Incorporating: Eloquence Languages and Translations

Judy & Charlotte SundeJudy was recently interviewed by Dr Charlotte Sunde, Managing Editor, International Journal of Sustainable Development (IJSD), Centre d'Economie et d'Ethique pour l'Environnement et le Développement (C3ED), Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines,47 boulevard Vauban, 78047 Guyancourt Cedex, France, www.c3ed.uvsq.fr as part of a European-wide research project on "Learning Through Emotions", specifically investigating the role of Emotional Intelligence in schools.

Dr Sunde approached Judy as a recognised expert in this field to ask her to contribute to the project: www.ejournal.fi/lethe/ in order to gain a wider understanding on how to include EI in the learning programmes and curricula (in this case, in France) and about the role of teachers, trainers and parents in this process. Click on "Read More" to read the full transcript & watch the video...,

 

Interview with expert on Emotional Intelligence and education in France:
JUDY CHURCHILL, 11 December 2007, Paris
Interview by Charlotte Šunde and Marie-Françoise Vannier,
University of Versailles, France
for the European project LETHE (LEarning THrough Emotions).

 

Background

1. What is your expertise/research in relation to Emotional Intelligence (EI)?

To explain my background/expertise in the area of Emotional Intelligence, I think it would be fair to say that it was born of practical experience, my own experience as a student back in England at university at the time. I was trying to explain for myself why I performed well in the classroom and out of the classroom, but underachieved in exams. I got to the point where I was at my finals and I was trying to analyse what it was that created the emotions of success. Why was it that I could be successful on the sports field, why was it that I could be successful if somebody gave me a project, but as soon as I was sitting in front of an exam paper, I would crumble up and under-achieve? So I developed a series of activities for myself and tried to see whether I would perform better after having done certain activities. And I realised that in fact it was going to an early morning dance class before my exams that seemed to produce the necessary stimuli to help me achieve better and calm me down. I worked out that it was some sort of hormonal process going on, and something that was affecting my brain that would give me the necessary positive emotions to be able to sit in an exam room and collect my thoughts and tap into my rational brain rather than being flooded out with negative emotions.

It was after that that I sat down and started to talk to some other people who were doing research in the area, and they said to me: “could you write about this, put this down on paper, and explain what you think happened.” Having done some research into the matter, I realised I was creating endorphins for myself and I was giving myself positive emotions by doing some sort of physical exercise before I did some sort of mental exercise. I was able then to clear my thoughts and the endorphins were having a positive effect on my thinking strategy. When I got into the exams, instead of being flooded by adrenalin, I tapped into my endorphins and was able to produce the information that was stored away in my memory and perform well. My results exceeded expectations.

I thought: “right, I should tell other people about this.” I started interviewing people, writing about it, talking about it, doing more research on the matter, and came to the conclusion at the time that what I had done to myself was given myself some Emotional Intelligence. So I became very interested in the area; started doing some workshops with different people who were working on neuro-linguistic programming, doing research themselves, offering workshops, going to conferences, and I became extremely enthusiastic about all the positive effects that working on our emotions can have on learning and on performance.

Emotional Intelligence – general

2. How do you define Emotional Intelligence?

Now, I would certainly define Emotional Intelligence as a way of helping yourself manage your emotions so that you can succeed rather than fail in all areas of your life. It’s about managing your emotions, not letting your emotions manage you. Learning how to enhance your own performance and then enhance the performance of others. I think if you’re interested in helping people, or coaching, or teaching, or just interacting with people, what you want is to have some sort of positive interaction. You can only do that if you can help others manage their emotions. So Emotional Intelligence, then, is using all different types of sensory perception, your emotions, to enhance rather than hinder your operations in all areas of your life.

3. What is the relationship between the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and the EI Quotient (EQ)?
 Do you consider them as opposite or complementary measures?
 In your work, do you find that people are equally familiar with IQ and EQ? Explain.

