skip to Main Content

Emotional Intelligence (EI) (Part 1)

Can you imagine a world in which you could not understand when a friend was feeling sad, or when a co-worker was angry, or when one of your students was overwhelmed?

A classroom in which you are unaware of your own emotions or those of your students would be a difficult place.  That is the power of emotional intelligence.

What is EI? 

EI/EQ refers to the ability to perceive, evaluate, and manage emotions. It involves being able to sense, understand, and effectively use the power of emotions as a source of energy, information, connection, and influence. EI/EQ is a critical piece of the puzzle to successfully manage stress and avoid burnout.

Why does EI matter? 

People with EI are more resilient, more in tune to sensing wellbeing, more effective at leading and inspiring others, and more adept at managing relationships. In fact, research states that EI is responsible for almost 60% of job performance because 90% of top performers have high EQ (Goleman, 1995).

How does EI enhance teaching?

Emotionally intelligent teachers create effective learning environments.  They are able to motivate their students by understanding their behavioral and psychological well-being.  Such teachers are sensitive towards their students’ disruptive behaviors, are attune to their academic performance, and are adept at managing relationships.

Characteristics associated with EI include: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and relationship management. Don’t we all strive for productive learning environments for our students? We can do so by harnessing EI.

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”  Daniel Goleman

Now that we firmly understand how EI affects our classrooms, we will explore together each component in the following blogs starting with self-awareness next week.


Goleman, D.  (1995).  Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ.  Bantam Books.

Robin LaBarbera

Robin LaBarbera is an experienced educator, researcher, author, and international speaker. Dr. LaBarbera is the Founder and President of LaBarbera Learning Solutions, a consulting firm
focused on empowering leaders and their teams to harness the power of emotional intelligence to maximize personal and professional success. Before devoting her work fulltime to LaBarbera Learning Solutions, Dr. LaBarbera served for over 15 years as a professor of special education, where she earned the esteemed title of Faculty Emerita from Biola University, and she authored the textbook Educating Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Partnering with Families for Positive Outcomes. Robin is a lifelong learner, with two Bachelor’s Degrees, two Master’s Degrees, and two Doctoral Degrees (a PhD and a DSW). She is an enthusiastic cyclist, runner, and Gigi to two grandchildren.

Back To Top
×Close search