Tag Archive: emotional intelligence

Music, Brain Development & Personality

In the first few years of life, each child’s brain develops complex network of brain structures and schemas that lay the foundation of more mature processes such as emotional development, facilitate decision making and shape the persona. Experiences of children during preadolescence and adolescence greatly impact their later lives,  affected by the architecture of their brains. This also impacts their future learning skills and capacities.

According to a major research by Janet DiPietro (2000), during the years between 9-13, a child’s brain starts a process during which it eliminates unnecessary neural connections and schemas and starts focussing on the maintenance of the associations that it uses. These associations are made very rapidly based on the child’s environment and even small stimuli that a child comes in contact with.Music and Personality development

The importance of music and its role in a child’s brain development and personality development is an important debate in education psychology today. Music is universal and cross-cultural studies show that all children who are given exposuree to music have faster brain development with stronger neural connection and better emotional development. Brain reacts to music to de-stress thus leading to better stress management capabilities and reduces cases of depression and anxiety. Music therapy is an upcoming concept becoming more and more popular and successful in helping children cope with stress and anxiety.

Music and language have always been used as modes of expression. There is music to express any kind of emotion and feelings. Music has the capability to encourage creativity and intellectual development of a child.

Music also activates the right hemisphere of the brain, thus impacting right side processes such as creativity, artistic expression, musical intelligence, intuition, expression of emotions, reading/recognizing other’s emotions, recognizing faces and color etc. Thus, it becomes imperative to add music to children’s routine activities and life, stimulating their brains and intellectual development.

At Smart Shrubs, music, dramatics and aesthetics module focuses on training participants make use of music and aesthetics to cope with stress, stimulate creativity and make it a part of their routine perception, thus shaping their personalities and decision making capabilities.

 

Culture and Child Development

Culture is most commonly defined as set of ideas, behaviours, values, beliefs, traditions and attitudes that exist and are followed by large group of people usually living in a similar society, in a given time frame and coming in contact with similar circumstances. ‘ Cultural Values’ as we refer to it are usually passed on from generation to generation. They become the typical means in which we give upbringing to our children.

Any society undergoes a cultural shift from time to time, specially with changes in technology and mobilisation of parents. For example, you may have noticed that parents who have moved out of the country because of their jobs or have chosen to immigrate, their children usually follow the cultural norms of the adopted country/city but at home they are taught the same values as their parents have been. With internet being accessible, smart phones, play stations etc. one can notice that the playing behaviour of children has changed over time and just over one generation; and because of the exposure, children are ‘growing up faster’, and by that I mean they are becoming more mature in some ways and losing out on learning on others. Thus culture and child development are closely related.Culture

Cultural bearings also have an important effect on the communication skills and communication patterns of children. By this, we don’t only refer to the language they speak, but also the non verbal language and the nuances and acceptable and unacceptable behaviours and words. The intrinsic attitude that is imbibed during communication with others is loaded with the culture the speaker has learnt. The interpretation by the receiver is also unconsciously affected by the cultural background. Thus there will always be some loss of message unless we form strict rules or become part of the same organization and learn the new ‘sub-culture’.

It becomes important to have preadolescents and adolescents become aware about how culture affects their self concept. There is an important link between self and culture. It plays an important role in formation of self identity and attributes. Children are born with no culture at all. It is when they come in contact with the social surroundings as they grow up, they learn to define their world, and thus culture and place themselves in this world, forming their self concept and identity.

Culture comprises of a lot of symbols–like language, traditions etc. Culture, its meaning and understanding–the immediate environment, the geographical and then the concepts that are taken as universal are pivotal and affect development of emotions, behaviour patterns, thought patterns, decision making capabilities leadership skills and  long term visions and trajectories as well as self esteem and formation of self.

At Smart Shrubs, we understand how important this is in a child’s development. Thus we focus on the overall theme of culture and help our participants understand the essence and fundamentals so that their mind becomes free of the shackles and they reach a stage of self development from where they can make fair choices.

