Practitioners working with children and young people must encourage them to be more aware of their emotions in order to improve their chances of long-term success, delegates at the national social services conference last week.
Sheila Simons from Getting Connected, a programme which focuses on developing young adult’s emotional intelligence, said it was essential to develop emotional literacy within schools, youth services and colleges.
“We know that IQ is only 20 per cent predictive of how successful people can become,” Simons said. “The things that can really make people successful are the things that come from emotional intelligence.”
The Getting Connected programme revolves around a curriculum framework, developed out of a joint initiative between the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education and the National Youth Agency. It is made up of nine units in areas such as self-awareness, handling relationships and exploring risks and is often used to help young people communicate more effectively and understand their own behaviours.
Jade Rogers, 16, was referred to the Stepping Forward charity in Swindon by her school aged 13 because she was at risk of being excluded. Using the Getting Connected framework, the charity was able to help Jade look at the behaviour that had got her into trouble with her school and better understand her emotions and work out her ambitions for the future. Jade is now at college studying an NVQ 2 in hairdressing.
“My mum was worried about me when I first started at Stepping Out – she didn’t think I’d stick at it,” Jade told delegates. “So I had to prove myself. I left school with 28 unit awards, and various certificates, including one in volunteering. And now I’m getting on really well at college.”
Maria Moore, a teacher at Stepping Out, said the Getting Connected framework was particularly useful in working with young people around risks.