Category: Uncategorized

Ignition Moments

by Dr. Paul T. Criss, Dean – Memphis/DeSoto

Students are coming to your classroom each night internally asking a lot of questions. Questions like: What is important for me? What are my immediate needs? What will be my future needs? Which call do I answer (passion)? How do I do good (purpose)? How do I engage in personal development? What is the right trajectory for me? What are my personal goals?

One of the ways we can begin to address their questions is to develop a strong culture on our campuses. A Harvard Study discovered that building a strong culture increases success by 765 percent over a ten year period. Daniel Coyle in The Culture Code stated, “Real power of the interaction is located in two-way emotional signaling. It creates an atmosphere of connections that surrounds the conversations.” Dr. Rick Upchurch sums this idea up in stating “all of life boils down to relationships.” To accomplish these connections and conversations, we have to be intentional. We have to allow students to become emotionally invested to spark a personal desire to change habits.

Dr. Mark Kay Park illustrated this with an account of what became the Community Led Total Sanitation Program in Bangladesh. The leaders had provided villages with new stainless latrines, but the inhabitants were not using them. CLTS realized that they need to spark a desire in the culture to change habits. The needed what they called an “ignition moment” to allow the community to take responsibility. To accomplish this they needed every member of the community to become emotionally invested in the goal. The send sent facilitators into each of the villages who had members of the community draw a map on the dirt ground. They then had them use yellow chalk dust to mark on the map the communal defecation area. They asked them where they defecated when it was inconvenient to go to the communal area, when they could not make it to the area, or when they were simply ill. Eventually the entire map was covered with yellow dust. They asked the villagers if they had ever seen flies in the communal area and if flies had ever landed on their food. They helped them to make the connection between flies spreading disease and members of the community contracting disease. The villagers emotional response to being the ones responsible for the spreading of disease in the community motivated them to follow sanitary procedures and utilized the latrines. It was their “ignition moment” to work for change. No new information was presented, yet it changed their behavior because it connected to their emotions.

The same idea can help our students persevere to the end. What will their “ignition moment” be? How will you introduce it to them? We need to think about problems that no one want to discuss and to help others see the truth. That “ignition moment” may not only the change the trajectory of their life and career, it may also change their family’s legacy. The most powerful change happens when our students discover the truth for themselves. Magical moments like these can change a student’s personal perspective.

To provide these “peak” – “ignition” – “magical moments,” we will need to cultivate a strong culture in our classrooms. Three basic actions that we can take to cultivate this kind of culture are to build safety, share vulnerability, and establish purpose. A safe community allows academic freedom to discuss these hard issues balanced by the Christian Worldview and this will generate bonds of belonging. Those who share vulnerability bump up performance by 24% and this explains how the habits of mutual risk together drive trusting cooperation. Finally, establishing purpose within the classroom drives everyone to go in the same direction together. This can be engendered in the classroom by encapsulating purpose into stories that drive shared values and shared goals. It is appropriate to be motivational in the classroom and to share inspirational stories. Be encouraging.

Dr. Park closed the 2018 CAHEA Conference with two insightful Illustrations. The first was about Dr. Alfred Tomatis who developed the Tomatis Method. He was an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor whose theory stated that many vocal problems were really hearing problems. An opera singer came to him who had lost their voice. He did not believe that it was a vocal cord issue. He performed a different kind of check-up and discovered that inside the opera singer’s skull, the ears were experiencing 140 decibel sound – louder than a military fighter jet – and that the singer was being deafened by his own voice. He theorized on the reason for selective deafness and selective muteness – the voice can only produce what the ear can hear.

The second illustration was about Krakatoa – a volcano that erupted in the Indonesian Island Arc. In 1883, rancher in Australia heard the boom some 2800 miles away. The volcanic island erupted at 310 decibels and caused 120 feet tall tidal waves. It was felt around the world, even in the opposite point of the world, Colombia, South America.

