Surpassing Standards in the Elementary Classroom: Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement through Educational Drama by Lee R. Chasen
In an effort to assist with what the author believes is a disconnect between what we learn and how we act, Lee Chasen offers an alternative to instruction that allows students to include their emotions in hopes of matching content standards to emotional intelligence. In Surpassing Standards in the Elementary Classroom, Chasen provides readers with a thorough description of his programs so that they may step outside of their comfort zones and restructure their classrooms and instructional approaches to increase student achievement.
Chasen cites violent incidents at schools and among school-aged children as one rationale for teaching emotional intelligence in the schools, and he is certainly correct to be concerned about it. A 1997 Survey by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (as cited in McCarthy, 2001) reported that students admitted to an increase in fighting, alcohol consumption, weapon possession, drug use, sexual activity, thoughts of suicide, and dropping out of school. She argued that these statistics are a cry for schools to supply emotional help for students. More recently, the 2007 Unicef report Child Poverty in Perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries: A comprehensive assessment of the lives and well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations (as cited in Bronson and Merryman, 2009) shows the United States ranked at the bottom in all six dimensions of child well-being.
The importance of Chasen's book must be placed in the context of the role of emotional intelligence in schools. Emotional intelligence is considered a broader term than our traditional global intelligence as measured by an IQ test. Goleman (as cited in McCarthy, 2001) started the emotional intelligence movement when he suggested that it was a better measure of human intelligence than IQ scores. Goleman (1997) defined emotional intelligence as the ability to manage feelings and express them appropriately and effectively, thus enabling people to work together. Chasen uses Salovey and Sluyter's (1997) definition of emotional intelligence as "the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth" (p. 14). McCarthy (2001) believes that in order for students to become successful in life, schools have to attend to more than just academics. Scientific research indicates that the formative years from birth to late teens are the when emotional skills are formed. That is a strong argument for including such skills in the curriculum and our educational system.
Chasen's book is organized into three parts: (1) Empowering Thought and Feeling; (2) The Literacy Express: An Integrated Approach to English Language Arts Instruction; and (3) Building Community, Character, and Social Skills: An Integrated Approach to Social Studies Curriculum. Each part is then divided into chapters titled for easy access to that information.
This review is organized by the book's sections and chapters and...