Teachers have a lot on their plates! Satisfying the rigours of curriculum and balancing the complexities of the school and classroom environments is vital to our jobs. It’s important, however, that we acknowledge the significance and influence of our role in society. Every day we have the opportunity to guide, support, lead and shape the behaviour and development of children and teens. We can use this opportunity to nurture the emotional development of young people, giving them tools to live productive and satisfying lives in an often complicated and stressful world. An individual’s Emotional Intelligence, or lack thereof, can have a huge impact on their work life, relationships, success, and happiness. Our emotional intelligence included our ability to: exercising self-awareness, manage our emotions, motivate ourselves and others, empathise with others, and build and maintain meaningful relationships.

As teachers, we talk a lot about student development. There is curriculum to align, outcomes to match and work samples to analyse. Summative assessment, that is the evaluation of learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing to a standard or benchmark, can be relatively straightforward. You have a piece of ‘evidence’ and you see if it shows that students are proficient in a particular skill.Formative assessment, on the other hand, can be slightly more troublesome. In this case, the assessment process is conducted during the learning process so that the teaching can be modified accordingly to improve student learning outcomes. Now, let’s take it a step further, into even more challenging and difficult terrain, that of emotional development.In short, emotional development:Involves learning what feelings and emotions are, understanding how and why they happen, recognising one’s own feelings and those of others, and developing effective ways of managing them.

How do we assess our students’ emotional development so that we can support them more thoroughly in class?

Develop your students ‘sense of self’. It is crucial that students develop an accurate sense of self. Allow students to develop an understanding of their individuality and a healthy perspective of their unique contribution to the world. Provide opportunities for them to talk about their emotions giving students opportunities to communicate how they are feeling is fundamental to a child’s emotional development. You could consider using a colour scheme in your class and students could point to the colour or emotion that they are feeling.Give them strategies to manage their emotions. Students must be given opportunities to manage their own emotions. Some strategies include giving students a relaxing area in your classroom in which they can pause and reflect on how they are feeling.Teachers have the opportunities to make a difference in a young person’s life every day!

Nurturing of emotional development in our students can help them to develop into productive citizens, parents, employees,leaders and more. You may have the privilege of teaching thousands of students in your lifetime, paying attention to this area of development will help to equip to understand and navigate the bright and complex future they face.