Leadership

When asked to define Leadership, Peter Drucker famously said, “management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”. The most successful leaders have a vision and an insight into the needs of the environment. But what is the right recipe of a successful leader? None. Every child has a unique personality that gives an ability to perceive the environment from a certain vantage point. When we can develop is the self awareness, social awareness and how to make effective use of communication and personality capabilities.

There are many different leadership styles. Each style will be most appropriate for different audiences, followers and situations. The goal is the most important for an effective leader. To achieve the goal successfully, it is as important that the trajectory for the achievement of growth path is right.LEadership

Most recently, researchers have pointed out that while at one end of the spectrum lies having complete authority and control over people and situation, the other end signifies too much of freedom to followers (which often leads to chaos). There needs to be a balance on this spectrum and what is known as command and collaborate style of leadership. Command and collaborate are contradictory terms,  but each leader today needs to engage in both. According to the situation, there must be a flexibility to either become a hard wired, authoritative leader who resolves the problem and presents the solution, collaboration would entail brain storming and being a good listener to reach the most creative solution to any problem and taking the final decision.

Leaders must be consistent with their espoused values and visible traits. Successful leaders need to have a balance EQ, SQ and IQ. A good leader would work on his/her strengths and accept weak points, so that the followers or the group fill the gaps.

Leadership can be learnt and trained. A good leadership is not only needed during corporate situation, but every day life. Communication, collaboration, persistence, commitment, self awareness and motivation are some of the leadership traits that, when acquired at the right age, lead to a more effective leadership personality.

Communication-Transaction Analysis

The model of Transaction Analysis was first given by Eric Berne–a theory for analyzing the interaction between human behavior and communication. While many would believe that its most important implication lies in professional life, but nevertheless, pre-adolescents and -adolescents already show a preference to one kind or way of communication over another.

The assumptions behind the model are:

  • Everyone is both OK
  • Each person should be accepted as they are
  • People take responsibility of self
  • People modify their behavior to seek physical and emotional nurturing from others

According to the PAC model, based on the childhood experiences and role models, personality can have three ego states (ego states are one of the sources of behavior):

  • Parent Ego state (Nurturing Parent Ego State & Critical Parent Ego State)
  • Adult Ego State (Objective, Ethical in character)
  • Child Ego State ( Free Child/Natural Child Ego state & Adaptive Ego State)

Transaction Analysis takes into account the interaction between different ego states in people. There can be multiple ways or types of interactions that determine the behavior.

It is not only verbal, but non verbal or body language (known as ‘strokes’) also that form a part of interaction or communication.

An individual always works from different ego states in a lifespan or in different situations. Being aware about ego states. both of one’s own as well as others, helps determines the relevant mode of ego state communication/interaction to attain the final purpose of communication.

Emotional Intelligence

“IQ and emotional intelligence are not opposing competencies, but rather separate ones…. All of us mix IQ and emotional intelligence in varying degrees.” Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence. 

Emotional Intelligence has four fundamentals–Self awareness (the ability to identify your own emotions and their impact); self management (the ability to manage, control your emotions and behavior); social awareness (the ability to recognize and understand other’s emotions and react appropriately),  relationship management (the ability to influence and contact others).brain-20424_640

Emotional Intelligence is a personality trait that can be developed over time with right learning. Recent research shows that higher Emotional Intelligence (EI) is associated with better transition from school to University and improved graduate employability.

Emotional Intelligence is also important in order to have frank discussions and come up with new insights as well as dealing with everyday problems creatively. Researches have found out that people high in EI are better leaders since they are sensitive towards the emotionality of the environment and can communicate their messages accordingly for most apt understanding. A skillful use of EI involves both feelings and thinking.

Emotional Intelligence also plays a role in moral reasoning. Researchers have also found that people with drug abuse and addictions have very low EIs and are less emotionally healthy in comparison to those who are not.

Because of the direct (and indirect) influences of EI on different personality traits such as team work, leadership etc, and the role it plays in problem solving and being in situations dealing with people ( or even self), EI becomes an important part of one’s development. The good news is that unlike IQ which is mostly innate, EI can be developed over time with right training.