration better.
* To be a healthy human being who is less lonely, less impulsive, more focused, and have greater academic achievement.

Emotional Literacy contributes to setting the scene for Positive Behaviour in the Early Years Over the years we have seen a great deal of emphasis being placed on the cognitive and physical aspects of childhood development. Within recent times, more attention has been focused on the emotional developmental cycles of children. The impact of a child’s relative emotional maturity or immaturity on their behaviour, performance and personal happiness is finally being recognised....
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