The relationship between IQ (traditional, rational intelligence) and Emotional Intelligence: I would see them not as separate measures, but certainly as complementary measures; I don’t think you can have one without the other. We’re certainly not going to abandon traditional IQ. We’ve been doing it for years and there’s a place for it – we need it. We need some sort of rational thought structure. You do need to learn to have input that is given to you. It’s what you do with that input, how you access it, and whether you retain it that is explained by Emotional Intelligence. So if we can use Emotional Intelligence to help us use the traditional intelligence (IQ) that we’re given, then I think we can probably achieve way beyond what we ever imagined. We’re not going to take one and not the other; we need to use them together because they tap into different parts of the brain.

If you look at traditional IQ, you could say that perhaps it’s what we would call ‘serial learning’. You’ve got building blocks (one thing is dependent upon another), and if you take away one element, then the whole wall is going to crumble. With Emotional Intelligence, what you can show people is that EI is more associative and you’re going to find all sorts of creative ways of remembering things, not just one way – there’s not one method for all. Even if you take away just one brick, you’re going to find other things that will keep that wall standing. It’s basically giving you an ‘architecture’ so that you can find creative ways of sustaining your own knowledge and working on your memory so that, if one part fails, you can use another part of it.

If we get them working in synergy, what’s going to happen is that we’re going to be offering a wide range of possibilities to all sorts of people who are going to say that “my way of learning is this way,” and we’re not going to then deny that way of learning to them. We’re not going to say: “actually, we’ve set up this way of learning and everyone’s going to learn that way.” We’re going to say: “this is the information that we have, this is what you’re going to take in, but we’re going to let you discover and help you to discover the best way to retain that information for you.” So perhaps we can say that IQ is the information that we’re going to take in; EQ is the way that we’re going to take that information in and retain it.

In my own work, I don’t think that people are particularly familiar, even now, of the difference between EQ and IQ. Certainly in the circles that I work in, I would say the academic circles, people are because they tend to meet up and talk to people who are interested in EQ (Emotional Intelligence). But if you go into any one school (especially in France) and talk about EQ, as far as most people are concerned it doesn’t exist, or it’s something strange, or it’s ‘black magic’, and it’s something that has been invented by somebody to sell books and it’s got no place in an academic curriculum. Outside of schools, in the workplace, I would say that it’s something most people are frightened of. Because if you can’t rationalise it and you can’t fit it into a little box, then people fear what they don’t understand. So therefore they will again just abandon it and consider that it’s something that a few strange people get together and talk about at conferences, but it’s got no place in the professional world. So, I think there is a lack of familiarity with the mechanisms that are behind EQ and why we need to use it.
 
4. What is your point of view on EI as an approach to teaching and learning processes?

As an approach to learning, I think that it’s absolutely essential. I think that teachers who are emotionally intelligent can make the difference between a classroom full of willing learners and learners that perform, and unwilling learners and learners that underachieve. So from a teaching point of view, you can make a difference as a teacher if you understand how to use your own emotional intelligence, and as a learner if you can be shown how to use your emotional intelligence it can make the difference between a child who succeeds and fails, basically, and then an adult that achieves or fails later on in life.

5. What do you perceive as the greatest benefits of educating people about using EI skills?

I think the benefits of Emotional Intelligence are unquestionable. How you introduce people to seeing those benefits is another matter. As far as schools are concerned, it’s a difficult one because schools have to organise large groups of people into time slots. They tend to have one approach and they will tell you that we don’t have time for dealing with individual approaches and individual problems and methods of learning. So I think you need to show evidence that you can use it in a group. You don’t have to necessarily change the content of a curriculum, but you do have to change the way that you allow people to take the content in, and perhaps help them develop their own different sensory perceptions.

