Acknowledging the emotions, feelings, and experiences that each learner brings to the learning environment and helping them find ways to cope with those emotions. Also, nurturing compassion and empathy among students in ways that allow them to be sensitive and aware of each others’ emotions.
The key questions for this pillar are:
- How are we being sensitive to the emotions that students bring into the learning environment?
- How are we fostering compassion and empathy among our community of learners?
Learners do not exist in a vacuum. Every day when a student walks into the learning space they are bringing with them all the experiences, emotions, and feelings they have developed that day, that week, that year, and throughout their life. To deny these feelings in the learning space can generate conflict, blunt one’s capacity to engage in a learning process, and make a learner feel isolated and misunderstood.
In the previous page we looked at and explored the relevance of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory (the various ways in which one learns), and now we look at emotional intelligence, which consists of the “abilities such as being able to motivate one’s self and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope (Goleman, 34).” Goleman also made popular the term, “social intelligence,” which is very much linked to emotional intelligence. These two breakthroughs in understanding the brain has given rise to what many schools call “social and emotional learning” or SEL.
In the video below, Daniel Goleman, author of several books including Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence, discusses new research and studies in neuroscience and what it has taught us about social and emotional intelligence.
Social and emotional intelligence are relevant to peace pedagogy because many of the conflicts we see in schools are born out of frustration from not being heard or understood, underlying issues of self-worth, and an inability to express how one actually feels. If we as educators and learners were more skilled at recognizing, acknowledging, and managing our own emotions and the emotions of others it would go a long way in reducing unwanted conflict and managing inevitable conflict.
Reflection Question: Do you have a way or practice of recognizing and managing your own emotions effectively? If so, what does that look like? If not, are their specific moments in your life or at work where you wished you possessed those kinds of skills? What do those moments look and feel like?