Soft skills and emotional intelligence for teachers and education staff

The training held on 31.10. - 6.11. 2021 in the lovely city of Bologna focused primarily on soft skills, that is, knowledge that we’d have difficulty acquiring through formal education, but which is key and prerequisite to successful work - especially when working with people.

The key words of the training were: cooperation and empathy, and through implementing those we covered the issues of assertive communication, teamwork and leadership, conflict management, emotional intelligence, nonverbal communication, and public speaking.

Through the subject of assertive communication, we covered different styles of communication, ranging from passive through aggressive to assertive where the emphasis was on how to successfully say no. We have clarified the issue of conflict by explaining types of conflicts, to the reasons why they occur and the use of conflicts as opportunities and styles of dealing with them.

Teamwork on the other hand was covered through various confidence building activities with the participants of the training and through the prism of good leadership - Goleman’s leadership styles and reflection on one’s own superiors. We connected the idea of nonverbal communication as a means of communication through which we receive 2/3 of all information and advice for successful decoding with public speaking - giving speeches and evaluating aspects of a successful speech; speech preparation, structuring, use of silence and audience, etc.

Each of these individual skills can be applied in multiple ways - from communicating with our students, where assertive communication, coping with conflict, and public speaking particularly stand out as important, not only when we teach but also when we communicate with one other.

I would particularly like to emphasize the importance of exercises that were based on teamwork and leadership – where we can act as leaders to our colleagues and students - who depend on our experiences and knowledge.

How to say no and a successful assertive attitude are skills that are of great importance not only to me personally, but also to our team where in addition to sharing various ideas with each other, we are in contact with students who sometimes don’t understand why something can’t go exactly the way they want it to. Exactly for these reasons – when someone else’s opinion is valued and respected but when we cannot please everyone, it is important to know how to set healthy boundaries and by using empathy and emotional intelligence to ensure both sides are satisfied with the outcome.

Public speaking is one of the key skills for all our teachers, unfortunately currently limited due to the epidemiological situation, but perhaps exactly why it was useful to freshen up my knowledge of how body language, voice, eye contact and gesturing help to establish a positive relationship and trust.

A unique opportunity to exchange ideas with people from all over Europe, including Estonia, the Czech Republic, England, Hungary, Turkey and Germany, going to Bologna was interesting not only in a professional way where I expanded my perception of the importance of emotional intelligence, empathy, teamwork and cooperation but also in a personal way because I got acquainted with the lively Italian culture and way of living that left its mark in my future thoughts on how to work and perform.

Natalija Benić

Project partners:
The Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes

ELA Teacher Trainings

The project is funded by the European Union. Erasmus+ : Enriching lives, opening minds.

Step Up – KA 1 Erasmus+ projekt