This week we take a closer look at the concept of Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, as part of the trio of key tenets of Roycemore’s Portrait of a Graduate.

First popularized by Daniel Goleman, internationally renowned psychologist and author, emotional intelligence has been identified as an important ability that is critical to reaching the highest levels of success in a variety of occupations. In fact, it has been suggested that it is twice as important as technical skills. EQ involves social perceptiveness and awareness of one’s own and others’ reactions, being cooperative and pleasant to work with, the ability to connect with others and be sensitive to their needs and feelings, and the ability to regulate one’s own emotions.

With Roycemore’s emphasis on teaching leadership skills to students at all levels through the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, we recognize that a critical leadership skill is the ability to manage one’s emotions and recognize the emotions of others. Sadly, in recent years there has been a lack of such skills being modeled in our society. Without the intentional cultivation and training of EQ at a young age, our country runs the risk of a future characterized by a lack of diplomacy that could lead to a zero-sum game in which our entire world is worse off.

Our emphasis on EQ aligns with Roycemore’s core values of respect, compassion, integrity and community. In our thinking about EQ in the Portrait of a Graduate, we have focused on five aspects:

  1. Resilience: We create an environment that embraces failure as an important part of the learning process. We create situations for students to learn how to be flexible and adaptable. Students are given opportunities to develop a growth mindset by learning how to give and receive feedback- both positive and negative. Our mindfulness program helps students practice how to calm their minds and refocus, a skill they can draw upon when encountering stressful situations.
  2. Independence: Students learn self-advocacy. They get to know themselves as learners with their individual strengths and areas of challenge. They also gain experience in learning how to meet deadlines, fulfill obligations and build confidence from others that they can be relied upon as a friend and classmate.
  3. Perseverance: Roycemore students develop the confidence to tackle difficult problems or questions and to stick with it even if the solution is not readily apparent. Perseverance is critical to addressing challenging problems, whether they are one’s own difficulties, or reaching aspirational goals as a community or country. President John F. Kennedy was referring to perseverance when he spoke about the goal to put a man on the moon. As he said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone.”
  4. Interpersonal Skills: Collaboration is encouraged and students learn how to be a good team member. They develop critical feedback skills that allow them to disagree with and be critical of one another’s opinions or work, and still solve problems together. Students also learn the art of persuasion and negotiation while also being honest and ethical.
  5. Empathy: Roycemore’s core value of compassion is grounded in empathy – the ability to feel as others’ feel. Learning to see things from someone else’s perspective and validate their feelings, even if different from their own, is a skill that can be intentionally cultivated. Additionally, with a diverse student body, students have opportunities daily to hear perspectives from classmates that might be quite different from their own and to value the lived experiences that are informed by diverse cultures, religions, races and economic backgrounds.

Roycemore’s commitment to cultivating EQ equally with Scholarship and Citizenship in our Portrait of a Graduate sets our school apart from many other educational programs. Recognizing that EQ is one of the most important people skills that separates average from exceptional performance among individuals, our emphasis on EQ will be embedded in our program throughout the student experience rather than as a separate “character program” or a one-off class.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will share examples of the various components of Scholarship, Citizenship, and Emotional Intelligence and how they are present in Roycemore’s program beginning in pre-kindergarten and extending through to graduation. In the year ahead, Roycemore will be revisiting our mission and vision, commence strategic planning, and engage in school-wide curriculum review, all in preparation for the school’s self-study that is a precursor to Roycemore’s accreditation review by ISACS, a seven-year cycle.

Next year we will begin “Year 1” of the cycle. Our Portrait of a Graduate will serve as an inspiring framework for these activities. There will be many opportunities for community engagement, including feedback through surveys and strategic planning. We hope you will join us in this important work.