EQ in the Classroom

Arthur C. Clarke, most widely known as the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey once said, “Any teacher who can be replaced by a machine should be.” These sentiments should be a source of comfort for some educators, but a source of terror for others. With the proliferation of the computer assisted instruction, teachers need to recognize that their value is much more than that of lecturer. Students capable of reading can teach themselves. What, then, is the real function of a teacher?
Most people who can sit in front of a computer and read are capable of learning. Educational institutions like the University of Phoenix are predicated on the assumption that adults don’t need to be present in a classroom to learn. So educators should to be mindful that they are dispensable from a purely knowledge standpoint.
The actual role of a good teacher is to help the student learn how to learn. In order to do that effectively, he needs to form a positive relationship with his class. Educational studies have documented that children learn best from people they love. This can include a wide circle of people, but should certainly include their teachers.
A teacher, especially at or above the middle school level, may have a good grasp of his subject and a high I.Q. or intelligence quotient. But that doesn’t guarantee that his students will learn. He needs to make an emotional connection, too. Any student who has a negative relationship with a classroom teacher will resist learning from him. And while some people can learn despite a poor teacher, that situation is undesirable. Of course, some personality conflicts are bound to result in any mix of people, but the teacher can often minimize them with understanding or humor. In many instances, E.Q. (emotional quotient) can be even more important than knowledge. An excellent teacher will have a healthy balance of both characteristics. He needs to show an interest in his students and to help them discover their potential.

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