Types of emotional intelligence and its development

Since Howard Gardner identified the different types of intelligence that make up our personality, we perceive education as a more complex process, in which not only technical knowledge is involved, but also other skills that have to do with different aspects of our education. The types of emotional intelligence lead us through a lifelong learning process, in which we learn to both identify and manage our own emotions appropriately. 

The 8 types of intelligence

Before analysing the types of emotional intelligence, it is important to know the types of general intelligences available to us. Gardner identifies 8 basic intelligences present in each of us:

  • Logical-mathematical intelligence, the general ability to solve problems.
  • Linguistic intelligence, which includes any action that involves the use of language.
  • Spatial intelligence, regarding our relationship with the physical environment. 
  • Musical intelligence, derived from our ability to relate musical sounds.
  • Bodily kinaesthetic intelligence, or the ability to control our movements.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence, based on our knowledge of ourselves.
  • Interpersonal intelligence, related to our knowledge of others. 
  • Naturalistic intelligence, about the natural environment around us. 

Over time, other skills related to our ability to know and interpret our environment have been added to the original list of intelligence, but the above include all the basic intelligences that we put into practice on a daily basis. 

Emotional intelligence does not appear explicitly in the above list, but it is present in many of the intelligences, especially in the interpersonal and intrapersonal ones. Currently, emotional intelligence is very present in the academic environment, due to the importance of the correct management of emotions. 

Factors in our emotional intelligence

There are a series of factors that will determine the effectiveness of our emotional management, both intrapersonal and interpersonal, are the following:

  • Emotional self-awareness: This refers to our own ability to recognise our emotions, interpret them and act accordingly. 
  • Emotional self-regulation: This refers to the mechanisms we use to regulate (without repressing) our emotions, showing them appropriately in each situation. 
  • Empathy: Empathy is the part of our personality that allows us to put ourselves in the place of others, understanding their emotions and acting accordingly.  
  • Motivation: Motivation is a very important trait regarding the management of emotions, especially during the school period, that is why it is important to insist on the development of different motivational aspects present in our routines. 
  • Social skills: Beyond empathy, social skills allow us to relate to other people at different levels.

Types of emotional intelligence

We can analyse emotional intelligence on the basis of different aspects that develop from specific parts of our emotional capacities. There are two general types of emotional intelligence, interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence. 

Interpersonal intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence are the values that we put into practice when we relate to other people. Empathy, everything related to social skills or the interpretation of emotions of the people we relate to on a daily basis are part of our interpersonal capacity. 

The ability to relate to other people does not appear in us innately, but rather we learn them, especially during our early years. In this sense it is very important that academic programmes include references to interpersonal learning.

Intrapersonal intelligence

We usually associate the concept of emotions with our relationship with our environment, but there is a very important intrapersonal component. Intrapersonal intelligence is that which allows us to live with ourselves in an adequate way, managing our own feelings.  

The ability to accept frustration, the personal search for what makes us happy or the ability to accept ourselves as we are are some of the learning that we carry out throughout our lives, and which are related to intrapersonal intelligence. 

Emotional intelligence at school

It is very important for a pupil to develop emotional skills and to learn how to put them into practice. The academic period, from 3 to 18 years of age, is a crucial time for this type of learning, and the fact of being part of a school environment will allow the emotional skills acquired to be put into practice. 

It is not only advisable that emotional intelligence forms part of educational programmes, it is compulsory, due to the need to teach a series of values that will be present throughout their lives.

The types of emotional intelligence that we have identified above, both interpersonal and intrapersonal, are a reinforcement in their training. The aim of the educational institutions is for them to be able to incorporate emotional management into their daily lives, in a correct way, based on the situations they will face throughout their lives.  

At British School Almeria we insist on the importance of emotional values for the growth and development of our students. For our teaching team it is very important that each of our students is able to learn the importance of their own emotions and how to put them into practice, which is why all our syllabuses include a section on the emotional aspect.

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