From these two illustrations, we can derive a few points of reflection for those of us teaching in the adult studies classroom. First, do we experience a spiritual Tomatis Effect – are we deafened by our own voice? Or is God’s voice the loudest in our life? Are we passing on what we hear from Him? I have always been fascinated by the account of Elijah after his personal “pity” party. The account states, The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 12:11-12, New International Version) The ambient sound at your local Starbucks is 70 decibels (ambient sound makes your creative juices flow), but a whisper is 15 decibels. I think the reason God whispers is because it causes us to lean in and be close to Him. We need this proximity to hear and understand the word He would have us share with our students. The second from Krakatoa is to be sensitive to what God is igniting in the hearts of your students that may one day be felt around the world. What does God want to share through you that will spark that “ignition moment?”

Business Program Review

Dr. Chip Mason presented the annual outcomes report for the Business Programs at Belhaven University today in a webinar format. In that presentation he shared the basic structure of each of the business programs and how they are evaluated/assessed.  Belhaven’s business programs are accredited through the International Accreditation Council of Business Education (IACBE).  The key learning outcomes for all the business programs are:

  • Recognize/Solve Problems
  • Integrate Theory/Practice in Strategic Analysis
  • Master quantitative methods in analysis of business situations
  • Communicate clearly both orally and in writing
  • Work effectively with teams on various projects
  • Identify and analyze ethical obligations and responsibilities of business within the context of a Christian world view

Our programs are:

  • MBA: 36 credit hours, requires a 3.0GPA and no more than 2 ‘C’ grades: Assessment: Passing score on Comp exam
  • MSL: 36 credit hours, requires a 3.0GPA and no more than 2 ‘C’ grades: Assessment: Leadership development project
  • MPA: 36 credit hours, requires a 3.0GPA and no more than 2 ‘C’ grades: Assessment: Combination of program evaluation and tests
  • BBA: 48 credit hour business core: Assessment: Peregrine Tests & Capsim
  • BSM: 45 credit hour business core: Assessment: Capsim, Synthesis Paper, & Peregrine Samples

Dr. Mason then went over the results of the assessments for each of the business programs. He discussed course modifications and strategies for improving the scores.  Overall he expressed satisfaction with the programs in general, although he noted a few areas which need attention, specifically related to quantitative courses in the BBA and MBA programs.

Sadly, the recording of the webinar stopped after 8 minutes so I cannot link it here.  If you have any questions related to the webinar or specific assessments, please contact Dr. Mason.




Academic Rigor

What is Academic Rigor? I suspect that the definition of that phrase is somewhat nebulous in most of our minds. When we do think about academic rigor, we tend to think in terms of extensive and/or weighty assignments that “really make the students work.”  Some will equate the phrase with a harsh grading of those “weighty assignments,” or any assignments for that matter. Others will  also include a classroom environment which is suitably “serious” and “no-nonsense.”

None of these, however, address the case for academic rigor. Without understanding the philosophy behind the call for academic rigor, it can quickly devolve to the concepts mentioned above. Foundational to academic rigor is the consideration of the spoken and unspoken objectives/outcomes for the course. The spoken (or listed) student outcomes for the course are included in the module.  These outcomes spell out what the student should know by the end of the course. They are course specific and the accomplishment of these outcomes is the understood reason for the course in the curriculum.

The unspoken objectives/outcomes for the course aren’t listed in the module, but are part of the overall objectives for those in the Adult Studies program, i.e. graduates should be able to:

  1. Apply learning experiences to professional and other situations
  2. Be able to articulate a Christian worldview and its implication for their home, work, and society.
  3. Demonstrate habits of clear, constructive, critical thought,
  4. Demonstrate a command of standard oral and written English.
  5. Evidence a lifestyle of moral and spiritual integrity
  6. Compete in the job market for positions in keeping with their major course of study
  7. Incorporate ongoing learning strategies toward the fulfillment of their life goals.

