- If we are not aware of how we are emotionally driven to make decisions then we are fools to ourselves. Worse, we are fools in charge of the life chances of others!
Understanding the place emotion plays in learning will you change your practice for good and for the better
If you are really going to understand why you sometimes feel so attacked in the classroom you need to understand the theory of “splitting and projection”. Truth is, we know the feelings already, the theory is about explaining what we already know.
Pupils reactions can be out of proportion with what is really happening.
One of the challenges for teachers is that pupils sometimes react to our requests totally ‘unreasonably’. We ask them to get their books out and they roll their eyes. We ask them to write down the lesson objective and they act as though we have insulted their nearest and dearest. A simple request to stop talking and they complain that we are picking on them; that we are unjust or unkind or just plain inept.
What’s worse, teachers who are off guard or at the beginning of their career, can respond in a similar way. We can rise to what we might perceive as their taunts as though it is really the current situation that is upsetting them. Before you know it, you are in a tit for tat row where the words might be whether or not they will write something down are fuelled by an emotional exchange that seems to be akin to life and death.
It is these low level disruptive exchanges that are seen as the undoing of many lessons, teachers and schools. Whole lessons, weeks, terms, years, can be spent dealing with these disruptions which minimise learning and maximise stress.
The key to dealing with this behaviour is not only understanding what might be going on in the inner world of the child but also what happens to YOU in this situation and how you can respond differently, more usefully and productively.