Daniel Goleman: Thinking And Feeling Go Hand In Hand In The Classroom

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Daniel Goleman: Thinking and Feeling Go Hand in Hand in the Classroom by Daniel Goleman

Cognitive empathy means understanding people’s perspective the world. It goes hand in hand with emotional empathy, which is “feeling with”. In a discussion I had with Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Sustainability at the MIT Sloan School of Management, I wanted to know how feelings and emotions were addressed in systems education. Here’s what he had to say.

SEL and Systems Thinking

Educators who have been leading this systems revolution encourage students to really inquire into the social systems they find themselves in. I would say that the accelerating confluence of the social and emotional learning and systems thinking gives educators a repertoire of pedagogical strategies. The combination can really get the kids doing good, reflective work on emotional states, and the interactions they have with one another.

We Don’t See the Whole System

When studying how students develop their systems thinking skills, the one thing that I find really interesting is how sensitized they become to how each other sees the world. They realize that we’re all looking through a peephole of our particular sense of sensory apparatus. No one sees the whole system. We all see aspects of the system. So if you really want to understand and improve a system, you need to get really good at seeing how you see it, and how she sees it, and how he sees it. When you’re able to see it differently, then you’ll be able to learn.

Intelligence is Multifaceted

I’ve worried for a long time that for some the social/emotional learning work is a little too peripheral in the sense of, “Well, it’s good the kids also have emotional intelligence.” No. It’s good that kids are intelligent. Intelligence is multifaceted. It is cognitive and emotional. I’ve been around a lot of people at MIT who are great in their lab, and a disaster in their family. People would not call those people particularly intelligent. They’d say they’re a bunch of nerds who can really do something specific. But as soon as they walk out of that lab, they’re dysfunctional as human beings. So, I think that where this is headed is simply to understand intelligence as innately a multifaceted phenomenon.

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Intelligence is a System

Also, we need to break down the walls between what we think of as academic intelligence and emotional intelligence. For example, the brain ignores all of those barriers. It’s a very interrelated and integrated system. Anyone who looks at the brain and how it works knows that your emotional state directly affects how you can use your academic skills. If you’re upset, it shrinks your working memory. You can’t pay attention to what the teacher’s saying. You can’t learn. So in a way, it’s totally arbitrary to separate them. If you open up the brain, you’re not going to find a bunch of little boxes.

Learn how to apply social and emotional learning and systems thinking into the classroom with The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education and the Focus bundle for educators.

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David J. Merkel, CFA, FSA — 2010-present, I am working on setting up my own equity asset management shop, tentatively called Aleph Investments. It is possible that I might do a joint venture with someone else if we can do more together than separately. From 2008-2010, I was the Chief Economist and Director of Research of Finacorp Securities. I did a many things for Finacorp, mainly research and analysis on a wide variety of fixed income and equity securities, and trading strategies. Until 2007, I was a senior investment analyst at Hovde Capital, responsible for analysis and valuation of investment opportunities for the FIP funds, particularly of companies in the insurance industry. I also managed the internal profit sharing and charitable endowment monies of the firm. From 2003-2007, I was a leading commentator at the investment website RealMoney.com. Back in 2003, after several years of correspondence, James Cramer invited me to write for the site, and I wrote for RealMoney on equity and bond portfolio management, macroeconomics, derivatives, quantitative strategies, insurance issues, corporate governance, etc. My specialty is looking at the interlinkages in the markets in order to understand individual markets better. I no longer contribute to RealMoney; I scaled it back because my work duties have gotten larger, and I began this blog to develop a distinct voice with a wider distribution. After three-plus year of operation, I believe I have achieved that. Prior to joining Hovde in 2003, I managed corporate bonds for Dwight Asset Management. In 1998, I joined the Mount Washington Investment Group as the Mortgage Bond and Asset Liability manager after working with Provident Mutual, AIG and Pacific Standard Life. My background as a life actuary has given me a different perspective on investing. How do you earn money without taking undue risk? How do you convey ideas about investing while showing a proper level of uncertainty on the likelihood of success? How do the various markets fit together, telling us us a broader story than any single piece? These are the themes that I will deal with in this blog. I hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University. In my spare time, I take care of our eight children with my wonderful wife Ruth.