Nurturing Spiritual Intelligence in the Classroom

Nurturing Spiritual Intelligence in the Classroom

V. Vineeth Kumar (Manipal University Jaipur, India) and Geetika Tankha (Manipal University Jaipur, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6728-9.ch010
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Humans have a unique intelligence known as spiritual intelligence that tends to seek meaning and purpose in their lives, ask questions about one's existence, and render resolute conclusions to one's actions. Today, school teachings align with the industry's demands and are nurturing students' cognitive attributes. As the demand for technological innovations increases, the demand for focusing on vocational skill-focused education is also increasing. However, in the era of rapid technological innovations, nurturing the men's psyche behind the technology-driven progress is equally important. The chapter discusses the relevance of spiritual intelligence in schools. Further, the chapter explores spiritual intelligence's relationship with psychological wellbeing, mental health, quality of life (QOL), happiness, and academic performance. The way forward measures to enhance students' spiritual intelligence are also discussed for achieving students' holistic development.
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Technological innovations are dynamically altering the way people use to live, travel, and communicate. Every aspect of human life is getting altered because of new technological innovations. Artificial intelligence (AI) development has enabled systems and processes for facilitating day-to-day activities with minimum human interaction. Thus, for some, technological innovations are ‘the solution’ to most of the human problems. However, how these technological innovations are used has to be ensured. Because at the beginning and end of any technological innovation or change, there will be a human being. The psyche of human beings creating, implementing, and changing these technologies will have a significant impact not only on the system they create but also on the society and the nation. Perhaps education or schooling is the only tool that the communities have to nurture the psyche of young minds driving these technological revolutions of the future.

In primitive times, the primary purpose of education was to teach self-preservation skills and nothing else. However, in modern times education is an essential tool to bring specific desirable changes to the students. In these modern times, the purpose of education is to enable the students to live a purposeful and meaningfully satisfying life with well-developed analytic, emotional, and spiritual qualities. Furthermore, facilitating them in acquiring a perspective in life helps them meet the larger world with higher self-confidence and self-awareness.

Thus, education and educators’ roles cannot be taken lightly if we wish to prepare students’ current generation for a fulfilling life and make them happy and satisfied both personally and professionally. The fundamental aim of education should be to educate so that the individual is ready to receive and give back to society in a meaningful and constructive way. To fulfill the above aim, the students should have analytical skills (Intelligence Quotient), emotional maturity and balance (Emotional Quotient), and the ability to create inner synergy and develop a socially relevant purpose in life (Spiritual Quotient). Such education has to be multifaceted and includes social, emotional, and academic development (SEAD) practices that equip individuals to meet competition challenges at an intellectual level by achieving grades with the modern syllabi and technology grounded in social-emotional learning (SEL) skills. Next, SEAD education must nurture abilities to withstand the blows of failure and winds of success in a balanced and mature manner. Lastly, the student should move ahead of these individual goals to the stage of self-realization and satisfaction of contributing to the broader community.” Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD) is, in other words, the integration of five SEL skills - Self-awareness; Self-management; Social awareness; Relationship skills; and Responsible decision-making, into the academic system to reinforce more equitable and human-centered educational environments (Aspen Institute, 2019). The implementation of SEAD practices is aimed to increase social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, a lifelong process through which all people learn and apply culturally responsive, “knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions” (CASEL,2020). By implementing SEAD practices into school processes and policies, its educators, staff, students, parents/families, and community members have the opportunity to practice SEL skills throughout their day consistently.

Thus, education needs to be a mix of both emotional and spiritual intelligence (SI) skills. Both emotional quotient and spiritual quotient can be developed through the SEAD (Social Emotional and Academic Development) based practices. They have similar core competencies like self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and responsible decision making. Such education will make them a complete person and holistically develop their personality through the social and emotional learning-based curriculum. Individuals nurtured in this way will become competent to think holistically and compassionately. Thus, enabling them to transcend the barriers of individual and small personal goals.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Academic Performance: The student’s assessment is based on the scores or grades achieved in the different study courses during the school and college years.

Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is also known as the emotional quotient (EQ). It is the ability to recognize and manage one’s own emotions, adapt to the environment, and empathize with others. It consists of five major components: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills.

Happiness: A mental state of positive and pleasant emotions and feelings due to the experience of satisfaction with the prevailing life conditions. It can be both short term and long term.

Adaptation: Ability to modify and change oneself to align with the surrounding environment or life demands.

Mental Health: The emotional, social, and behavioral well-being in an individual’s life.

Resilience: It is an Individual’s ability to cope with adverse events and make a comeback or spring back in life after facing tough times.

Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD): SEAD is the integration of five social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, namely self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

Quality of Life: It is an individual’s self-perception about their well-being and satisfaction on a physical, psychological, social, and environmental level in the context of their culture.

Spiritual Intelligence: It is an individual’s capacity to possess a socially relevant purpose in life by understanding ‘self’ and to have a high degree of conscience, compassion, and commitment to human values.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

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