Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Getting a grip

I've been thinking about Teacher Effectiveness Training and found this interesting article in the New Yorker, "The Repressive Politics of Emotional Intelligence," by Merve Emre. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/04/19/the-repressive-politics-of-emotional-intelligence The article points out the 25th Anniversary of the very influential book by Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, that promoted the idea that we are each responsible for our own emotions and the effective management of them to thereby fit into the prevailing culture and economy. It suggests that those who manage to control their emotions manage to get ahead. Goleman's book starts with a quote from Aristotle that avoided an important part. I've highlighted in bold the important point that Goleman skips. 

Anybody can become angry-that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way—that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.

Are we to be stoic and repressed for the sake of the smooth running of things? Or would it be best that we recognize that emotions are not be be repressed but utilized to bring change and betterment, as well as a better and more cohesive understanding of each other? Can we offer training not in the control of emotions, not to squelch but to empower?

Emotional intelligence sounds like a wonderful term, a great catchphrase recognizing that how we feel is an important aspect of maintaining a grip on things, at both individual and collective levels. But emotions are best not kept in all bollixed up, but let out where they can be felt by others. We either set up a framework of active listening (one of the important concepts in Teacher Effectiveness Training) or we face times like we face now, with police on one side with their tasers and guns, and justifiably angry protesters on the other. We'd best get down to it, listen to each other get to know one another and develop empathy. And that should be what happens in school long before emotions hit the streets.

True emotional intelligence does not avoid sharing what we feel, nor does it disparage or marginalize what others are feeling. 

Make, fix and create...  assist others in learning likewise.

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