I had the good fortune of watching an amazing performance by our 4th graders today as they acted out the Roald Dahl classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Wow! Can these kids act. Not only did they have all their lines memorized, they delivered them with emotion, comedic timing and with high level of entertainment. I was thinking to myself as they were performing, “they got it”. The “It” factor being their emotional intelligence. The ability to understand their environment and deliver a tremendous product to the audience.
There are so many great examples I saw that highlighted kids who were in touch with their emotions, confident in their ability and comfortable in their environment. One boy kept loosing his fake mustache and used it as an opportunity to get a laugh out of the crowd (I would have run out of the room crying). One girl stomped here feet and delivered a Veruca Salt that would put the movie character to shame. Another boy moved as if he could have been an Oompa Loompa (I was scared of them as a kid). These kids are smart. It may be a different kind of “smart” but they have “it”.
I walked by their classroom later in the day, after they had come down off the sugar high (they had awesome “Wonka” snacks after the play). They were in class taking a practice ERB standardized test. Not the most fun or stimulating exercise (but practicing for the test is never a bad idea). I thought to myself as I walked by, “I already know they are smart”. Emotional intelligence may not have a good standardized test counterpart for measurement, but, what I saw today “on the stage” is proof that our kids know how to relate to others and an audience. Kudos to their teachers who coached them up as well. Great work 4th Grade!
On a side note, I recently read a great piece in the New York Times on the benefits of bilingualism and Why Bilinguals are Smarter. It is a great article. Read it if you have some time. It just reinforces the significance of learning a second language. The ripple effect is pretty telling from the data that they present, especially on the brain.
One of the components that stood out to me in the article was the impact bilingualism has as it relates to a person’s “heightened ability to monitor environment.” Being more aware of your surroundings is important as it not only makes us more in touch with our surroundings, it also makes our connection with other cultures more significant and meaningful. The cultural intelligence of our kids only gets stronger with daily language instruction.
As a school, nurturing that EQ (emotional intelligence) and CQ (cultural intelligence) is so important. It was great to see the EQ today as the kids performed and then see this article and reflect on how we foster CQ in our kids through our language program. There may not be a true “test” for either of these two intelligences but our kids have “it”.