New York Times asks "Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?"

We say YES!

On September 11th, New York Times Magazine published a story, "Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?" With gusto, our WINGS Team squawked "Heck yeah!"

Throughout the article, author Jennifer Kahn highlights several WINGS friends including Marc Brackett (conducted research on WINGS in 2006), George Lucas's Edutopia Foundation (featured WINGS as a "school that works" in 2010), the Center for Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and Peter Salovey, President of Yale University and pioneer researcher of social and emotional learning. We're so pleased to see our colleague's names in bright lights, and thrilled by the attention they're garnering for our field.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves:

"Something we now know, from doing dozens of studies, is that emotions can either enhance or hinder your ability to learn," says Brackett, a long-time supporter of WINGS and senior research scientist in psychology at Yale University.

"For children," Brackett states, "school is an emotional caldron: a constant stream of academic and social challenges that can generate feelings ranging from loneliness to euphoria. Educators and parents have long assumed that a child's ability to cope with such stresses is either innate — a matter of temperament — or else acquired ‘along the way,' in the rough and tumble of ordinary interaction. But in practice, many children never develop those crucial skills. It's like saying that a child doesn't need to study English because she talks with her parents at home. Emotional skills are the same. A teacher might say, ‘Calm down!' — but how exactly do you calm down when you're feeling anxious? Where do you learn the skills to manage those feelings?'

"In the years since, a number of studies have supported this view. So-called noncognitive skills — attributes like self-restraint, persistence and self-awareness — might actually be better predictors of a person's life trajectory than standard academic measures."

"So far, however, few studies have been done on which skills are actually acquired through S.E.L., and even fewer have included the kind of rigorous, controlled trials needed to prove that acquiring a specific skill produces a specific outcome over the long term."

Hear hear! As we all move forward with advancing SEL and bringing attention to the importance of Emotional Intelligence, WINGS is proud to be one of the few completing the rigorous control trial study* mentioned above by Marc Brackett. We can't wait to prove to our peers and the world that WINGS and SEL produce specific outcomes over the long term.

*WINGS just completed Year 1 of our 4-year randomized control trial study, performed by a group of researchers from UVA and the College of Charleston.




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