What you do as a school is introduce visual methods, auditory methods, kinaesthetic methods, in any one lesson. So, a lesson will have its content but that content will be arranged around different stimuli, so that you’ll use pictorial evidence, auditory evidence, you’ll get people touching and feeling things so the content isn’t actually going to change but the way that they take that content in is going to change. I think that’s possible. I don’t see why that should be a particular problem. You’ll have children who are all learning the same thing but one of them will be taking it in through pictures, one will be taking it in through the sounds, one will be taking it in because they’re actually feeling what’s going on. You can also have different points of a lesson where you perhaps stop and you start something. One start point could be based on pictorial evidence, another start point could be based on auditory evidence, so you’re continually going through cycles of repetition which is good for learning anyway, and you’re also offering people different ways of taking that information in. That’s one point of view.

The other point of view: I think Emotional Intelligence is essential to the learning process in schools because it’s based on positive feedback. We know today that the more positive you feel about something, the greater your motivation is to do that thing. So if I enjoy doing something and it makes me feel good, I’ll come back to it. If I don’t enjoy something and it makes me feel bad, or someone makes me feel bad about doing it, then I won’t do it. It would seem to me that it’s absolutely basic in the school setup to be encouraging our children to be focusing on the positives because, as the old adage says: “success breeds success.” It’s simple; it’s not rocket science.

Emotional Intelligence a lot of the time is born of common sense. It says that when we make somebody feel good about something, that person will want to be with it and they’ll want to do it, so why shouldn’t that be happening in schools? Well, that’s the big question. I don’t know if I can answer that one. Because if we look at what’s happening in schools, and if we focus on France, a lot of my adult students tell me today that: “…at school, we were basically told to ‘sit down, to shut up, and that we had nothing of any vital importance to offer.’ So that’s what we told ourselves: we did sit down, we didn’t speak, we didn’t offer anything.”

The negative implications of that were that, unless there was some other aspect to their life that was stimulating them to succeed in a particular area, if school was the only thing that was offering them any form of stimulation and it was negative stimulation, well then they would fail, basically. Or even if they succeeded in getting a certain grade, they didn’t actually associate that grade with any sense of intrinsic success. So then they come out into the adult world, find themselves in a job that they don’t particularly appreciate, but: “that doesn’t matter, because we’re not supposed to appreciate things. We certainly don’t appreciate ourselves, we just do and we follow instructions, and if I get negative feedback also in my job, well that’s normal anyway, and that sets me on a negative spiral. But then what happens when I come into a situation where I need to be positive? Well, I haven’t got the tools for being positive because I haven’t set those associations in motion. I don’t know how to tap into my positive self and I don’t know how to give myself positive feedback.”

So, we have a huge responsibility from the youngest possible age in school to be teaching people how to tap into their own positive resources. If we don’t do that, and we don’t show them that it doesn’t matter that if one channel of thinking doesn’t work, another one will and that can always be brought to the fore, and we can associate anything we do with that particular channel of thinking. What are we then going to do with those adults when they hit the professional arena and they are responsible for stimulating others and creating positive resources and giving feedback to others? We will be continually on a negative spiral.

Emotional Intelligence – education specific

6. Do you think EI methods of teaching can or should be used in the classroom in France? Give your reasons why.

Do I think we can use EQ in the classroom? Yes, I do. Should we use it? I don’t think there’s any question about it – yes, we must!

7. Describe any specific programmes and experiences that you are familiar with that are positive examples of EI approaches used in schools, universities, public service or businesses in France.
 What have been the responses by teachers, students, staff and employees to these programmes and experiences?

Are there any specific programmes happening at the moment dealing with this? As far as I’m aware, in France there are not. I know that in other countries people are working on it. I know that, depending on the school, certainly in Great Britain there are different programmes going on. In the United States, things like the Montessori programme, which has been in existence forever, I think that’s a perfect example of using Emotional Intelligence in the classroom. I think that in general, the American approach, in general, is an emotionally intelligent approach.

