Wednesday, 20 October, 2021
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Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Language Classroom

Amrita Alam Sandhy

Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Language Classroom

Learning a language is fundamentally about what you do with yourself in order to learn and develop yourself. Yes, learning a new language entails more than just learning new words/sounds, grammatical rules, and regulations. Those who achieve high levels of proficiency have figured this out and understand that language learning is a process that begins from the inside out. It's all about the depth and development of your inner self. Emotional Intelligence allows you to more easily feel all of this, allowing your language learning abilities and capabilities to grow.

Emotional intelligence is becoming more widely recognised as an essential aspect that can affect not only the quality of our lives but also our chances of success in any endeavour. This is maybe truer in the field of language learning than in many others. This is based on the fact that the language we use is so strongly associated with who we are and who we strive to be.

Emotional intelligence influences how we view our lives and how we deal with what happens to us. People with higher emotional intelligence (EQ/EI) are typically better able to:

•             be at ease with themselves - they accept themselves more quickly and thus are more relaxed in general.

•             express their feelings – since they accept themselves, they are not afraid to show who they are, not just what they think.

•             deal with negative emotions such as fear, worry, guilt, shame, and embarrassment, to name a few – because they don't hide the less pleasant aspects of themselves, they can better understand others.

•             read nonverbal communication – they are more aware of what other people are saying and thus have a better understanding of what is being said.

•             balance their feelings with their intellect – as they accept their feelings more, their communication becomes more balanced.

•             act out of desire rather than duty, guilt, force, or obligation – they are less susceptible to forces that can conceal what they truly desire.

•             be self-sufficient and independent – they can work more independently without seeking advice, approval, or confirmation from others.

•             be intrinsically motivated – they recognise and accept their motivators more readily.

•             avoid distractions from their purpose such as power, wealth, status, fame, or approval – they tend to be more focused on what they do.

•             be emotionally resilient and not see failure as the end of what they are doing – as they accept that life is a journey, they are less easily put off when problems arise.

It doesn't take much thought to realise that any of these personality factors can influence language learning. This will be evident to readers who understand that learning a language entails far more than memorising words and grammar rules. To be a successful language learner, you don't need a high EI, but the higher it is, the more likely you are to find methods that work for you. Those with a low EI are more likely to be resistant to trying new methods of learning. Instead, when everything appears to be a huge battle, they are more prone to give up on themselves.

As EI is concerned with recognising and evaluating behavioural patterns, it is important for both individual and organisational growth. It applies to the institution, teachers, and students in the educational setting by boosting academic performance while lowering anxiety and bad feelings during the learning process.

At the institutional level, the focus is on creating an environment that encourages students to improve their EI. Much of this is establishing a sense of self-identity, safety, and worth.

Institutions and instructors are accountable in this way for fostering:

Attachment- refers to a feeling of belonging to a school or university.

Reassurance - That you are not alone in your struggles.

Bonding - Assisting in the development of friendships.

Induction - Informing learners about the resources accessible to them.

Study skills, time management, and stress reduction training are all available.

Balance academic learning with physical and social activity is what holism is all about.

All of the above apply in the language classroom, and the teacher is responsible for them, but there are extra considerations for emotional literacy (the capacity to communicate emotions) in L2, as well as the need for appropriate group dynamics and student interaction. Interrelationships among learners were not necessary in the days of rote learning and the teacher-centred classroom, but in communicative language teaching, where pair and group work are the norm, support and cooperation between learners is essential.

However, teenage students, in particular, are often hesitant to cooperate, often due to repressed fear, anxiety, and anger rather than linguistic inability, and are unlikely to learn much in a student-centred classroom. As a result, the teacher must concentrate on areas of language used to express emotions, as well as classroom techniques that will reduce tension and produce better group dynamics.

Techniques for teaching to establish EI in the classroom

EI is cultivated in the classroom through activities that encourage the exchange of ideas and conversation. Techniques that are already part of the teacher's confidence-building arsenal are highlighted:

Icebreakers, warmers, and mingle activities assist students get to know one another and increase interest in lessons if they are related to the topic.

Brainstorming and discussion promote the exchange of ideas and knowledge.

Some students find it easier to reveal themselves through a fictitious role. Role-playing and simulations, on the other hand, should be carefully planned and related to the real world. Guided fantasy and drama techniques can help learners transition into their roles.

Working in a group fosters cooperation. Because high EI students tend to work together, group composition should be changed frequently, but EI can also be learned by example. Tasks should be designed in such a way that all members must contribute and achieve the same result. Activities such as collaborative reading and writing, as well as group speaking, may be used.

Work on a project. Students are frequently competitive. Completing projects, both assessed and unassessed, as a group encourages cooperation.

Giving performance feedback and making it clear what is expected. Feedback should be specific, objective, and focused on a performance aspect that the student can change.

Obtaining feedback on tasks and how students felt while performing them.

Continuous assessment allows all positive aspects of a student's performance, including their contribution to the group, to be assessed and rewarded.

Language Facilitators are encouraged to adapt materials to meet the needs of their students. Teachers must adapt materials to allow students to learn about each other's interests, habits, preferences, and personalities in order to stimulate discussion and strengthen intra-group relationships to speed up the language learning success.

Developing EQ and providing good communicative language instruction go hand in hand, but the group dynamics required for meaningful interaction in the classroom do not happen by themselves; they must be fostered through techniques that build confidence, foster a positive classroom environment, and encourage cooperation because it inspires learners to talk about themselves and their feelings while also making language use relevant, fascinating, and memorable.

 

The writer is a CELTA qualified ESL Trainer