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How Are We Feeling Today?

By Ohad Ben Shimon
How Are We Feeling Today?

Students spend a large part of their lives in classrooms, most of the time without their consent or desire. Philip Jackson, in his book Life in Classrooms (1968), draws a gloomy picture of the life of a student in school.
“The school child, like the incarcerated adult, is, in a sense, a prisoner. He too must come to grips with the inevitability of his experience. He too must develop strategies for dealing with the conflict that frequently arises between his natural desires and interests on the one hand and institutional expectations on the other” (143).
As educators and parents, we must be able to empathize with this inevitable experience of students at school. It is of utmost importance that students actually enjoy going to school and feel happy and secure in it. We should strive as a community of teachers and parents to make students’ well-being a major defining factor of everything that happens within the school, and teachers and other support staff such as learning support and/or school counselors have a role in this.
When students are in an emotional turmoil, which occurs often at this age, efficient learning cannot take place, and the didactic approach has to give way to a more emotionally supportive and caring guidance. If we are to equip our students with all the necessary tools that will enable them to make their own well -considered decisions, we need to be able to transfer that sense of self belief and trust in oneself and one’s emotions, which need to go hand-in-hand with their rational and cognitive skills.
Finally, students often ask in class, “Why do we need to know this?” or “Why can’t we go play football outside?” It is important to keep in mind that they might have a point; teaching and learning need to be questioned. We should continuously emphasize that true learning must also be intertwined with the social and emotional landscape of the students (and teachers) and connected to real life situations.
Ohad Ben Shimon works at The American International School in Rotterdam teaching IBDYP Business Management, IBDYP Psychology, IMYC Algebra, and IMYC Advisory.

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