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ইংৰাজী প্ৰবন্ধ, Emotional Literacy : Its need in early education stages, Ms. Krishna Sonowal,৪ৰ্থ বছৰ ২য় সংখ্যা,

Emotional Literacy : Its need in early education stages

        The term ‘Emotional Literacy’ is often used synonymously with ‘Emotional Intelligence (E.I.) as they both refer to the ability to recognize , understand , manoeuvre and appropriately express emotions. It suggests a person’s ability to communicate their emotions verbally and read them in others. The term ‘Emotional Intelligence’ was coined by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer to denote a person’s ability to identify and articulate feelings. To be emotionally literate is crucial for developing one’s mental health and also physical well-being , as both are inextricably connected.
The five components of Emotional literacy are a) Self-awareness, b) Self-regulation, c) Intrinsic motivation, d) Empathy and e) Social skills. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and comprehend one's own emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others. Self -regulation is the efficiency to control and redirect destructive impulses and to think before taking action. Intrinsic motivation is the inner vision of what is worth doing despite odds . Empathy is the quality to understand the emotional anatomy of other people. It is a skill to treat people according to their emotional reactions. Social skill is the proficiency in managing relationships and network on the ground of both commonness and differences.
When it comes to academic performance, research has revealed emotional intelligence is almost as important as cognitive intelligence. This is because emotionally literate or intelligent children are better equipped to deal with destructive emotions that might disrupt learning. Emotional literacy can give a child an edge in academics as they both are correlated . It also helps children to build strong bonds with peers and teachers. Hence, a good interpersonal relationship with others enhances their active participation in group works; they don’t hesitate to seek help when needed and to ask for extra guidance from teachers. These enable them to focus on their studies brushing off any negative emotions and conquering various distractions like peer-pressure, unhealthy competition, examination-stress, boredom, etc. Students with a high EI are likely to have lower levels of anxiety as they feel healthy and content, and are likely to be more socially involved.
Healthy self-expression of emotions, conflict-resolution and empathy are very crucial for one’s emotional wellbeing. Children often learn various aspects of emotional literacy from their own family dynamics and surrounding communities.
Although some children develop such traits and skills naturally by casual interactions with others throughout their childhood, this may not be the case for many. So, they need to be taught emotional literacy explicitly through
classroom transaction, modeling and role playing. Social and Emotional Learning ( SEL ) programs help children to manage themselves better by comprehending their emotional dimension and practising empathy. Teachers can promote and uplift the children’s social and mental health in many ways. The teachers should emphasize on two of the most important practices during intentional teaching — i) building trusting and friendly relationships and ii) conducting mindfulness-boosting activities. Young children should be given a warm and trusting environment at classroom as they develop and learn better only in context of relationships and conversations. A wholesome relationship between a teacher and a student can optimize the learning zeal in the latter making them more willing and active during class. Warmth, affection, positive- reinforcement , kindness, care, trust, respect — these are to be practised even when a child is misbehaving. Thus, trust is built. Here are some ways to foster emotional literacy in children —
Teach self-expression and self-regulation :- They are to be taught that there is no feeling that is inherently bad, what matters is how we manage those diverse feelings, such as anger, fear, etc. They should express verbally what they feel and get rid of such troubling emotions. Children with this emotional regulation skill are able to calmly resist inappropriate behaviour like yelling and hitting.
Teach mindful awareness :- Mindfulness is like meditation — it keeps the mind anchored in the present moment. Relaxation of body and mind is important to re-focus on important things. Undergoing such practices can improve behavioral control in children.
Smile and greet :- Display a pleasant facial expression and greet every student by their names. This establishes a cordial connection instantly and they feel at ease.
Have a soothing voice :- A teacher who speaks with soft and relaxed tone, and a normal pitch can calm a disturbed child.
Touch heals :- Give appropriate touches when necessary, such as pat on the back, brief hugs, handshake etc. It develops trust in children.
Make friends :- A teacher who becomes a friend to her student is the prime achievement. Talk to children by bending down to their eye-level and making eye-contact.
Reward them a nice complement :- Encourage children with loving and inspiring comments, it boosts their self-esteem.
Show respect :- Showing respect is a key to build any healthy relationship. It makes them become aware of their competencies and to feel confident. Teachers should listen to them with whole-heartedness. Converse openly with children regularly.
Read stories to them :- Reading and discussing children’s books to students is an excellent way to make children identify different emotions and to develop empathy. When children are introduced the ways to understand, accept and manage their feelings by discussing story-characters experiencing varied emotions, the benefits are invaluable.
Do not generalize :- The teachers should avoid generalization, comparison and partiality among the students at any cost. Children learn by observing and imitating other people.
The Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) approach is to be made prominent in our schools to promote optimal wellbeing in learners. 

Ms. Krishna Sonowal

Asstt. Teacher (Eng) 
Tatibama Anchalik High School
Educational Block - Rani
Kamrup, Assam

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