Were you ever in classes online and unable/unsure/insecure to ask questions? Or do you feel anxious while unmuting yourself and raising points? This hesitant behaviour is linked to your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (E.I.) is about recognizing, comprehending, and managing your emotions. If you tend to hide your feelings, you might be needing to hone your emotional intelligence. And let me tell you, it is never too early or too late to become an E.I. Master.
How can you develop Emotional Intelligence in the era of Digital Learning?
The use of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) for homework affects students' emotional intelligence. For example, suppose your child has to write a short essay. If your child does it alone, it will take about 2 hours. This task requires many skills, such as critical thinking, managing self-doubt, possibly consulting with others, creativity, writing, and research skills. Emotional intelligence includes skills like processing information, self-awareness, time management, and self-regulation. Using A.I. can help with time management, but it won't help with other aspects. And here is where children (and some adults too) can get a bit lost in using A.I. - saving time is much more important than doing wholesome work. Thus, your child can simply use AI, copy and paste and have zero significant learning just because he or she wants to save time to go play with his/her toys. All the skills that could be developed, are not.
In this digital era, it's crucial to hone E.I. and here are some helpful ways to do it:
Start practising critical thinking
It is one of the best ways to develop emotional intelligence since one can do it by oneself. In the case of homework or a friend's conundrum in class, critically analyzing the situation allows children to see many aspects of it. Adults (parents, guardians or teachers) can help navigate the child on how to think critically, presenting the child with questions that would allow them to dive deep into the situation while creating solutions.
Communication with others
It is important for students to effectively communicate in their classrooms whether it is online or offline. A student must overcome the fear of judgement and be expressive in a classroom, and we all know we have been there. Communication with classmates, teachers, siblings, friends and even parents will promote E.I. development and it can lead to healthy discussions, feedback and a better understanding of concepts. A.I. can be used to mock these conversations but it will never replace them, So why not allow/teach your child to do both?
Thrive for life-long learning
Digital tools make learning easier and faster, and we all know how much children love to watch YouTube to see what's new and trendy out there. But what about learning crafts? Searching for a cool science experiment, or even to get ideas for a given class project? It is all fun and games to use digital tools for entertainment, but why not for some Edutainment? Children should discover the most effective ways to blend available tools, without using them just for education or entertainment. That improves E.I.'s self-regulation and awareness of what the child might need. After all, we all have snuck into the company's washroom to watch a few TikTok videos just to de-stress from a tough situation :D.
Role of Emotional Intelligence in Digital Learning
We all know that social media content is addictive and it can play a major role in our lives. Algorithms keep pushing what we watch more often and that gives a false sense of reality on what's going on in the world. The same happens for children. Children with strong E.I. can identify and understand the discrepancies of the "Instagram effect" (life on Instagram vs real life). That prevents children from being swayed by digital lies while creating empathy for others who might not be seeing through the veil of social media.
When it comes to content children like to watch (i.e. their favourite Minecraft channel), E.I. allows them to realize that these videos can have an entertainment purpose but not a real-life purpose. And that their favourite YouTuber is not just games or is just trying to make money or silly content. Children with well-developed E.I. will see through the layers of information that every person has, preventing them from taking things at face value and learning from what they think will fit them best rather than just absorbing what is cool and trendy.
Challenges faced in the development of Emotional Intelligence
It is always hard to get out of our comfort zone. But it is important to teach children (and ourselves) that we do not need to do it alone. When your child communicates their hardships, online or otherwise, it is good to listen and to help them with it (and not solve the problem for them). Asking how things are going is also a great way to establish communication (and proper communication is part of E.I.). We all have hardships and, normally, adults would be more equipped to deal with them - but children are not. Teaching them how to get there, is important and it can help them to have better control over their digital learning habits or even school behaviours. In summary, E.I. is paramount to every person out there and developing them in children focused on their education (online or not) and in the classroom can do miracles for their development as little people.
Help your child, tween or teen to take better control of their life by introducing E.I. concepts to them as soon as they are interested in it. That will help them to achieve goals faster, understand themselves and the world better and use it to fast-lane into significant learning from school to digital learning in any shape or format.
Written by Gurdip Kamar
College of New Caledonia Student
Digital Content Creation Course
Professor Melanie Law
Edited by Nikolas Zetouni