Developing Socio-emotional Intelligence in Higher Education Academics

Authors: Devis-Rozental

Start date: 13 July 2017

Socio-emotional intelligence (SEI) is an area of positive psychology that is positioned within Seligman’s (2011) PERMA model. It sits under the umbrellas of positive emotions and relationships and can influence further the areas of engagement, meaning and achievement. SEI relates to the ability to acknowledge, understand, manage and express emotions and social interactions in the appropriate manner, within the right context and for the right purpose to enhance personal wellbeing (Bar-On 2005; Goleman, 1996, 1997; Devis-Rozental 2015, 2016). In the context of higher education teaching, this has not been fully explored to account for the influencing role that academics play on student experience, achievement and success. Consequently, a thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke 2006) study was carried out in a UK HE institution with 14 students and four staff. Findings suggest that the role of the academic is integral in supporting students in developing areas of SEI such as confidence, self-awareness and resilience. However, there is a presumption that these academics have an understanding of SEI and can therefore model it to support students in developing it. At present there are not many interactive tools to support academics in fostering their SEI, beyond in house training sessions and suggestions for effective classroom management, most related to a smooth lecture delivery but to some extent neglecting the emotionally charged role of academics. Consequently, an interactive blog is being created with the purpose to offer a platform where academics can learn and develop their SEI. Based on qualitative findings, the blog will include ideas and strategies integral in developing SEI. For example, as it was found that knowledge gives confidence, background theory of the subject and its application will be included. Overall the blog will be an ongoing project where academics can influence its content by an interactive forum and where theories and strategies relevant to the subject will be posted regularly.

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