Until relatively recently, emotions and feelings have been considered as non-scientific, as something strictly personal and therefore relegated to the world of the personal, the private. Personal world of feelings and the public world were opaque to each other. Even today at work many times only the objective and the feelings are subjective. “The feelings are left at the door by the outside, here comes to work and give up,” a very common phrase that has not yet disappeared from the work and professional environments.
Several events have changed the primacy of the “objective”. First in science, the scanner, CT scan (Computerized Axial Tomography), already in the 70’s, allowed to see emotions in the brain and if it is anger or fear. Since then countless studies and other discoveries have allowed emotions to enter the scientific arena. But the true revolution takes place in culture. The dominant culture until perhaps the 60s, privileged politics and public life, the objective, industrial and technological progress, power, a basically male culture in all spheres. The same lack of humanity of that culture is the revulsive one to make out that the important thing is the concrete people and their life, the ecology of the planet in which we live, that it is necessary to give weight to women and the feminine. Suddenly emotions and feelings, which were relegated and vilified, are at the center of that change since emotions and feelings are what make us unique, unique, the person so special that we are.
All this immense cultural change completely affects education, because it works with people. To approach the student, to his concrete needs, to stop to treat in mass, it needs that the teachers are able to recognize and to manage the emotions of its students, it needs in the teachers sensitivity for the emotions. That is Emotional Education that is entering the classroom. The education revolves from being focused on teaching to focusing on learning, from the teacher as a bearer and transmitter of knowledge to guide and enhancer of people’s motivation. Change is unstoppable; there is more and more sensitivity to emotions and feelings, to understand the person behind the student, to encourage motivation, to manage conflict, to increase self-esteem.
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The first difficulty is that in the formation of teachers and teachers there is a great lack with respect to emotions, feelings, self-esteem, leadership, empathy, etc. The second obstacle is that schools are institutions whose ways of doing have their roots in other times and we must fight against the system when we want to implement Emotional Education in depth, in fact when we want to introduce profound changes. The third element is the most important, actually the central one. If emotions and feelings are the keys, the person becomes the center and … what happens to the person of the teacher? Can I get interested in other people’s emotions and feelings without taking an interest in mine? Even more, can I manage emotions of others without knowing personally how I feel?
At this point, the whole system is blocked. Teachers are professionals, emotions are private! We should not put our own emotions in the classroom! The one who does it, the one who implies the person in the classroom, enters into a terrible war that can even end in burnout, as in fact happens with some frequency among teachers. In addition, in this way he does not keep distance with the student and if there is no distance, there is no authority, and without authority, there are no classes, there is a continuous noise. All this set of difficulties grips the system: the teacher cannot get involved with the students if he does not want to end up burned and also must keep the distance of authority: he is not a friend of the students! The truth is that there are fear and resistance to get into the feelings!
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There are a lot of misunderstandings. Let us first establish the truths:
- The first is that you cannot manage emotions if you do not know your own. This is because emotions change our gaze, for example, if we are angry we do not see everything there, but our eyesight focuses on what we consider an obstacle. Something similar happens with fear. On the contrary, joy allows us to look at everything that happens, however, when a pupil has interrupted the class it is difficult for us to be in joy. This means that every teacher who tries to work with the emotions is obliged to know himself, to perceive what he feels at any moment, first because but his own feeling is going to be mixed with that of the student and mixed cannot be managed. Either he will identify with or reject his student,
- It must be known, secondly, because it needs to be authentic: to impregnate its communication with the real feelings that accompany it, to communicate its real feeling sometime. Your students will notice right away when it is not, and they will not open. Emotions are the most personal and therefore you can communicate freely. Anything else does not work. The only authenticity creates the necessary trust between teacher and student. Only freedom allows that deep communication in which our feelings are involved. This second part implies certain equality with the student. Feelings communicate only in situations of equality. Then there are times when the teacher or teacher should know how to level with their students. To put it briefly, As people are equal, as they are a teacher and student are at a different level. The teacher must know how to manage this double prism and be a teacher when it should be and person when it is necessary to be. This is a fundamental emotional ability.
My conclusion to all this is that Emotional Education begins in the teacher. If the teacher is not known, if he is not authentic and honest, if he does not know how to be a person, if he is not able to put himself at the level of his students as a whole and of each of them, if he is not empathic with them, Emotional does not begin. And on the other hand there are always those teachers who have a great humanity, know how to be a person, whether or not they have received specific training in managing emotions. These are those teachers, of whom we have all known some, who have known how to understand each other as a person. Because of the key to Emotional Education, what makes it permanent and necessary in our classrooms, is communication and understanding person to person.