Achieving both sets of objectives, spoken (outcomes listed in the module) and unspoken (objectives for the Adult Studies Program) is the instructional goal. Appropriate academic rigor is that which will accomplish this goal.

This will include appropriate assignments that are focused toward the spoken objectives, but managed by faculty within the scope of the unspoken.  For instance, we fail when we grade a paper without also taking into account the writing quality (point 4 above) or whether or not it reflects “clear, constructive, critical thought” (point 3 above), etc. This applies not only to grading but to the conversations, lectures, and activities within the classroom.

Our role as teacher places us in a precarious position. In God’s eyes we carry extra responsibility for our students’ learning. For me, grading has always been the more challenging aspect of the instructional process. The temptation is to only give a cursory look at the papers to make sure the major content points have been hit. I confess to you, THAT IS WRONG AND LAZY THINKING. We owe our students and ourselves better than that. Each submission should be read and marked so that it contributes to learning as much as assessment. Each submission should be considered both for the spoken and unspoken objectives, and the grade given fairly reflects the work the student has done. Giving a good grade when the work is only average, or less, is an insult to the student and speaks poorly of our own integrity and the value we place on the role we have accepted.

I ask you to reflect on the phrase academic rigor. “Like” or make a comment in response to this post. More importantly, please consider these things when you are focusing upon academic rigor in your courses.

Why It Works – Faculty

A student walks into the classroom after working all day, comes straight to class where she will be for the next four hours before getting home around 11:00, if she’s lucky.  Hopefully her children have had a smooth evening and are asleep, otherwise it will be a really late night.  Then back up to get everyone off to school and head back to work.  Week after week, month after month, usually for two, three or four straight years.  Why, because this her route to a better life for her and her family.  She doesn’t just want the degree, she needs the options it will bring for herself and her children.

Belhaven University provides the opportunity, the path toward that better life.  The focus on a Christian Worldview which permeates the curriculum gives her more than she bargained for and its value will multiply back to her over the years.

BU and the focus on a Christian Worldview will leave a mark, but it is the Faculty who make it work.  It is the Faculty who bring themselves to the intersection of these students striving to better themselves and the course content.  It is the Faculty whose passion, faith, compassion, and knowledge make it possible for the student to be willing to persevere.  It is the Faculty who perceive their role as mentors and guides whose comments and personal discussions inspire and encourage.  It is the Faculty who see more than a paycheck; who see mission and purpose in changing lives as a calling that pass along more than the curriculum contains.

You are why it works.  Thank you.


New Dean in Atlanta & Leadership

by Dr. Kotina Hall

As the new Dean of Faculty at Belhaven Atlanta, I have found it necessary to review critical leadership practices to not only provide a renewed sense of direction, but to excite critical directives that produce sound results to ignite extraordinary possibilities. I have found Kouzes and Posner’s (1995) Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership to be the catalyst to do just that.

Kouzes and Posner introduce Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership which have proven life changing:  Inspiring a Shared Vision, Challenging the Process, Encouraging the Heart, Enabling Others to Act, and Modeling the Way. Many have tried to choose the practice they deem most viable to the success of the organization.  Consequently, I believe one cannot survive without the other. Each practice is unique in that it serves as a connector to the other and further yields results of trust, integrity, moral aptitude, a “can do” attitude, and empowerment. However, none of which is more important than the other.  Rather, each compliments as a necessity to the other for effective leadership to occur.

Effective leadership is a buzz phrase that should not be taken lightly. While everyone has the ability to lead, not everyone approaches the responsibility with purposed commitment. That commitment is usually the difference between being a good leader and being a great leader. What is the differentiator between the two? The deciding factor is understanding that our positions often equip us with breaking lives or changing lives. It is my continued goal to exercise the latter both in and outside of the University.

