"Emotional Intelligence" in the Classroom: An Aristolian Critique

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Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

A recent trend in moral education, social and emotional learning, incorporates the mantra of emotional intelligence (EI) as a key element in an extensive programof character building. In making his famous claim that the good life would have to include appropriate emotions, Aristotle obviously considered the schooling of emotions to be an indispensable part of moral education. However, in this essay Kristján Kristjánsson casts doubt on the assumption that Aristotelians should approve of the clarion call for EI, as understood by Daniel Goleman and the proponents of social and emotional learning, in the classroom. Various marked differences between EI and Aristotelian emotional virtue are highlighted and explored. Kristjánsson argues that the claims of EI lack moral ballast and that when this fact is added to an existing heap of educational problems attached to the implementation of EI programs, educators had better rethink their reliance on EI as a model of emotion cultivation, and perhaps revert to the teachings of Aristotle himself.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Theory
Volume56
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006