St. Columb’s College take the lead teaching pupils Emotional Intelligence

Fiona Condren, Founder of Emotions Matters has spent the last number of weeks at St Columb’s College teaching Year 8 pupils how to manage their emotions in healthy ways.

Fiona said she is delighted that schools are beginning to recognise the importance of teaching this valuable information to their pupils.

Derry Ironman and mental health campaigner Danny Quigley and Mayor Graham Warke also met with the pupils.

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Fiona stated that as a society we prioritise IQ but little priority is given to EQ.

Mayor Graham Warke with Year 8 students at St. Columb's College, who took part in the "Emotions Matters" event held in St. Columb's College. Seated, on left, are Brian Keys, vice-principal, Fiona Condren, founder of Emotions Matters and standing on right is Danny Quigley, tri-athlete and fundraiser. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

She said that EQ is a skill, it is not something we are born with and it doesn’t come naturally. herefore we need to provide this education and learning.

Fiona states people who are emotionally intelligent know how they are feeling, understand why they feel a certain way, recognise the impact it has on them and others and know what action they need to take to help themselves feel better. They use their emotions to guide their decisions, actions and behaviour. They do not allow their emotions to control them.

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Young people with higher EQ levels are more confident, happy and assertive, she said, adding that they are able to cope better with tough times, have lower stress levels. They also have less mental health difficulties, are less impulsive, able to manage conflict better, make better decisions, develop and maintain positive relationships and it reduces the likihood of them engaging in risk taking behaviour.

Fiona stated that it is so important that this vital information is taught in school “because people who are unable to manage their emotions tend to reach for easy quick fixes to help themselves feel better in the form of alcohol and drugs and its important we break this cycle”.

Fiona Condren, founder of Emotions Matters, giving a talk to Year 8 students at St. Columb's College, at the "Emotions Matters" event held in St. Columb's College. Included is Brian Keys, vice-principal. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

“As a society old traditional views on emotions have taught us that they are in some way bad and negative so people have learnt to shut their emotions down and bottle but we now know this can lead to emotional and mental suffering in adulthood

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“Again it’s important that we break this stigma and cycle particularly for boys and men by teaching them the importance of being able to manage their emotions in healthy ways.”

Fiona said that her Year 8 pupils were a pleasure to teach. “To say that I was proud was an understatement. These boys started with no knowledge of EQ – Emotional Intelligence – managing their emotions in healthy ways and the learning they have acquired and retained has been amazing. These are the new generation of young men that I want to see coming forward who know the importance of accepting/ expressing their emotions, not bottling them up and burying their head in sand.

“Evaluation forms conclude that 100% of the pupils felt they benefited from this training and felt it should be taught in all schools.”

Mayor Graham Warke with tri-athlete and fundraiser Danny Quigley at the "Emotions Matters" event held in St. Columb's College. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)
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Among the pupils feedback were the comments: ‘I now know it is not a sign of weakness expressing my emotions’; ‘I can use my tools to help me feel better when I’m sad, disappointed and angry’; ‘I now know why I lose control and get so angry sometimes. I know how to calm myself down when I flip my lid’.

Fiona said feedback has been overwhelming and she encourages all schools to prioritise this training because EQ also matters for learning, adding that if pupils are in their emotional brain in school, they are not able to focus and concentrate, make good choices/ decisions and see things from other people’s point of view, which not only impacts negatively on their ability to reach their full potential academically but also impacts on their behaviour and relationships in school.

*You can find out more about Emotions Matter training on Facebook or contact Fiona directly on 07715834567.