“The empirical literature in leadership has shown that transformational leadership is where leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality” (Burns, 1978, p. 20).  As leaders, we know it is not always an easy task to exercise each practice. Some days we just will not feel like it. It is during these times that it becomes necessary to do so anyway. Such days prove to be our discipleship test. In doing so, let us model the way of Paul and Silas, and pray anyway. Even in prison, they praised. It is necessary to understand that we are blessed to be a blessing to others.

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership are cyclic in that they are transferable to academic, personal and professional lives. Therefore, we are afforded countless opportunities to master the practices in order to effortlessly and purposely execute them. I implore each of us to continue to focus on the totality of these practices in efforts to foster life changing growth as leaders and to gain a “level of commitment, engagement, and satisfaction of those that follow.” It will not always be easy, but our walk is not designed to be.

The NEW (and Improved) Blazenet

By now many of you have had to interact with the new Blazenet and I thought I would take a few minutes in this post and give a short tour of the more important, relatively speaking, aspects of Blazenet for Faculty.

First, Blazenet is no longer the repository for Faculty Modules of the curriculum used in either our on-site or online courses.  These modules can now be found in a Faculty Module Library in Canvas.  The student modules are also no longer available on Blazenet and can be found on the Canvas course-site.  This is a big improvement regarding keeping the modules lined up with each other and with the Canvas build-out for the course.  You should automatically enrolled in the Faculty Module Library if you are scheduled to teach a course but if for some reason you don’t have access or can’t find it, contact your Dean.

Second, recording attendance in Blazenet is both the same AND different. Before attendance can be posted the first time the course has to have the gradebook set-up.  There are help videos for this which I will mention later in this post.  Once the grade book is set up, posting attendance is relatively siattendancemple: from the home page, click on “Self-Service” drop down and choose the options which gets you to “Faculty Information.”  From there click on either Class Roster or Grading and select the appropriate course.  Click on the link for Grade book and it should take you to a screen with information like in the picture on the left.  Click on Attendance and the appropriate date to record attendance.  Note that dates only show up as they arrive on the calendar.

Third, you can email one or more students from the same place you mark attendance.  Instead of clicking on Attendance choose the “Send E-Mail to Students” link.  This is helpful for keeping all communication with a student in a tracked repository in case there are any questions that arise later, e.g. grading.

Fourth, this is also where you will come to post your final grades for the course so you can be paid.

Fifth, from the menu select Faculty Homepage and you will find helpful Quick Links and, more importantly, How-To videos under the FAQ section.  Simply click on the appropriate question to discover short tutorials which answer the question.

Sixth, from the menu select Faculty Resources/Adult and Graduate to be taken to a page with a variety of resources designed to assist you.  QuickLinks, FAQs, contact information for the respective Deans, and Forms & Documents which includes the most recent Adult Studies Faculty Handbook September 2016.

If there is more information you would like to see available on Blazenet, be sure to let me know at

Teachers Guide to Using Google Forms

The article below comes from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.  They do an great job on providing information to educators about technology that will enhance the classroom experience, as well as ideas about how to use technology more effectively for teaching.

This particular article deals with Google forms.  You may remember this being touched on in one of our webinars: Google Docs in the Classroom.   Google forms is a powerful application for conducting polls, gathering information, etc.  I think if you take the time to read through this guide a lot of ideas about how you can use it will come to mind.

If you have any questions or would like some personal instruction on using google forms, or just want to brainstorm on a teaching idea, don’t hesitate to contact me:

Teachers Guide to Using Google Forms

Google Forms is a powerful tool with huge educational potential for teachers and educators. Besides being free and easy to use, Forms works across different devices and is seamlessly integrated with other Drive services such as Docs and Spreadsheets. As a teacher, you can use Forms for a variety of purposes including: planning an event, making surveys and polls, creating quizzes, collecting feedback and other information from students and many more.  READ MORE

Although this is a separate article from Educational Technology, it bears on the above in that it shows you how to set up forms so that you can be notified when students submit responses to the form(s) you have created.

Read about this here

“We can, you can’t.”

