ParentingPep Talk

Why is a teacher’s EQ more important than their IQ?

For the love of teaching, learning & unlearning

Gradually over the years, there has been an increasing awareness on bringing about sensitivity in our lives, of being mindful, that ‘less is more’ and that we should focus more on the journey than the destination.

During several of our parent-child training workshops and sessions, one of the primary factors that we focus on is the emotional quotient of the parent and child. Studies have shown that over the years the IQ of the children have gone up – which is good, but the bad news is that the level of EQ is plummeting at an alarming rate.

In layman terms, the IQ is the learning that helps us build our intelligence – almost like building a ship. The EQ on the other hand, helps us deal with real life challenges, its ups and downs – basically it’s the lifeboat of the ship. Unfortunately, our present school curriculum and the increasing competition in the academic front compel parents to make it a high-stress environment for their kids.

According to the Industrial Psychiatry Journal – “Managing emotions in social contexts are clearly important for success in a variety of interpersonal as well as career-related domains. According to much recent academic work, a good deal or our successes and failures in life are not attributable to our cognitive abilities as measured by tests of IQ, but, rather are attributable to our abilities to form and maintain social relationships, portray ourselves positively, and manipulate how others perceive us. Those who lack such understanding may be said to lack Emotional Intelligence (EI), a type of intelligence that may be more important in reaching one’s goals than traditional intelligence as measured by tests of IQ.” 

There's more to life
There’s more to life than the four walls of the classroom

As parents, it is imperative that we understand the importance of EQ as much as we focus on the grades and percentages in our children. But that’s just one aspect of the upbringing of our children. As a parent, I firmly believe that even educational institutes such as schools, colleges and universities are partners in parenting because after all, the child spends a considerable time in school and goes through a myriad of experiences in his/ her formative years.

I recall, when I was in grade V & VI, I used to be bullied by my classmates and seniors and I seldom complained to my teachers for the fear of being bullied further. The teachers didn’t help either – and today I wish they did or at least would notice or take heed as to why a child is so quiet and shy and seldom speaks in class. At that time labelling a child ‘shy’ or ‘introvert’ was the easiest thing to do and teachers would seldom delve into the situation. It is not just about bullying, but various aspects of a child’s growing up years that a class teacher has to deal with sensitivity and awareness.

Thankfully today, there is an increasing awareness among parents and teachers to be sensitive and patient; yes it is easier said than done but the task is not impossible.

dr nita jagad
Dr. Nita M Jagad

Dr. Nita M Jagad, a senior paediatrician based out of Mumbai explains, “A teacher is the one who not only teaches effectively but also has the ability to make learning fun. She has the power to stimulate the quest for knowledge in a child.”

Being a strong supporter and a practitioner of EQ Skills, she explains – that the IQ only deals with the cognitive intelligence, whereas the EQ helps an individual to navigate the social world in an effective manner accomplishing his/ her goals. Also that, EQ does not necessarily rely on IQ, for example – being assertive, coping effectively with any adversary and handling demands and pressure.

Dr. Nita further adds, “If a teacher in spite of having a high IQ score lacks the basic EQ skills, the chances of initiating a strong emotional cognitive learning skill in the students will be low. This would eventually translate into the child learning incorrect lessons about emotions.”

Bhumika Chhadva
Bhumika Chhadva

As Bhumika Chhadva a Mumbai-based Primary & a Pre-Primary Teacher and a Baby-Bonding Specialist explains, “As a teacher and a psychology student who has studied EQ and IQ, with my experience I strongly feel having greater EQ is essential than a greater IQ. Having high levels of intelligence can surely make a teacher succeed in delivering a lesson. However, the emotional connectivity and the healthy relationship building with students doesn’t take place. A higher EQ rate equals to great levels of empathic nature and greater ability to motivate and inspire which in turn leads to indirectly an excellent personality development of students and truly creates a pleasure in learning. There is a “special” nurturing environment built up from the side of the teacher because she not just knows the concept to teach, but she also knows how to deliver the concept in the best possible way keeping in mind the special connectivity through emotions, which is present. Therefore, according to me, having higher EQ as teachers is crucial than just IQ because having knowledge about and learning to control our own emotions are surely going to reflect back the same thing in students.”

Paulomee Mehra with her sons
Paulomee Mehra with her sons

Mumbai-based Paulomee Mehra, the Founder of Studionuts and mother of two adds, “Not every student learns through the same methods, is motivated in the same manner, or acts in the same way in a classroom. So, it seems apparent that recognising differences in teaching and learning styles, as well as being able to connect with your students, is important to produce a beneficial outcome. Avoiding putting the students on the defensive may help open their minds to learning. If you empower your students to figure out on their own why something is necessary compared to you just telling them that it is, they may be more accepting of the task. It is hard being told what to do, so encourage self-management. If teachers are able to encourage their students to become more self-aware, they will be able to manage their educational responsibilities better — whether it is working in a group, overcoming exam anxiety, overcoming the stress of talking with an instructor or just the ability to make friends inside or outside the classroom. But, most importantly, increasing a teacher’s emotional intelligence can lead to a better learning environment for everyone. With two kids I have personally noticed the difference as both were in different schools.”

Ms Jyothi Reddy
Ms. Jyothi Reddy

Ms. Jyothi Reddy, Principal The Shri Ram Universal School, Hyderabad adds, “Our motto is that the journey should be more beautiful than the destination. We believe that our institute should be a ‘Happy School’ where right from the school gate everyone who enters the premises should be happy. We firmly believe that happiness leads to excellence and not excellence leads to happiness. The child should enjoy the warmth when they’re on the campus, where she can lead a stress-free school life without fear. Our main focus is on child-centric education – the child should be happy on the campus.

At the start of every academic year at The Shri Ram Universal School (TSUS), Hyderabad, the students along with the teachers frame an ‘Essential Agreement’ – that helps instil self-discipline amongst the students. Since the child feels a part of this agreement, he/ she automatically evolves into a responsible individual. The school ensures that the student is the focus while the teacher is the facilitator.

“The school ensures that the learning process ignites curiosity in the child and nurtures the creativity in him/ her through many platforms. We offer ‘Wonder Time’, ‘Discovery Hour’, research referral and role-play activities. The child is acknowledged as an individual respecting his space and freedom with a focus on inculcating self-discipline rather than imposing rules. Then the child opens up and grows as a confident adult for the only reason that his/ her voice is heard and had a choice of expression. The child is the focus who explores, experiments, experiences and enjoys at every level at TSUS while the teacher is the facilitator and the best buddy for the child on the campus,” explains Ms. Jyothi Reddy.

Fill a mundane school day with Discovery Time and Wonder Hour

She concludes by saying, “Only teachers who are trained/ B.Ed qualified are selected at The Shri Ram Universal School. There is a strict protocol and a screening process of choosing only the very best where teaching should be a choice for them and not a chance. The main focus of the school is that the teacher should bond with the students and hence we look at high EQ levels of our teachers rather than the IQ. We look at a spark in the eyes of the teachers who step out of their comfort zones to make the learning process fun for the children.”

The next time you’re planning to pick a school for your child, you now know what parameters you should be looking out for; so make sure Emotional Quotient skills amongst the teachers and the staff tops the list.

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Child focused education
A happy school is where the child is the focus

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Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

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