An emotional intelligence/aesthetic education program using The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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Date: November-December 2014
From: Childhood Education(Vol. 90, Issue 6)
Publisher: Association for Childhood Education International
Document Type: Case study
Length: 4,174 words
Lexile Measure: 1430L

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Literature that explores children's lives can be a valuable tool in teacher education programs, as an effective means for helping preservice teachers understand young children's development of emotional intelligence. It is critically important that preservice teachers enhance their understanding of themselves as well as others if they are to successfully facilitate social emotional learning (SEL) among their students. SEL is an important component for success in school, social adaptation at home, and the public good of society. This article discusses the quality indicators of a SEL program as part of a teacher education curriculum and its implementation within a school setting. It implies the importance of school and community collaborations in attaining an emotionally intelligent school culture.

"Serendipity" means a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise," the unanticipated phenomenon of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it. An experience I had on the way back from an international educational summer conference proved to be most serendipitous for me and for the students, teachers, and administrators of an inner-city elementary school in New York. A last-minute schedule change to my trip provided a one-day layover in Amsterdam. A visit to the Anne Frank House seemed like an optimal way to utilize this "happy accident" and ultimately led to my including The Diary of a Young Girl (Frank & Pressler, 1991) in my child development class for the upcoming fall semester.

I have always incorporated literature about the lives of children in my teacher education courses. Following the arc of emotional intelligence (EI) development in a protagonist can be valuable for preservice teachers. EI refers to the ability to identify emotional information, reason about emotions, and use emotions to solve life problems (Mayer, Caruso, Panter, & Salovey, 2012). It is critically important to the understanding of oneself and the understanding of others. The ability to judge emotional situations and identify effective strategies for managing emotions is an important component for success in school, social adaptation in the home, and for the public good of society (Kremenitzer, Lopes, Mestre, Guil, & Salovey, 2011). The Salovey and Mayer model of El (Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Salovey & Mayer, 1990) is an abilities model with a strong research base that explores the following four elements: 1) recognizing emotions, 2) understanding emotions, 3) labeling emotions, and 4) managing/ regulating emotions. The Diary offers many insights into Anne's emotional development over the two-year period she spent in hiding from the Nazis during World War II, with many rich examples showing the progression of these four EI elements.

A few months after my return from Amsterdam, I happened to notice an article in The New York Times about a sapling project that the Anne Frank Center USA was undertaking. Branches from the famous chestnut tree mentioned in The Diary were going to be planted in key locations such as the White House and at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City. The Anne Frank Center USA is an American organization located...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A393988537