Editor's Note: Think you're smart? That depends on what it means to be smart. And how do you become smart – if you're not there yet? This week, in our special series "Are You Smart?" our Alina Cho takes an in-depth look at all aspects of intelligence. Tomorrow on American Morning, colleges are now accepting YouTube videos instead of written essays from applicants, leaving some to wonder if this is an accurate way to measure a student's worth.
By Alina Cho, CNN
(CNN) – We've all heard about IQ: your intelligence quotient. What about EQ: your emotional quotient?
A lot of smart minds are calling emotional intelligence the “other smart.” It’s supposedly so important to success that kids are being taught in schools how to be emotionally smart.
It’s part of the curriculum at Clarendon Hills Middle School near Chicago, where students participate in an exercise in boosting self-esteem.
"It's a different kind of enjoyment than a subject, it's more like a spirit-lifter and it makes you feel good inside," says Kevin, a student.
But what does that have to do with being smart?
“I think it's a horrible idea,” says Ashley Merryman, author of "Nurtureshock." “Do you get graded then for being angry? What does that mean in terms of real life?"
"Emotional intelligence is a different way of being smart and one of the things that we found in research is that children who manage themselves, who can set goals, who are good problem solvers, do better in life," says Roger Weissberg.
Weissberg is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois and the man behind the groundbreaking research on which the best-selling book "Emotional Intelligence" is based.
The concept: EQ is just as important as IQ.
Weissberg says kids who get good social and emotional training score 10-to-11 percent better on tests than kids who don't.
“They can overcome obstacles when they reach them. Some of this involves academic tenacity, teaching kids self-discipline and self-control.”
Research also shows great leaders tend to be funny and the best doctors are empathetic. But can emotional intelligence be taught? Should it be?
“You're not telling me that you can't learn how to behave with your peers? I think it also discounts the importance of parents' influence,” says Merryman. “I don't think we need a class for this.”
Others argue that getting along is just as important as getting good grades and that the really smart thrive at both.
"This is not academics versus social and emotional development. That's a false choice,” says Weissberg. “This is teaching kids to be socially and emotionally and academically skilled."
Author Daniel Pink says logical thinking – being "book smart" – still matters. But he says it matters less these days because the types of jobs that require linear thinking can be outsourced – even to a computer.
So what's more valuable are the abilities that are harder to outsource: empathy, big picture thinking, creativity.
So if being smart is a means to an end – getting a good job – there is an argument to be made that emotional intelligence does count.