Habits, Community, and Culture: Laying the Foundation for Emotional Intelligence

Habits, Community, and Culture: Laying the Foundation for Emotional Intelligence

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>>Aukeem Ballard: Today we’ll be having
some conversations that are going to take some courage for
us to participate in.>>Student: Some kids get out of school,
go home, just to strictly do work. I don’t have the same privileges,
because I need to go help my parents. Having this responsibility is kind
of harder on me just because I have to worry about grades and getting
into college and going to work just to actually help my parents out.>>Aukeem Ballard: We have
put a stake in the ground around building the whole student. Once a week students go through
a curriculum meant to build out their capacity for emotional
intelligence, habits of success, community, and building culture. Once we have those tools we are better
equipped to navigate the next part of our journey as well as right now.>>Penelope Pak McMillen:
Our school’s mission is to prepare a diverse student population
for success in a four-year university, but it isn’t just about making sure
that our kids have content knowledge, that they can critically think. To truly be a thoughtful, contributing
member of society you need to be able to have emotional intelligence, to
understand people who are different from you, to have a wide perspective.>>Aukeem Ballard: What is your story? What are stories that
others have told about you?>>I teach “Habits, Community, Culture”.>>All right. What did we discuss?>>This is essentially a course that
seeks to grow students’ capacity to own, understand, articulate, and practice
emotional intelligence skills, critical habits of success, as
well as build a thriving community.>>Aukeem Ballard: We’re going
to do mindfulness practice. You’re going to want your
feet shoulder-width apart. It’s going to start with breathing
exercise, but then it’s going to go into a little bit of, like,
mindful movement practice. Eyes closed.>>Kiran: We usually open
up the class with a five to ten-minute exercise in mindfulness.>>Aukeem Ballard: The
mindfulness practice is more of the concrete practicing of some
of the emotional intelligence skills.>>Take a deep breath in.>>Especially self-awareness
and self-management.>>And out. You’re just going to focus on your
breath and trying to hold the focus.>>It’s more about giving the students
space and opportunity to kind of quiet down for themselves and reflect
on where they’re at with things.>>Whatever you’re feeling simply
acknowledge it without judgement.>>Kiran: The ability to step back
from our day-to-day rush and, like, really reflect into ourselves
about how were we feeling, are we okay with how we’re doing?>>Because we’ve given time to this,
students come in and say, “Mr. B, tell me we’re doing mindfulness, because I got some stuff
I need to think through.”>>That’s the goal: You can
recognize and manage your emotions!>>We’re going to do some group in small
works and really hear people’s stories and give space for their stories. Make sure your chairs are
actually in a circle as long as everyone is facing everyone.>>Aukeem Ballard: Those small
group conversations that we have, part of the background intent is
strengthening the empathy ability because one of the emotional
intelligence skills is being able to recognize the emotions
of others in the room.>>Geoffrey: When I go into a store a
person told me to empty out my backpack, because he thought I stole something. But I didn’t have anything at all. And then I had a police stop
just asking me what am I doing. I would just be like, “I’m
just coming back from school.” And it’s kind of hard to see how, like, even when someone’s dressed differently
how, like, you can get judged on that, even though you try to do your best. You know?>>Geoffrey: It’s important to talk
about, you know, the struggles in life, because it clears the mind and then you
feel like you’re ready to start again.>>Kiran: You really do need a lot of
emotional intelligence for that class, because these are all, like, a
lot of personal stories coming out about people’s identities. Because of the social and emotional
awareness that we are taught in HCC, I’m able to develop stronger
relationships with my peers at Summit.>>Aukeem Ballard: Now stand in a
circle while we do our brief shout-out. It’s appreciation, apology, or aha. My aha is that a lot of folks in
here have pieces to their story that they may think aren’t important
parts, but actually important parts.>>We usually have some
sort of closing activity and it really plays a special role
when you’ve gone through something that is emotionally difficult
for some people in the room.>>So, can we get a few people to shout-out an appreciation,
apology, or aha?>>Student: I’d like to appreciate Brenda for facilitating the
conversation in our small group.>>Student: I’d like to thank everyone for taking this class
seriously for all the stories.>>Carlos: I apologize
for having my headphones in half of the time to everyone.>>Aukeem Ballard: Thanks
a lot of that, Carlos. That means a lot.>>Those types of appreciations or community recognitions can go
a long way to build the bonds.>>Janet: We all are striving to,
like, become good students and, like, just do well in our community. If you’re able to understand
people at a younger age, you could probably work
better with them as adults. That kind of just changes how
the future generations will be. Like, people can be more accepting,
more helpful towards each other.>>Aukeem Ballard: They are
going to the outside world, which I have no control over, and I
want to give them every chance possible to soar and swim and play around
in the pool if they want to.


  1. This is a beautiful thing. Teaching empathy, integrity, compassion, critical thinking, and communication skills will benefit people throughout their lives, in every aspect of life, as well as the potential ripple effects on families, communities, etc.

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