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Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

More fun, more often, for more people and other living things.

Social Intelligence

Though I didn't actually realize it at the time, when I published my Interplay Curriculum - 32 years ago! - I was engaged in a revolutionary act. I was trying to bring the social aspect of human development into the core curriculum. I saw, from playing games with kids, that they were developing a skill that: 1) had nothing to do with the "three Rs" and 2) had everything to do with their potential for success in this world. Apparently, this notion is still ahead of its time. The "back to basics" movement is more basic than ever. There are fewer fewer classes in the arts. Even recess is being eliminated.

And yet, I am happy to discover that there's real hope for the emergence of some renewed awarenss of the importance of games and stuff. There's a new concept emerging in the social, psychological and computer sciences that is remarkably descriptive of what those kids and I were playing with. It's called "Social Intelligence."

Take a look at Tony Buzan's e-book, The Power of Social Intelligence and this excerpt:

"Socially Intelligent people have to use all of the power of their own brains and bodies to communicate with and to 'read' others. They have to acquire attitudes that encourage others to grow, create, communicate and befriend, and they have to know both how to make and to keep friends!

This massively important intelligence also involves being able to negotiate, as a skilled canoeist does, the rapids of conflict and negotiation situations, mistakes and endings."

Yup, that sums it up nicely, what I marveled at, day after day, playing with kids.

The concept of Social Intelligence has even reached the computer world. There's going to be a conference on Social Intelligence Design this very July at the Royal Holloway University of London. A quote from their announcement: "We view Social Intelligence (SI) is the ability for people to relate to others, understand them, and interact effectively with them."

The focus of the conference is technology, not sociology. It's about technologies that help people:
- interact with technology in a more human friendly manner,
- develop personal relationships with others in every discipline of social life and
- improve interpersonal communication and professional performance.

As the idea of social intelligence becomes more widely embraced by social science and technology, perhaps there is real hope for it finally becoming acknowledged by education as well.

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