Why do I say that? Because of one of the remarks that was made by one of my adult learners the other day when we were talking about self-confidence. These were people who have to go and work in the global arena and interact with Americans, and one of the French people said to me: “we can’t do this because the Americans are born with self-confidence. From the moment they’re born, from the moment they eat, everything they do is a step towards self-confidence.” So, there was recognition of the fact that there are programmes being offered in other places from a young age, preparing people to be higher performers than we [French] are: “we can’t do it because we were never offered those programmes.” What they’re saying, basically, is these programmes should be in existence [in France] and people are aware that they’re going on elsewhere, and there’s a great feeling of unfairness now being developed in certain places. And I’m feeling it in France because I’m dealing with it on a daily basis: “It’s all very well, but we can’t do this because we were never offered the opportunity to do it. It’s not part of our culture; it’s not part of our educational system.”
 
I think we have a duty now to look at what’s going on around the world. I’ve heard recently of programmes being developed in Australia. I think the Anglo-Saxon world has always been a world where educational programmes have been associated with self-esteem, which is a huge part of Emotional Intelligence. I work on different educational programmes with young children through charity work where we aim to increase their self-esteem. We’re now trying to feed people from France into those programmes. Although they’re only short programmes (2 or 3 week programmes), they can make a difference. Because people are beginning to look at what’s going on elsewhere and saying: “well, hang on, I need a bit of that too.” I don’t know at the moment at the grassroots if anything’s going on in France. I certainly think that it should, and I think that people are becoming more aware of what’s happening elsewhere.

As far as universities are concerned, I have worked directly with universities in Monaco (the International University of Monaco) where I have worked on Emotional Intelligence programmes with them: making the most of your self, increasing self-esteem, conflict management. I’ve worked with universities in Germany, working with people who are coaching students for exams, on how to increase their Emotional Intelligence. I’ve worked with the university in Canterbury in England and Pilgrims (http://www.pilgrims.co.uk/), developing different programmes for trainers on how to make the most of your brain and the different mechanisms that are going on there. I think at university level there’s a lot going on; I don’t think that’s a particular problem.

As far as businesses are concerned, more and more businesses are now looking at the solutions to communication problems and are coming to the realisation that people are starting to talk about Emotional Intelligence: What’s it all about? They’ll come to me and they’ll say: “We think that we need Emotional Intelligence, neuro-linguistic programming, but can you develop a nice rational programme for us so that it looks good and it fits in with the learning style of the people you’re going to be coaching.” So then I’m faced with a problem, because if they’re coming to me for Emotional Intelligence, they’ve obviously identified that there’s a problem related to emotions. As far as I’m concerned, if we’ll dealing with emotions then we’re not going to necessarily rationalise the programme that we’re working on. So there’s a huge conflict in the type of instructions or the briefing that I’m given for these types of programmes that I should be running and what I actually deliver.

What I’m finding at the moment is that I’m doing a ‘needs analysis’ on what I think people probably need, developing a programme that is entirely Emotionally Intelligence-based, but disguising it with different names so that the programmes sound like they fit into some sort of business rationale and learning structure that these people are used to. So what we get is a group of people coming to a training session and they’re looking at a power point that suits their mindset. When we actually start working and get them to work on practical exercises and role play, so that they can see, hear and feel what’s going on – then the change starts to register. What actually happens is that I use visualisation a lot of the time. They don’t know what they’re going to be doing before they do it; what I’m going to be doing with you might seem a little strange, but give it a chance. It’s very often that at the end of a visualisation or a confidence-boosting exercise where I ask them what they heard, what they thought, what they felt, that you can see the physical change of state of people, and suddenly their minds start to open and they’ll abandon all their rational thought patterns and say: “yes, I actually felt that and I can see that that works; I’d like to do more of that.” And they’ll start asking you for more.

That’s very gratifying. It’s wonderful to work with people like that because in actual fact I prefer sometimes to work with people who have zero starting point and see the transformation in half a day or a day, than to work with people who are already very Emotionally Intelligent where you can have very interesting discussions with them, but you don’t necessarily see such a learning curve. Working with people in the kind of businesses that I work in France leads to a very rewarding experience; probably I learn as much as they do because I can see how fast people do learn.

