Study It – A Series on How We Learn

Study It – A Series on How We Learn

Part I: Emotional intelligence

The term Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is commonly recognised as a measure of academic or cognitive ability. In 1995, author Daniel Goleman introduced a novel term known as emotional intelligence (EQ)1, which identified the social characteristics which we utilise when dealing with situations and other people.

How does understanding emotions impact learning? Studies have shown that the area of the brain which handles emotions is interwoven with the area that handles cognitive learning. As a result, when students learn the principles of emotional intelligence, disruptions and destructive behaviours decline, engagement increases and the learning environment and experience are more conducive to high performance.2 These observations also hold true in the work place.

Two studies3 which reviewed the academic performance of over 590,000 students enrolled in social and emotional learning (SEL) school programmes, showed an improvement of between 11 and 17 percentile points on achievement tests.

Syllabuses developed by the Caribbean Examinations Council are structured to cultivate the characteristics of emotional intelligence through content and skills engaged. Abilities required for individual study and interaction in the classroom such as monitoring and evaluation, working with others, making ethical choices, critical thinking, understanding consequences and taking corrective action, can all help to further improve emotional intelligence.

The five elements4 which Goleman determined to be components of EQ are:

  1. Self-awareness: accurately assessing one’s feelings, interests, values, and strengths; maintaining a well-grounded sense of self-confidence;
  2. Self-management: regulating one’s emotions to handle stress, controlling impulses, and persevering in addressing challenges; expressing emotions appropriately; and setting and monitoring progress toward personal and academic goals;
  3. Social awareness: being able to take the perspective of and empathise with others; recognising and appreciating individual and group similarities and differences; and recognising and making best use of family, school, and community resources;
  4. Relationship skills: establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; resisting inappropriate social pressure; preventing, managing, and resolving interpersonal conflict; and seeking help when needed; and
  5. Responsible decision making: making decisions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate social norms, respect for others, and likely consequences of various actions; applying decision-making skills to academic and social situations; and contributing to the well-being of one’s school and community.

Now that you know what emotional intelligence is all about, take a test to determine your EQ level. Click here. The creators of this test will provide your results and recommend ways to manage your emotions and how you relate to others.

Read >> Study It – A Series on How We Learn. PART II – Multiple Intelligences


  1. Goleman, D. Retrieved from
  2. Goleman, D. Retrieved from
  3. Payton J., Weissberg R. P., Durlak J. A., Dymnicki A. B., Taylor R. D., Schellinger K. B., et al. (2008). The Positive Impact of Social and Emotional Learning for Kindergarten to Eighth-Grade Students: Findings from Three Scientific Reviews. Chicago, IL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Retrieved from

Durlak J., Weissberg R., Dyminicki A., Taylor R., Schellinger K. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ Social and emotional learning: a meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Dev. 82, 405–432. 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x. Retrieved from

  1. Payton, J., Weissberg, R.P., Durlak, J.A., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., Schellinger, K.B., & Pachan, M. (2008). The Positive Impact of Social and Emotional Learning for Kindergarten to Eighth-Grade Students. Retrieved from