Nurturing Empathy: International Schools Develop High EQ Students
To succeed in the modern world, one does not just need to possess high intelligence in terms of knowledge, practical skills, critical thinking or problem-solving. There is another facet of intelligence, emotional intelligence, that is often overlooked but equally crucial.
What is EQ and Why It Matters?
Emotional intelligence or EQ is defined as “the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to perceive, interpret and manage emotions appropriately. Individuals with high EQ are able to utilize their emotions to guide thinking and behavior, and adapt it to different environments and situations. They have higher empathy and social skills, leading them to be well-liked, respected and appreciated.
According to multiple studies possession of high emotional quotient (EQ) is associated with career success, entrepreneurial potential, leadership talent, physical and mental health, relationship satisfaction, and happiness. International schools are able to help students cultivate a higher EQ due to their many unique and exceptional features such as:
Abundance of Social Activities
International schools have a wide-range of extracurricular activities and unique programs. These activities give students ample opportunity to have significant meaningful social interactions with their fellow students as well teachers. Whether it’s physical activities or artistic clubs, students learn to regulate their emotions appropriately in a group setting.
For example, Shattuck-St.Mary’s Forest City International School has an exceptional theatre arts program where students can learn to fully express themselves verbally and physically and also engage in perspective taking by embodying another character. Meanwhile, City Harbour International School’s Outward Bound School program promotes teamwork within their students when they undertake intense outdoor activities such as rafting, rock climbing and sailing, mountaineering.
Open and Engaging Classrooms
While more traditional schools conduct classes with rote memorization and direct lectures, international schools appreciate lively discussions, presentations and engaging classroom activities. The ability of students to express their thoughts and opinions are encouraged rather than stiffed.
International school teachers guide their students to articulate themselves clearly and efficiently. Thus, international school students gain effective communication skills and self confidence, essential factors for building relationships.
Many international schools are truly international in that they have a hugely diverse student body and faculty. With students and faculty hailing from all corners of the world, students learn to appreciate the diversity of cultures, and religions.
This diversity fosters more empathy within students as they are exposed to lifestyles and thoughts vastly different from their own. Thus, students are able to utilize perspective taking and adjust their behavior to different individuals and context.
One of the key aspects of emotional intelligence is self-regulation, the ability to monitor and control our own impulses and behaviors. International schools value independence and seek to foster it by empowering students to make their own choices. In some cases, students even have the power to choose what to study and activities to partake in. Hence, they learn discipline, time management skills and vital decision making abilities. In addition, a number of international schools have boarding programs where students gain even more opportunities to become strong, independent individuals.