How do we develop EI? Are we born with the ability to sense others emotions or is it something we learn? I think it is something that can be developed and it starts with understanding our own emotions first. Too often I find children use anger to respond to a variety of emotions: frustration, boredom, irritation, being overwhelmed, even sadness. That's a lot of emotions for one response to cover! If I feel a child has misnamed their emotion I might say something like, "It seems like you are really frustrated with school right now" or "I wonder if you are worried about something and that is why your tummy hurts?" I may need to try and explain the emotion: "Sometimes I feel like my stomach is turning circles. That's when I know I'm nervous" or "Being excited is like being super, super happy!" I also use games. I have a feelings BINGO game that I use to help clients familiarize themselves with different feelings.
http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/feelings.php. You can look for other ESOL resources for teaching feelings and emotions. These are usually basic and include pictures which I find to be helpful. In fact, I think I'm going to buy 1 of these:
If you are having trouble with a child who is responding in anger or sadness to everything and seems to have a hard time feeling "heard" try some of the emotional vocabulary building games and suggestions above. A quick search of Google reveals hundreds of links to worksheets and games. By providing children with the words for their feelings and emotions we are empowering them to understand and take control over these emotions before the emotion overpowers them.