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Commentary on Asuman Martone
Emotional Literacy Education Course 101:
Lesson One: What Is Emotional Literacy?
by Mark Zimmerman
Emotional Literacy Education Course 101 Lesson One: Commentary on Asuman Martone

Commentary on Asuman Martone by Mark Zimmerman Asuman Martone, a Transactional Psychologist, wrote, "Emotional literacy is the recognition and consequent development of skills and abilities to deal with our many powerful forces. We must learn about our emotions before we can climb to the next level of development."

Of all the definitions of Emotional Literacy, this one has the most profound implications. The statement that, "Emotional Literacy is the recognition and consequent development of skills and abilities," is a very clear picture of what Emotional Literacy is. Because it's the development of skills which help us as human beings to fulfill our needs. And it's only through need fulfillment, that we achieve satisfaction in our lives. So Emotional Literacy is the development of skills, that help us fulfill our needs and achieve satisfaction.

She says that, "It gives us abilities to deal with our many powerful forces."

That Emotional Literacy is not a concept confined to emotions. It's a concept which encompasses the whole of a person. That each person has many powerful forces within them, the power to create, the power to destroy. And it's how we harness these powers, that makes our lives either empty or full.

What powerful forces is Emotional Literacy going to enhance? First, a human being is a composition of needs. These needs are our motivations, and all of the rest of the powers within us revolve around satisfying those needs. So Emotional Literacy has, as its foundation, education in need fulfillment skills - using our other powerful forces of emotions, intellect and relationships. And by becoming skilled in these, through Emotional Literacy, we achieve the satisfaction of our needs.

We are adversely affected when our needs are not met. Psychologist Abraham Maslow described this thwarting of our needs as the cause of neurosis and human psychopathology. That as our needs are thwarted, we develop unwanted emotions and behaviors, which are both self-destructive and destructive to others. Therefore, Emotional Literacy is an education in how to overcome the habit of not getting what we need.

Asuman Martone continues, "We must learn about our emotions before we can climb to the next level of development."

Human beings are fortunate, because mammals have emotions. They have fear. They have aggression. They have domineering behaviors and social structures. But they don't have the intellect to understand, nor the ability to change their own nature.

That we start with emotions is clear. That emotions motivate our behavior is obvious. And the only way to make our emotions work for us is by causing them to have a closer match to our environment and our circumstances. The only way to make this change is through learning. And it's through learning, and subsequent growth, that we climb to the next level of development.

Abraham Maslow has written extensively on human development, and spoke eloquently about human potential. That man doesn't have to be a static creature. That human development is a lifelong adventure. And Emotional Literacy will rely heavily on the work of Abraham Maslow in the education of human potential.

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