Even today, in 2020, the last two pillars, so closely related to social, personal and emotional skills are quite absent from our education. What is happening to us worldwide invites us to ask ourselves: What is not happening with emotional education? Shouldn’t we really educate for a life with a heart. Emotions and presence: the time of transformation.
The latest advances in Neuroscience tell us that emotion is basic in cognition and that, ultimately, it is emotion that guides us in life.
The health of a society is also measured by the health of its education. We have invested a lot in content, technology and knowledge. I think it is time to also give space to the human and relational in education, to do pedagogy for life.
Take care of the kingdom of the heart and the rest will come in addition to you” Does the teaching staff require specific training to work on emotional education?
Certainly yes. And it also requires and should be important, to include a personal or therapy process, where teachers will enter and delve into their own emotions. It is not so easy to decipher what happens to us and why things happen to us. Much information about ourselves is unconscious.
Without deep work and accompanied by someone, some people just “talk” about emotions, without knowing what guides them in life and what happens to them in their relationship with others. Let’s not forget that teachers, teachers in general, manage and interact with many students, every day, at all hours.
The adult who knows how to look at himself, accompany himself, make self-criticism is undoubtedly an adult present. You are inviting your students or sons and daughters to do the same. And it is a model. Emotional education should be a modeling of the adult that children and adolescents have before them. It is good that the teacher is accompanied. If it does not become a profession (I also speak of families), very often, fraught with stress and anxiety. And that is also transmitted to the students and their sons and daughters. In this sense, the pedagogue and psych pedagogue, as a professional who accompanies in different stages, can be a great resource.
Is the health alert an opportunity for emotional education to become more important?
The health alert is the starting point. It is more than an opportunity, it is the starting gun towards a profound social transformation, which first goes through a transformation in homes, in relationships, in people and in small communities. It is time to rely more on instinct, intuition, emotions for guidance, and our deep capacity for help and compassion for those who suffer. And from there educate our students and our sons and daughters
The crisis is humanitarian, not climate. That human beings for decades have dedicated themselves to abusing the planet is deeply sad, but it speaks volumes about us, about our own conscience in our actions. Because those acts tell us that we are deeply abusive. We compete, we do not share. We lack social awareness. We could look for multiple historical, planetary and family causes of why this, but the pandemic leads us directly to skip this phase and act, act to change, to be better, to help our neighbor, to be models for our sons and daughters, models of values and rights. We have the great opportunity that Human Rights are finally real.
It is necessary to explain this to boys and girls. The pandemic has returned us home, home, to the four walls that shelter us and that, apart from our own body, are our temple.
How do we take care of the body and the home? How do we take care of our ties? Were we present at home? While part of the population suffers from the pandemic, the other half is grateful for it. Be grateful for the break, the time, the family, the rest, even the loneliness. In intimacy my fears and my shortcomings are exposed. I have nowhere to go. And my sons and daughters see that of me.
The construction of all this is not going to be overnight. Just build a pedagogy of life.
What can we do, here and now?
This situation one of the things that shows is inequality. We have many boys and girls without access to platforms that facilitate their education, families with few resources, and teachers up to 12 hours in front of the screen. To connect on the screen is to tell the child: “I am here.” That is also emotional education.
The imbalance was revealed to us and the moment demands flexibility and creativity. Also the need to create a network, to cooperate among all educational agents. Today, the management of each center, the management team and the director as leader and emotional manager of their team, is basic.
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We must be attentive to the questions that arise among boys and girls and in ourselves, because these will be the guide to what is coming and what is needed in the face of fear, anxiety, frustration, the need for social, self-esteem , anger…
Currently the network is well supplied with resources: videos, tutorials, conferences, books and stories, tips. So it is also important to take care of the most subtle, what is not seen. Because emotional education from the cognitive point of view does not work. It is only ideas.
Pedagogical guidelines for emotional awareness
- Enhance communication, but this is not talking for the sake of talking, nor is it questioning our children. Children and adolescents do not usually like this. Talk and talk about life, different points of view, explain who we are, what happens to us also in the face of uncertainty and fear.
- Practice presence. The art of presence is what our society and our education needed the most. Adults, for various reasons, have been quite absent from our home. In most homes, fathers and mothers work long hours and boys and girls do too. Either they are filled with extracurricular activities or they are left in the care of grandparents or other people. Although they are well cared for and stimulated, the presence of families is essential in the emotional process of children. The more presence, the more awareness.
Presence understood as: “I am here, listening carefully and I have time.” It is also useful for adolescents who, although it seems that they do not need us, our presence is known and feels like a safe place, without invasion at a time of so much chaos for them and so much new experience.
- Embrace and sustain emotions. Those of the whole family, we are all part of it. Do not deny them, or repress them, legitimize them. If this happens to us, then this does not happen. We’ll see what to do with this later if it gets too long.
- Respect privacy and moments of silence. Privacy for any of us is necessary and basic. I with me and you with you.
- Use a sense of humor. Learn to laugh together at what does not go well, at our own character, mistakes and failures. Accompany with a sense of humor, loving even flaws is a good way to educate.
- Set limits: I can listen to you and attend to you, but I do not allow aggression. There are limits, of course there are. And we adults should also have them: how far can I go and when I don’t know more.
- Have more physical contact. Love is transmitted with the hands, with the looks, with the affection that comes to you through a word. Contact is absolutely necessary for our immune system. There are special moments for it, the bath, the story, when we put cream on them after the bath, moments of massage. I’m also talking about adults (let’s not forget that we must also eat well on an emotional level). Another thing is teenagers. Sometimes a kiss can become a great offense, especially if at that moment they do not want it. I recommend letting them come, most tend to come and ask, sometimes in curious ways.
- Internal dialogue and rest. Assess whether what we say is good for us or not and rest, both mentally and physically. Go back to rest deep. Since stress we don’t manage ourselves well.
That includes treating us well, even when we don’t, as adults, things too well or what we have proposed or done has not worked.
We are under construction, transforming what was there, to attend to the new that will emerge and that asks us for more presence than ever.