Blog: The Educated Reporter

Should Schools Nurture Students’ Emotional Intelligence?

The New York Times Magazine’s annual education issue is out, and as always there’s a healthy mix of policy, practice, real-world realities for schools and students, deep dives, and memorable profiles.I imagine Carlo Rotella’s lead story on No Child Left Untableted will get generate quite a bit of response in the classroom technology debate.But I was just as interested in Jennifer Kahn’s piece on the attempt to cultivate students’ social-emotional intelligence as a means of improving not only their academic performance but their overall wellbeing.

As Kahn points out, social-emotional learning is an evolving field, and one that’s still being defined. She quotes psychologist David Caruso, who urges caution among those who want it added “right now” to the Common Core State Standards. Caruso says that “before we institutionalize this, we’d better be sure it makes a difference in the long run.”

Kahn also notes that some of the trademarked programs geared to this newer approach are being adopted by districts as a means of demonstrating that they’re taking bullying seriously (whether it’s going to make a meaningful impact is a separate issue). Another recent New York Times story, about a Florida girl who jumped to her death apparently after more than a year of intense cyber-bullying by her peers, is a difficult — but important — read. If you are a parent and haven’t checked the apps on your kid’s phone lately, you’re going to want to go do it — right now.