So I’m talking with a new Instructor and he shares this with me:  He is in his first night of the class and it is 9:40 and he’s come to a stopping point so he asks the students if it is OK if class is dismissed early.  They reply with some amusement, “we can leave early but you can’t.”

I have to say the students’ response surprised me because it says that some faculty have employed the practice of dismissing students earlier than 10pm and then staying on to 10pm themselves doing one thing or another before leaving.  We have hundreds of excellent Instructors who ARE holding their classes to the full time.  I want to thank you for that and commend you for your diligence and integrity.

I’m hoping this is a rare occurrence, but I need to make sure there is no ambiguity on this point.  The truth is that we are attempting to establish a culture of ethical practices and excellency, neither of which are achieved by allowing students to leave early but staying ourselves until the full time.  This not only lessens the educational experience but it says to the student that “fudging” on the policies of their organization must be OK if it is OK for a Christian Instructor in a Christian Institution to do so.  YOU ARE A MODEL IN EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR CONTACT WITH STUDENTS, DO THE RIGHT THING!!!  Or, to put it in simple terms, no, you can’t let students go earlier than 10:00pm even if you stay the full time.

Dr. Ruddell, Dean in Houston wrote a great post on Taming the 10PM Titian which I encourage you to read.   I know also there are a variety of posts within this blog under the Category “Collaborative Teaching Ideas” which could be used quite effectively to fill that last hour if you are running low on ideas.  This also goes back to the Collaborative Learning Strategy which I’ve written on before.  You know things will slow down after 9:00pm, so plan some more energetic activities during that time.


Mel Brooks, Ben Stein and Principles of Facilitative Teaching

By Dr. Rick Upchurch,
Asst. Vice President for Adult Studies

In February, I presented a webinar on Andragogy.  At the time I wasn’t able to record it due to technical difficulties.  Last week I had the opportunity to re-record the webinar, which you can find at this LINK.

I’m not going to include the all the content from the presentation in this post.  What I will do is try to reinforce the fact that teaching adults is DIFFERENT than teaching 18-22 year olds, and requires different methodologies.  It also requires faculty who approach the endeavor from a different perspective.  Since the average age in our classes is 38 years of age, it is easy to see we are dealing with an audience which has had 20 years of life experiences beyond High School.

Andragogy was first coined as a unique term in 1833 by Alexander Kapp.  However, it was Malcom Knowles who made the term popular in the 1980s.  Knowles put forth six assumptions about adult learners which form the foundation of his learning theory for adults.  I’m not going to describe these assumptions, if you want to know more about them you can easily “google” them, or simply watch the webinar.  What I am going to do is share with you what those assumptions MEAN for teaching adults.

1st – you should know the students in your class wouldn’t be there if they weren’t serious about getting their degree.  They are investing a lot of money with the hope of improving their life.  For them the experience is more than the content, it also includes self-accomplishment and self-worth.  You carry the burden of bringing a return on their investment.

2nd – treat your students as you would like to be treated, or even better, as you would hope an Instructor would treat your mother.   Patronizing attitudes or demeaning language is unacceptable and creates a barrier to learning.   Along with this goes the importance of respecting the experience the students are bringing into the classroom.  Mining for that experience should be one of the key activities of the Instructor early in the course to best maximize that student’s learning and to bring important experiences into the classroom for everyone to learn.

3rd – Take the time, to make sure your students understand why what you are teaching is important and how it fits.  When you do, their engagement in the class and learning will increase.  Bring in stories, case studies, examples and illustrations of the relevancy of the information and how it fits.  Draw upon students’ experiences, good and bad, to demonstrate the importance of the information.

4th – Don’t lecture more than 15-20 minutes at a time without changing up and adding an active learning experience.  Students should be doing 70% of the talking.  This can be accomplished by having them teach key topics, asking PCQ (Process Comprehension Questions), which are open-ended questions requiring them to apply the information learned, working in small groups on projects or case studies, etc.  There are several great posts to the faculty blog which outline some of these activities.