The French are no less Emotionally Intelligent than anybody else; they just need the channels opened up – and once they’re opened up, well, ‘all hell breaks loose’ because they suddenly realise what they’ve missed out on all those years! They’re wonderful people to work with because they’ll go from night-to-day or day-to-night, and they’ll want to spread the message to other people, and they’ll want more. They’re wonderfully creative people: once you show them what they can do with it, they’ll come up with as many ideas as you can. There, they’re using their IQ, and I think that’s where IQ has a huge place in Emotional Intelligence. The French are, I would say, probably one of the populations with the highest IQs that I’ve ever met. Once you get them using their Emotional Intelligence, they can then go back to their IQ: I think you’ve got a huge recipe for success because they can put the two together. They’ve got the content and they’ve got the cognitive knowledge in a lot of areas, and once they put their emotions into that and become creative, then I think they can outstrip most of us.

8. Describe your work in adult education and the strategies you use to approach business executives (and others with a high IQ) to focus more on their EI. What results/changes have you observed or been informed about?

The areas I’m working on, specifically with people who have very high IQ: First, I’ll talk about how I approach those people. It is very difficult to approach somebody with high IQ and talk about EQ because they’re trying to meet you on the same level; they’re going to be trying to test your IQ. You’ve got to get them off that subject. Basically, you’ve got to have a lot of empathy and understanding. If you’re dealing with somebody with high IQ, what they don’t want to do is to be caught out being an under-achiever in a certain area. If you’re going to go in and talk to them immediately about EQ, because they know nothing about it, they’ll be very defensive. They’ll try to lead you on to other areas which have nothing to do with EQ. So you don’t want to put those people into a position where they feel inferior to you or that they don’t know something about the subject. I think empathy and understanding when you meet these people is crucial.

The way that you can lead somebody with high IQ into EQ is through demonstration. You have to show them that it works; you have to give them evidence. First of all, you have to look at it from a scientific point of view: you definitely have to go through the science of the brain because that is something they can relate to because that’s also IQ-related. Then you have to take them through a series of what I would call almost ‘childish’ practical experiments. One of the methods that I use very often for people with high IQ is to get them to draw maps. One of the first things that we do is that if we’re in a particular town, I get them to draw a map of the town that we’re in. They don’t know why they’re doing it, but they do it. Most people like drawing and they find that amusing. And then we discuss the fact that ‘the map is not the territory’: everybody sees the world through their own map. If you’ve got a group of people, they’ll all draw different maps of the same place. They can see that: I drew it from one perspective and he drew it from another perspective.

Often I get them drawing pictures if they’re working on a particular product in a company. I’ll get them to draw a picture of that product: what does it mean to them? If they had to represent a concept or a product or a process as a picture, what would that picture be? And they all see that they’re thinking in different ways. And I’ll say: “yes, because you’re all using different parts of your brain.” Suddenly, because they can see it demonstrated, there is an acceptance. What you can’t do with people with high IQ is try and explain the rationale behind EQ because they’ll keep coming back to IQ each time. So, you’ve got to demonstrate, and I do it through pictures and through feeling. Once you’ve done the pictures, you can put them into a role play. You can work on things such as body language and paraverbals, and you can get them seeing and hearing what’s going on especially if they watch their peers. And they’ll say: “wow, I never saw that before, I never thought about that before; that’s what is happening.” And then they can start to tell their rational brain that it’s true: “I’ve seen it, I’ve heard it, I’ve felt it.” They don’t know it at the time, but they’re basically bringing the two areas together. So, that’s my approach with people with high IQ.

9. What are the main obstacles or arguments against using EI approaches in education?

What I said at the beginning: If you are trying to organise a large group, for example in a school, you always come back to the argument: “I haven’t got time to do this; we’ve got to use one method; we’ve got a curriculum to get through; we’re going to be wasting time here; this is game-playing – the playground is for that, et cetera.” I think you’ve got to find a way there of educating teachers and showing them that they don’t have to lose the content of their curriculum. All they have to do is experiment with different ways of helping children learn. So the obstacle is what is perceived as the curriculum and the exams at the end of it.

