How Learning Languages Enhances our EQ

Updated: 25/01/2021

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Helping each other creates better and faster results for all
Emotional intelligence or E.Q is the lesser appreciated metric compared to I.Q, that everyone is familiar with and judged by. According to HJR Global, “ EQ is one of the most important traits you can look for when trying to determine the future leadership of your company”.

One of the biggest differences between E.Q and I.Q, while the latter is a fixed number, we can work on our emotional skills and improve them. This brings a series of benefits including improved relationships, leading to new opportunities, faster results and also happiness. Having a high EQ usually entails being more grateful of what we are, what we have and what we are part of. Essentially, the higher your EQ, the happier your life is. 

This is fantastic news for ESL learners. Language learning and EQ are quite closely related and if you’ve always learned foreign languages, you may not have even realised it.

Here are some ways that learning a new linguistic code helps us increase our E.Q:

Active Listening
When was the last time you sat down and gave someone your undivided attention? This basic human interaction has become somewhat of a luxury which is a terrible shame because both parties are missing out. 
When you listen to someone exclusively, you put yourself in a state of selflessness. When you consider someone’s words, actions, achievements or problems, you are considering their wellbeing and demonstrating that openly. This builds empathy, both personally and in the relationship. 

Another aspect to consider is the more selfish side. When you listen to others, it’s very easy to judge and react instinctively. Part of increasing your EQ is recognising when you are judging and learning to let it go. In order to do this, realise when you are passing judgement and allow it to disappear, just as quickly as it came to you. 

Teaching is sharing and caring
We all remember our favourite teachers and how they made us feel but have you ever considered how your teacher felt?
Tutoring can often be challenging but it is also incredibly rewarding. The sensation and satisfaction a person receives when they have managed to help someone overcome a difficulty or achieve a goal, can be overwhelming, especially when working with children or people with learning difficulties.

Furthermore, teaching is not just about a transfer of knowledge between two parties. It’s also about building rapport, connection and trust between people and the greater community. This forces educators to be considerate and sensitive to differences which can be cultural or social for example, all of which, hightens our emotional sensitivity. 

Finally, let's not forget that we are all teachers to some degree. We impact those around us to some extent which also means we have a moral responsibility towards each other, another reason why E.Q is fundamental in today’s globalised world. 


Learning is humbling 
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the student. We often hear people say that we should be learning continuously, that there is always something new to learn and emotional intelligence is no different. In fact, it is a relatively new skill that we are beginning to prioritise and develop.

When you are a student of any subject, you place yourself in a “subjected” position - you are the “weaker” person in the relationship in a sense, in the hands of the master. By accepting you do not possess all of the knowledge and all of the answers, you put yourself in a state of humility and acceptance, allowing you to learn and acquire much faster.

The same can be said of the tutor in this case, who should be humble enough to appreciate they are not the source of all knowledge but rather a guide and a fellow student themselves. 

Humility is a key factor of EQ.

Is the topic of E.Q something you have already considered? If so, how are you addressing it and if not, do you believe in its importance? 

What we do know is that more formal E.Q practices are being developed and deployed in ever more companies as they prepare the next generation of managers and leaders.


Written by Steve

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