For a long time, education has focused on transmitting knowledge and developing cognitive skills, forgetting about the emotional sphere. However, in recent decades emotional education has gained prominence. UNESCO itself promotes an education focused on learning to be and learning to live, two concepts linked to the affective area .
What is emotional education?
Emotional education is a pedagogical process aimed at enhancing the affective sphere as a complement to cognitive skills to facilitate the comprehensive development of the personality . It promotes knowledge and emotional management so that the person can assertively face the challenges of daily life and improve their well-being.
Obviously, the concept of emotional education is closely related to emotional intelligence, understood as the ability to recognize and effectively manage our emotions and those of others. Therefore, one of the main objectives of emotional education is to develop this type of intelligence.
What are the main emotional competencies?
Emotional education is a process that flows in two directions. To enhance the affective sphere of students, teachers must have developed their own emotional competencies . The educator must have a clear awareness of himself and her emotional states, as well as being able to assertively manage his emotions and those of his students. To do this, he must develop different emotional skills:
- emotional self-awareness This ability allows us to look inside ourselves to understand the influence of affective states. It involves being able to identify and name our feelings and emotions, understand their origin and the influence they have on our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.
- emotional self-control Emotional education is not limited to labeling emotions, but rather develops skills such as self-regulation. It refers to the ability to reflect on our feelings and emotions to enhance positive affective dynamics that allow us to grow and keep under control those that harm us or make us feel bad.
- Self motivation. It is the ability to use emotions in a positive way, looking for intrinsic reasons that help us achieve our goals. It also implies maintaining a certain degree of optimism to face obstacles and being able to postpone immediate gratifications to achieve more ambitious long-term results.
- Empathy. Empathy is a key competence in emotional education. It involves the ability to recognize and interpret the emotional signals of other people, both verbal and extraverbal. In this way we manage to put ourselves in their place, understand what they feel and establish a closer bond.
- Social skills. Social skills are essential in emotional education programs because they allow us to assertively communicate what we feel and think, as well as understand the emotional impact that our words, attitudes and behaviors can have on others.
Emotional education in the classroom
Current schools must be conceived as learning communities in which emotional education is integrated into academic learning. That means that any occasion is suitable to foster emotional competencies in students .
An emotional education program, for example, must include different activities according to the development of the students. In primary school, you can work with emotional education drawings and stories through which children can learn to identify and assertively express their emotions. On the other hand, emotional education films are an excellent resource for adolescents and young people to reflect on their feelings and learn to know themselves better.
The dynamics of emotional education are valid at all levels of education as they help students to establish more positive bonds, as well as foster empathy and teach them to express their emotions assertively. However, one of the most powerful emotional education strategies is to lead by example , so that teachers become models of emotional management that students can imitate. The secret consists in educating affectivity from affectivity.
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