5th – Give the students a chance to practice what you are teaching and to demonstrate competency.  That is why class presentations are included in most of the classes.  When students demonstrate competency reinforce that and guide their practice to continued improvement.  Allow as many opportunities as possible for students to take the lead in discussions, and working in the front of the class.

This is really only a starting point and, as you know from watching the orientation, a Collaborative Learning Strategy will go a long way toward facilitating student learning.  In addition there are many great resources which can be consulted to assist in bringing these principles into the classroom, not the least of which is the information contained in some of the posts to this blog site.

EQ in the Adult Learner Classroom

Dr. Paul Criss
Dean of Faculty – Memphis and DeSoto

We have all been there. We have had experiences where we felt that someone truly understood where we were coming from and we have also experienced the opposite. The ability to gauge our own and others’ emotional state is called Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and what we do with that understanding can invigorate the adult learner classroom. Most of what follows is a synopsis and application of Goleman, Boyatis, and McKee’s Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence (Harvard Business Review, 2013) to adult higher education and was presented at the 2015 Christian Adult Higher Education Association Conference with co-presenter Don Jones, Ed.S.

Instructors have the ability to set the emotional thermostat in their classrooms. Faculty with empathy can allow for supportive emotional connections to emerge within their classes. In Primal Leadership, the authors state: “When leaders drive emotions positively…they bring about everyone’s best.” They call this resonance. When negative emotions are driven, they create dissonance. Negative emotions and moods within a classroom can disrupt work and distract from the task of learning. God designed our brains in such a way to support the “flight or fight” tendency and this may affect classroom performance. Everything our body experiences goes through the first part of the brain at the top of the stem called the amygdala, and you guessed it, the amygdala controls our emotional fight or flight response. If this is triggered, faculty and students alike may have their emotions hijacked. It is likely that we have all experienced a time when we were criticized by an adult learner for upholding a policy or demonstrating a particular instructional style and we had to say a quick prayer for God to give us patience or guard our tongue in how respond to such criticism. We were, with God’s help, resisting this emotional hijacking.

So, how do we adjust the emotional climate of our classroom? Interestingly, emotions, both healthy and unhealthy, are contagious. For example, we have all heard the customer service adage of “service with a smile,” but actually a smile can begin to change the climate. Laughter is addictive and good for everyone – “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 New Living Translation).

It is a very small leap from what the authors of Primal Leadership discovered about business to what can be applied in the adult learner classroom. For example, for every one percent we increase our service to our students, we could see a two percent increase in their performance (p. 15). This could be evidenced in how we share our expectations of students at the beginning of a course, explaining how we will grade, and how quickly we respond with feedback to our students. Students could respond by exceeding our expectations, targeting specific competencies, and adjusting their performance by our guidance. I know that these kinds of responses would be well received by all of us. The climate – how students feel about studying at a university – may account for twenty to thirty percent of their academic performance (p. 17) and fifty to seventy percent of how students may perceive the university’s climate can be traced to the actions of one person: their instructor (p. 18).

Our daughter, two-year-old Sophia, likes to go into large rooms, project a tone, and see if it echoes. Each room has a certain tone that echoes more than others – the resonating tone; each class has its own resonating tone, as well. In teaching vocal lessons, I learned early on the importance of resonance in amplifying both sweet and sour tones. Sound Engineers use sound equalization, ironically “EQ,” to produce the most amplification while at the same time diminishing feedback. What tones are we projecting that are being amplified to our students? How can we adjust our own and our classroom’s emotional frequency to create the best learning environment for adults?

First we need to understand how not to do it. We must avoid becoming dissonant instructors or dementors.  In the Harry Potter novels, J.K. Rowling describes dementors as those who “drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them.” Now, I realize that no instructor would describe themselves in this way, but perhaps a student has perceived us this way. The authors of Primal Leadership describe dissonant leadership as those who “don’t hold true to professed values; lack empathy; this insincerity leads to cynicism and distrust” (p. 23). The best cure for this atmosphere is not only personal, but also corporate, repentance, confession, and forgiveness.

