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An emotional education first for us adults

An emotional education first for us adults
An emotional education first for us adults

Teachers need to have a high degree of self-knowledge and understanding of their own emotions before accompanying children with theirs. Emotions are protagonists in our lives since absolutely everything happens through emotion. Each emotion has a function, for example, the function of anger is usually to help us set limits, the function of sadness to take care of us and take care of ourselves … It is very important that we learn to take the role of observer with each of our emotions. All boys and girls learn through exploring the world and role-playing. Our emotions exert a great influence on theirs due to mirror neurons, the happier and more enthusiastic we are, the more motivated and receptive our students will be, therefore, in addition to increasing our emotional vocabulary, we must learn to generate positive emotions ourselves. An adult who recognizes his emotions and knows how to express and regulate them is the best of models. An emotional education first for us adults.

Boys and girls, by nature, are much more emotionally intelligent than us, since they are not yet so contaminated with judgments, fears, etc. They release their emotions naturally and immediately, we all have the innate ability to do so, only that we adults have learned to suppress it, they made us believe that it is not okay to cry in public or burst with joy. Our culture seems to honor the exercise of suffering in silence and repressing our anger, from a very young age we learn to inhibit our emotional releases, however, they are the healing processes that our body performs naturally.

Adults have to unlearn in order to learn. Let’s unlearn to repress our emotions and learn to channel them. Let’s not ask children not to cry or get angry, let’s bury sexist phrases like “children don’t cry” or “when you get angry you get ugly”, because we send them the message that they need to repress their emotions to be accepted socially.

We have reached a point where we feel uncomfortable when we find another person expressing their emotions, we do not know how to accompany others and that is because we do not know how to accompany ourselves. For this reason, I believe that everything begins because we adults unlearn the old emotional paradigm and learn to accompany our own emotions.

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We are constantly transmitting emotions to our students, the first through our gaze, even if we try to cover up an emotion. Our gaze combined with the natural sensitivity of boys and girls speaks for us, but also our voice and our corporal expression. For this reason, I believe that it is very important before meeting the students, either physically or virtually, to do a small personal exercise of emotional recognition, if it is necessary to breathe our emotions and develop some personal technique to generate positive emotions for ourselves. On the other hand, to reach our students it is vital to create an affective bond with each one of them, listen carefully, greet them with affection every day making them feel respected and loved.

The health alert, an opportunity to give more importance to emotional education

Undoubtedly, we are facing a magnificent opportunity both for teachers to deepen their learning of their own emotions and to accompany the children with their own, since these are moments in which many emotions arise such as confusion, fear, loneliness, frustration, etc. and these emotions give rise to tantrums, restlessness, nerves … It is a crucial moment and it is our responsibility to help children channel all these emotions, always starting from the acceptance our body constantly communicates what is happening to us, through sensations. When we block emotional release, the emotion gets stuck, doesn’t dissolve, and what happens when one emotion gets stuck, and then another, and another? A huge ball is created that in many cases end up calling a disease. But if we allow ourselves a complete emotional release, our body and mind feel understood and free. And this understanding and freedom is what all of our boys and girls deserve.

Advances in neuroscience show that when learning situations are linked to an emotional component, our brain is more attentive, processes and integrates knowledge in a more meaningful way. For this reason the main vehicle for learning is the emotional bond, without emotion there is no learning.

As educators we have to help our students to generate an emotional bond with the learning content and this begins because we embody it first. The next step is to relate each educational content to the lives of the children, and to name the emotions that appear in this relationship. To do this, we must create a warm climate where children feel free to express their concerns and emotions.

Good practices that contribute to emotionally support students during the pandemic

The practices that I propose below are designed to be experienced first by the teaching staff and, once integrated, transmitted to our students.

  1. Learn to listen to the sensations of our body, disconnecting the mind

I know, this first practice is not easy, because we are used to constantly reasoning everything. When we are able to identify the physical sensation that an emotion produces, it is much easier to release it. Visualization and mindful breathing help us train this body awareness.

The first thing is to recognize the part of the body where the emotion is and assess how that emotion feels in my body, what is its intensity from 0 to 10 and what shape it has. We can expand the so-called “turtle technique” with this practice.

Let’s look at an example. When you think: “I’m not feeling well, I feel like a ball in my stomach, it’s big and heavy, it has an intensity of 9, I feel overwhelmed. Now what can I do?” Breathe. If it’s a big black ball, I imagine how with each inhalation it gets smaller and with each exhalation it changes color until it becomes tiny and a color that I like or disappears.

The affirmations during the breath also help the emotion to be released, affirmations such as: “This burden prevents me from enjoying life, I don’t want it anymore; the burden becomes lighter and lighter, I feel like it is getting smaller and its color, I’m more and more relaxed “, etc.

  1. Practice emotional communication

It is important to learn to communicate based on our emotions and personal needs and this requires training. “I feel … because I need …

As human beings we need love, caring and understanding and all action is an attempt to satisfy a need. When we are clear about what we want and what we need, we can have assertive and meaningful conversations. For this it is important to learn to differentiate between a request and a need, and to learn to express our feelings naturally.

Connecting with children from our feelings and needs and helping them to communicate with each other in the same way is the best emotional education we can give them.

For example, when faced with a conflict in the classroom or at home, we cannot expect them to leave it for another time and start doing their homework, this is impossible, they will not be able to focus their attention. Therefore, it is essential that at that very moment we open a space for emotional communication in which each one can express how they feel and what they need.

  1. Yoga and mindfulness

Thanks to attention, the information we receive is processed and stored in our brain. It is an essential process in learning and it depends on our emotional state. The practice of mindfulness or mindfulness and yoga favor a lifestyle based on consciousness and a more reflective and open attitude to process and integrate new learning. Integrating these practices of conscious movement and mindfulness during the school day will significantly favor the learning processes in all our students.

  1. Art as a means of emotional expression

All artistic creation such as painting, drawing, crafts, theater, music, dance, etc. they are great tools for emotional connection and expression. There are many activities to work emotions through art. During these weeks, a proposal for emotional liberation may be that students draw what their house is like, draw the virus or the things they miss.