In the past 20 years the term EQ (sometimes called EI for “emotional intelligence”) has gained traction as a measure of emotional self-awareness, self-management and the ability to deal empathetically with others..
When EQ training is offered in conjunction with other life and social skills (such as effective communication and relationship skills, responsible decision making, goal setting and achievement, and others), educators refer to it Social and Emotional Learning, or SEL.
Beyond this, on a macro scale, the programs are likely the best and cheapest overall tool for transforming the fundamental ways of thinking and being that lead to many mental and physical problems, social injustice, structural poverty, racism, classicism, crime, violence and other anti-social behaviors.
Another beautiful factor about SEL/EQ is that it can be taught – and taught at the earliest years of a child’s development, as well as over the course of life, and tends to open the door for other educational improvements and modernization.
“I learned how to be critical thinker and I learned how to play out of my strength instead of worry about my weaknesses. I learned about what I was good at and how to hold that and use it to become better at things.”
Mission Hill Alumana
Beyond this, long-trail research indicates that collective strong SEL has the potential to elevate society as a whole – in the form of better relationships all around, less conflict, and more productive and healthier individuals, workplaces, institutions, and communities.
This includes extensive potential benefits to the economy from a far greater-performing and creative workforce, entrepreneurship growth and lower medical and mental health costs, with the possibility of lower taxes from savings on many other social costs and on criminal justice/policing.
Properly implemented, these programs are also cost-effective, saving $11 per student in other expenditures, according to a study undertaken by a team at Columbia University, and $15.66 per student according to a study of one particular program by the Washington State Institute of Public Policy.
The Big EQ Campaign intends to be the first-ever mass advertising and marketing campaign whose sole and huge vision is to mobilize parents of school-age children, businesses and organizations, and the general American public to insist that every school prioritize fostering students’ and teachers’ emotional intelligence.
The goal will be to catalyze a movement of schools that are supportive, joyful learning environments dedicated to helping the whole child succeed- to the benefit of children, teens, adults, school outcomes, society and business (the economy) as a whole.
There are dozens of companies and institutions offering to schools excellent evidence-based teaching programs and materials designed to advance social and emotional learning. Scores of other programs that have not yet been evidence tested exist.
Primarily created by child-development experts, educators, and university-based academics, these programs offer a range of curricula to suit many different school contexts. Alongside them is a body of policies and practices developed by educational institutions for nesting any chosen program comprehensively into a school culture, in-class and out, with buy-in from all stakeholders.
“I like it because it really helps the people in a class room calm down and stop all the bullying. It really helped because a lot of bullying has stopped in the school.”
Grade 6, Marcus Garvey School Student
The program developers and policy and practice institutions constitute an industry without an industry association that can make the American public aware of these programs.
The Big EQ Campaign was created to fill this massive and unhelpful gap in public knowledge of the demonstrable benefits of SEL.
By vigorously promoting the mass adoption of evidence-based SEL in schools without favoring any specific program, and by doing so independently of the industry of these small companies and organizations, The Big EQ Campaign expects to be associated in the public mind with credibly raising the EQ (and RQ, for relationship intelligence) of the public as a whole as SEL and emotional intelligence awareness spreads among the public.
Remember the extensive “Got Milk?” advertising campaign which didn’t favor any single brand of milk? Think of this as the “Got SEL and EQ?” campaign – with the difference that we are also educating the public about the very existence of social and emotional learning opportunities.
Social media and mass advertising is the way we intend to do this. Why? Because in our view SEL represents the most promising existing tool and skillset available to elevate education, human life and society to a higher, more positive level. And the public needs to know about it.