Sometimes this dissonance happens accidentally. For the trekkies out there, have you ever wondered why Kirk is the captain? Kirk brings emotional intelligence to bear on the highly logical Spock and the highly emotional McCoy, creating a balance that is needed. In academia there is a tendency to value IQ over EQ, therefore, emotional intelligence is stifled creating the disparity (“too many spocks and not enough kirkians”). We need to begin to model emotional intelligence ourselves and compel it from our students. Our primary focus, after all, is to be holistic in our educational endeavors – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 11:42 New International Version.) Albert Einstein said, “We should take care not to make the intellect our god. It has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. It cannot lead, it can only serve.”

In Primal Leadership the authors suggest there are various styles of leadership that employ emotional intelligence (p. 55). Two are considered dissonant styles because they are often perceived negatively due to poor execution or overuse. The commanding style may sooth students’ fears in an emergency by providing clear direction and may be used sparingly in a crisis or to deal with problem students. The pacesetting style assists in meeting challenging goals, for example in capstone courses, and may be used judiciously to get high results from competent students.

The authors present four resonant styles that consistently produce positive feedback and are particular productive with the adult learner. The first, the visionary style, moves students toward the shared objectives of the course. This style conveys the importance of the course’s objectives and how achieving these competencies can make a difference in their professional life. The second, the coaching style, connects goals of the particular student with the objectives of the course. This style helps students improve performance and competency by building their personal capabilities. The third, the affiliative style, connects students to other students through community. This style can help heal rifts within a team and motivate students during stressful times within the course. Creating community within the classroom will be discussed in more detail in a future article. The final resonant style, the democratic style, value’s student input and fosters commitment through participation. This style is often utilized during roundtable discussions on topics within the course and not only builds consensus, but allows the expertise of each adult learner to come to the fore and produces exponential learning within the learning environment. As we understand and practice these various styles, we begin to understand the value of emotional intelligence to the adult learner classroom.

Authors Bradbury and Greaves, in Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (TalentSmart, 2009), recommend a matrix to increase personal emotional intelligence. It begins with self- awareness: how aware of our own emotions are we? Emotional self-awareness helps provide accurate self-management and authentic self-confidence. Second, self-management is how one manages his or her own emotions. It determines our transparency, adaptability, and levels of optimism. Third, social awareness is how well we interpret the emotions of others, in this case our students. It determines our organizational awareness, commitment to service, and levels of empathy. Finally, relational management is how well we handle interactions with our class. It assists in creating inspirational instruction, influence, development of our students, managing conflict, and fostering teamwork and collaboration. These authors also recommend the following for developing emotional intelligence within the parameters of this matrix:

Self Awareness

  • Focus on you – the only person you can change.
  • Get to know yourself under stress.
  • Know who and what pushes your buttons.
  • Stop and ask yourself why you do the things you do.

Self Management

  • Count to Ten.
  • Pray for patience or ask the Holy Spirit to guard your reactions.
  • Learn a valuable lesson from everyone you encounter.
  • Smile and laugh more.

Social Awareness

  • Practice the art of listening and observing.
  • Step into your students’ shoes.
  • Catch the mood of the classroom.
  • Greet students by name.

Relationship Management

  • Little things mean a lot; when you care show it.
  • Explain your decisions, don’t just make them.
  • Make your feedback direct and constructive.
  • Be accessible; have an open door policy to build trust.

Jesus was an emotionally intelligent leader. This is indicated several times as He gauged others’ emotional state – “Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people” (John 2:24 New International Version) and He declared himself to be the one “who searches hearts and minds” (Revelation 2:23). Christ acknowledges the worst in humanity, but, in spite of this, He brings out the best by giving of Himself. If we simply observe the team He inspired, we can see how they changed the world. As instructors of adult learners, we are called to do the same.