Emotional Intelligence – link between education and values in society

10. Please contemplate this statement and consider the following questions:
 “How much happier would we be, how much more successful as individuals and civil as a society, if we were more alert to the importance of emotional intelligence and more adept at teaching it?” (Nancy Gibbs “The EQ Factor,” Time, October 1995)
• What constitutes ‘success’ in French society? Has it changed and, if so, in what ways?
• As French society is becoming increasingly multicultural, what role can EI in schools play in educating about different cultures’ values and social norms?
• If you consider that religion or spirituality is part of EI, in your opinion should interreligious and intercultural education be part of the school curriculum in France? Please justify your answer with reasons.

In French society, and the fact that French society is now becoming increasingly multicultural, does EI have a place in multicultural French society? Absolutely! Through EI, we start to understand peoples’ different ways of thinking. Coming from another culture presupposes that you have another way of thinking about things. With Emotional Intelligence we learn that there is no ‘better way’ of doing something; there is a different way of doing something. So I don’t necessarily hold universal truths; I hold my own truths. I am a product of my own way of thinking and the way I’ve been brought up in my culture. If the person sitting next to me has come from another country and another culture and speaks another language, which one of us is the ‘better’ person? There isn’t. But if I can understand that there are things that I can learn from this person and I can also help that person learn from me, then I think that we’re all going to improve. We’re going to enrich our own learning styles. We can use EI to show that we can all benefit from each other.

I don’t think it’s quite the same thing with religion because religion is attached more to a firm belief. We know that religion can be very dogmatic in certain aspects. I think we should all have a certain understanding of each others’ religions: we should know that they exist; we should know what’s behind them. But I think it’s far more interesting to focus on the different cultural aspects of different people. And to understand how people perhaps use distance, how they use touch or don’t use touch, how they use eye contact, how they use body language in general, how they use tones of voice, how some people use a lot of words in a sentence, how some people use only a few words, how some languages and cultures speak louder, faster. I think that’s of more value on a day-to-day basis as far as communication is concerned.

Today, how could we define ‘success’ in French society? I think success, certainly traditionally, has been defined as probably having a title. French like to be ‘directed’; they like to be “Monsieur Le Président” or they like to be “Monsieur Le Maire”, or they’ve got some sort of political title, or they’re recognised within their company as being at the top of the hierarchy. A lot of respect, a lot of importance is attributed to paying respect to people who have titles. I think certainly traditionally most French people would say: “if I were ever given the Légion d’Honneur that would be the summit of my success.”

However, it’s slightly changing now. Success is being associated a little more with how much people earn. I think we’re all becoming part of a global society and people are saying: “if I have a certain job and it pays a certain amount…”, which was never the case before in France, then that shows that I’m successful. That’s part of the global architecture at the moment, and perhaps seeing things on films that are associated with ‘money equals success.’

I think that, in my own personal opinion, if I had to define ‘success’, for me, success is a feeling that you have inside of you. If you feel good about yourself, and that’s reflected in the eyes of the people that you’re interacting with, for me that’s the definition of success. Very often, perhaps naively, the pay cheque at the end of the day is not the money that I receive, it’s the positive feedback. So, in French society, if we can get people to also realise that, while it’s great to have a title and it’s great to be able to earn a lot of money and appreciate what you can buy with that money, but at the end of the day if you don’t feel intrinsically good about yourself and successful from within, that’s really not going to be enough for you. That explains then why people will try to go for a higher title to be seen as being more important, to earn more money, because they’re trying to go for something that they don’t know already exists within them if only they could bring it out.

My final word would be that Emotional Intelligence can help us reach that success point that we all desire and it can actually start from the moment we’re born – and it probably should do.