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Life skills trump intelligence; the importance of teaching emotional intelligence in school

Nobody really knows which (hard) skills are needed in 10 years from today. We do know, however, that soft skills are much more important. They provide our children with the right resources to adapt to whatever the situation is calling for.

That’s why the WHO identified the following core cross-cultural life skills:

📍 Problem Solving

📍 Decision Making

📍 Creative thinking

📍 Critical thinking

📍 Self Awareness

📍 Empathy

📍 Interpersonal relationships

📍 Good communication

📍 Management of stress

📍 Management of emotions

Unfortunately, though, we still have a huge focus on our performance culture in Switzerland today. Indeed, many preschoolers can do more today than they did twenty years ago. Yet, they can hardly wait for their turn to talk or for something to happen. And if this is not the case, they respond with outbursts of anger. So why are children today less emotionally competent? Often the focus is on preparing for school through early reading and arithmetic, while emotional and social development is neglected. This trend is fatal. Research shows with great clarity: school, professional and life success do not primarily depend on a high intelligence quotient, but also on the extent of emotional and social competence. "Dealing with one's own feelings, the ability to control oneself and to deal with conflicts are essential factors that have an impact on the success of a child in school and influence their life in many ways. That is why children who learn at an early age to control themselves, to endure disappointments and to overcome obstacles, perform better in school and are also more successful later " (Dr. Margrit Stamm, 2016).

It remains questionable whether teachers and parents really do justice to their roles in developing EI in today’s children. Check out this super interesting article and learn the opinion on this topic of three experts, namely educational scientist Margrit Stamm, remedial teacher Ruth Fritschi and Peter Müller, head of the school psychological service.


But still, there is hope! Already a few schools in Switzerland made the school subject “Happiness” part of their curriculum. Satisfaction and life skills are the goal of this new school subject. This includes finding meaning, feeling of security, social relationships, self-determined action, self-acceptance, coping with the environment and personal development. If you want to get a sneak peak of a happiness lesson, check out this article.

And if you as a parent want to contribute to strengthen your child’s emotional intelligence as well, why not start practicing these five steps to emotion coaching:

Let’s combat this lack of frustration tolerance in today’s society, spread the knowledge of EI around us, and make sure our children have the emotional intelligence needed to be successful in life.

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