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Developing Emotional and Social Intelligence for a Liberal Arts Education


The argument on how one’s emotional and social intelligence is an important part of a liberal arts education remains multifaceted as the debate in researches and other social platforms. Beginning with emotional intelligence, a liberal arts education require individuals to have the ability of perceiving aspects of education accurately, appraise them in different context and express emotions that suit decision making processes. The aim of this paper is to provide an understanding on emotional and social intelligence as related to a liberal arts education.

The conceptualization of emotional intelligence implies that one needs to have the inner ability to access or generate feelings that facilitate the process of learning and accommodating others within their environment. One core value of a liberal education is that it is a well framed approach of learning seeking to empower learners and prepare them to deal with diversity, complexity, and different changes in their environment. Therefore, having emotional intelligence will necessitate learners’ ability to have broad knowledge of their wider world as well as in-depth conceptualization of specific area of their interests. One critical feature of emotional intelligence that applies to the core value of liberal education is that emotional intelligence when possessed will facilitate thinking. The aspect of learners decision making processes will be based on emotional intelligence to an extent that they will not only be making well-informed decisions but acts as alerting systems that defines actions that learners take with tenets of liberal education acquired. Finally, emotional intelligence helps in liberal education by equipping learners with the ability to generate emotions when such emotions are on demand and as such, they will be understood better. For instance, when learners are asked, ‘how does the character in the novel or story feel?’ their emotional intelligence will help them generate the feelings within themselves so as to put themselves in the same context as the character thus providing suitable responses.

On the same breath, the connectedness between a liberal arts education and social intelligence continues to grow. The definition of social intelligence has been seen in terms of behaviors that serve people’s goals within a given societal setting. Relating this definition within the context of a liberal art education, social intelligence is regarded as the learners’ inert ability and adaptability to different social contexts so that processes of art education can be holistic (one which is free and views every member of the society as equal and deserves respect). In today’s liberal education demands, where people should skillfully cooperate with or oversee others with different social interactions and social foundations, there is need to develop social intelligence that would likely enhance authority strategies and preparing mediations, subsequently giving an aggressive edge to people and partnerships in the processes of teaching and learning liberal arts education. One key attribute that is required of liberal arts education graduates is the ability to have social transferable skills to enable them adapt and accept divergent social views and changing workplace social orientations.


Conclusively, this essay has noted that the concept regarding emotional and social intelligence development need to recognize specific needs of individuals on equal measure. As a result of these positions social intelligence will be precursors for individuals who aim to interact with people from different social orientations or those in need of managing social differences effectively. Again, social intelligence enables a liberal arts education to create a process of understanding interpersonal social situations so that the system can effectively and appropriately relate with each other.