Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

Return to Home Page

List of Articles by Jack Falt

Book Review by Jack Falt

Schilling, Dianne, 50 Activities for Teaching Emotional Intelligence: The Best from Innerchoice Publishing, Level III: High School, Torrence, CA: Innerchoice Publishing, 
1999, ISBN - 156499-037-0, 136 pp.

This is third in a series of books for teachers. Level I is aimed at Grades 1-5, and Level II is aimed at Grades 6-8. This Level III book is for Grades 9-12. t is a collection of activities that have been published by Innerchoice Press over a number of years. These resources are meant for classroom teachers who can integrate the exercises into their curriculum. Some schools may have the luxury of setting aside the time for teaching emotional intelligence skills, but the norm is that they are taught on a haphazard basis if at all. A quote is given from Daniel Goleman to the effect that the various problems society is having with its teens is that the remediation comes too late. Some students are already programmed to respond in specific ways. All is not lost however as reeducation even at the high school level can bring about major change in behaviour.

The few books I have read on emotional intelligence each seem to have a different set of factors that are addressed. This seems to be mainly different ways of organizing the concepts. In this book they are: self-awareness, managing feelings, decision making, managing stress, personal responsibility, self-concept, empathy, communication, group dynamics, and conflict resolution.

The book begins with an overview of emotional intelligence and why having these skills are important to students. There are some guidelines for the classroom teach on how to conduct the individual or dyad sessions and the circle sessions. Many teachers use group activities as a way to evaluate their students in specific subjects and these circle session skills would be very useful to the students. The subject teacher could easily use the circle sessions in the book as a way to train the students to be more effective in their group work.

The exercises themselves are organized according to the ten concepts. For each concept there are three individual or dyad exercises and two circle session. The individual exercises may consist of a visualization and them writing down reactions. Other exercises may have a dyad reacting to one another. A series of followup discussion questions are given for the teacher to debrief the students on their experience. For some of these exercises there are worksheets teachers have permission to reproduce. For the circle sessions there are specific topics with additional topics given for the teacher or students to choose from. There are also questions for the teacher to use to help the students understand their circle experience.

The exercises are relatively short so that they can be part of a period with still enough time for regular instruction to take place. Even the circle sessions take a half hour at the most. These exercises could be part of social studies, health or career classes.

Emotional intelligence has always been part of the curriculum but may have been given in rather hit or miss manner. Life itself is the teacher of EQ skills. But like any other subject, presenting the concepts in a coherent way will increase the likelihood of the lessons being learned and integrated in behaviour. Golemanís thesis is that EQ is much more important than IQ for the success of the individual. That would seem to suggest that schools should emphasise EQ skills at least as much as IQ skills instead of leaving it up to chance. For the teacher who is interested in this aspect of students lives, this is a very worthwhile book. The book would also be valuable for counsellors to have as a resource for those times when you are trying to help the student understand these concepts and their important to his or her life.

Return to Home Page

List of Articles by Jack Falt