It seems that there is general agreement that children and adolescents have to receive at 'some' point in their education 'something' about emotions. The importance of emotions in the development of children and adolescents is recognized. But in 'what and how' there are different proposals. What seems clear is that the great challenge of the teacher today is to work the emotions of the children in class.
After the latest advances in neuropsychology, all the conclusions indicate that our emotions are not predefined reactions and that they cannot be explained according to the circumstances of a given moment. The latest discoveries are showing the great complexity that is enclosed in each of the people, adults and children.
- That is, first of all, emotions are more than just reactions to the environment, because there is no neutral position in the world, or in life: when deciding which studies to undertake, with whom to share life, when crossing the street or making a shopping list. Our children and our students are learning to face all the situations they are experiencing, what is a failure, what makes them angry, what makes them happy or what distresses them.
2. And, on the other hand, emotions move us to our uniqueness, to our unique nature what makes each of us different as people. Emotions tell us about our past, our personality, genetic inheritance, how we got up today in the morning or what we have eaten. We could make an endless list.
And all this acts simultaneously to give a unique meaning to the moment we are living. If we are able to recognize that uniqueness in adults, we will also get closer to the emotions of our students. A discussion in the yard, sharing the material, waiting for the result after an exam, the first best friend ... These are moments lived by each student in a unique way.
With this scenario, it does not seem possible to judge emotions as positive or negative, or decide, as parents and educators, which ones we want our children or students to feel or what emotions they should feel. Similarly, it is not possible to teach them how to feel.
So which educational proposal is most in tune with the new discoveries in the area of neuropsychology? The way to attend to the uniqueness of each person is work from emotions to recognize them, because they tell us about ourselves.
Knowing your own emotions becomes the starting point for growth during childhood and adolescence. And make no mistake, it is also the first step for growth processes in adulthood. We adults differ in that we have more resources, but the vital challenges are the same as those that our little ones have to experience.
Therefore it is necessary:
1. Design tools according to the student's maturational state.
2. Dedicate time apart from curricular subjects, a time solely dedicated to self-knowledge, can be a very helpful alternative depending on age.
But, as we have said before, it is only the first step in personal growth. Because once children and adolescents know how they feel and have learned to express it, what do they do with it?
This can no longer be limited to one subject, because answering this question is learning to live. This is the challenge that children and adolescents have, and it is also the challenge of the adults who accompany them, teachers, parents, mothers. It is the EDUCATIONAL CHALLENGE in capital letters. Know how I feel and how I relate to make decisions it is the goal of a good education.
Normally we adults are in too much rush for children to acquire operative behaviors, of course, from our point of view. That they don't drag the chair, that they don't talk in class, that they ask for things 'please', that they don't sip the soup, that they lend their toys, that they don't mistreat the furniture ...
Therefore, it is not surprising that in school education there is a commitment to regulatory proposals, which address the needs of adults more than those of children and adolescents, when the important thing is that they learn to creatively position themselves in their lives and to become authors of their lives, responsible for their own lives, and cooperate in society.
The vehicle to jump from knowing our emotions to growth goes through interpersonal relationships. It is useless to quickly acquire behaviors accepted and positively valued by adults, if we do not attend to the question of who I want to be with others. Because that is the question that sustains the processes of personal growth, that is the great creativity that we have to expect from our children and students.
And children learn it in their day to day, in their family, with their siblings, at birthday parties, but there is a place destined precisely for their education, the school. During the class of Mathematics, Language or Physical Education interpersonal relationships are at stake, between teacher and students and the students among themselves. Those relationships are the material for everyone's growth.
Where else do children and adolescents learn to live?
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