From the Headmaster's Desk
The Germans have a word – bildung – which describes the vision of education as a lifelong journey of social, emotional and intellectual growth and development. Unlike erziehung – which tends to focus on the acquisition of skills - bildung is seen as a process by which each person’s spiritual, cultural and social skills are nurtured and expanded. Its aim is self-knowledge and social contribution.
Increasingly on the local education scene we are recognising the importance of developing social and emotional skills in addition to the intellectual. Papers promoting the importance of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ (EI) are commonplace. This is defined as ‘the ability to be aware and accurately recognise our own and other’s emotions, motives and moods and use this knowledge to manage our own behaviour and improve our interactions with others.’ Especially for students in affluent societies, emotional well-being and the ability to understand and respect the emotions of others have become popular topics in the educational literature. Concepts such as ‘resilience’ and ‘empathy’ and skills such as the ability to be aware of our own emotional states and to be able to regulate them appropriately are now considered a necessary part of any school curriculum. A recent OECD report reinforced this view, arguing that the development of social and emotional skills are essential to ‘secure positive life outcomes’.