Social-Emotional Learning Interview

Eva Bach: “Without emotional health, there is no health, wellbeing or academic performance”.

Share

Eva Bach is a pioneer in introducing emotional education in the learning and family environments in Cataluña as well as other autonomous communities in Spain. Teacher, trainers’ trainer and writer, she specializes in personal development, emotional intelligence, communication, and interpersonal relations.

mSchools talked to Eva about the importance of socio-emotional education.

The importance of social-emotional education

mSchools
Eva, what do you consider to be our starting point in education?
Eva Bach Cobacho
We come from an education model that has prioritized, and still does, reason over emotion, wisdom and knowledge over feelings and sensitivity. We have encouraged accomplishments and milestones or external motivations, leaving personal needs, feelings, and internal wellbeing behind. This is a big and serious mistake since academic titles hanging on walls are not of much use when adversity knocks on your door, or when we have a collective crash such as the Covid-19 Pandemic, or when we suffer personal crises or relationship conflicts. Neuroscience has shown that having a high IQ, a privileged mind or a brilliant academic trajectory will not guarantee “success” in life, understanding by success a life lived with meaning, balance, and personal and social wellbeing. And on the contrary, not having great academic results will not make us unhappy or imply negative life results.
mSchools
So, where are we now?
Eva Bach Cobacho
Even though scientific evidence shows that it is as important to learn to think and reason properly as it is to learn how to develop emotional intelligence, we often continue to teach as if we didn't know that. We lack knowledge and conscience about what emotions represent and how we should address them. Often, there is no emotional maturity to do this. The fear of self-knowledge, along with a lack of sensitivity and self-responsibility about these topics, stops us from taking the necessary chances to develop emotional education. When, despite all these barriers, we manage to do it, we often fail in the “hows” , not having adequate procedures and resources. We miss information, awareness and training, not only in a professional and psycho-pedagogical way, since individual emotional growth is also needed.
mSchools
According to your knowledge and experience, why do we need emotional education?
Eva Bach Cobacho
There is enough evidence to support that emotional education favors physical and mental health, self-knowledge, self-esteem, empathy, and that it also improves personal life and relationships.. It can also help prevent violence and risky behaviors, improving social and personal wellbeing, it continues to create more positive and solid group environments and, pay attention to this, it can also help improve learning and academic outcomes. This happens at every vital and educational stage, and for people of every age.
mSchools
What are the conditions needed to achieve it?
Eva Bach Cobacho
There are some basic requirements for these results to happen and last , for example the continuity in time of different programs and their evaluation, training of teachers and other educational agents in charge of the implementation as well as the involvement and support from every area besides the school, including the family and the community. The whole educational community needs to be involved in this, from management teams to educational administration, and, above all, families. The methodology used is also key to elaborating programs and activities.
mSchools
What happens if we don’t involve emotions in education?
Eva Bach Cobacho
Emotional education is key because without emotional health there will be no health, wellbeing, or academic performance. A person who is emotionally blocked is also emotionally annulled, as the Spanish doctor Mario Alonso says. There is evidence that general performance peaks are obtained with a medium level of emotional activation. Without emotions, there is no motivation, and there are no results. Where there is an excess of emotions, if the person is overflown by emotions, there are no results eithers. The works of the psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi have shown that the best result is obtained in what are called “flow states”. These are states in which you make an effort without perceiving it because emotions are in harmony, in a perfect balance, accompanying and strengthening one another.
mSchools
What are the basic socioemotional skills to turn into an emotionally competent teacher?
Eva Bach Cobacho
Having socioemotional skills isn't optional for neither faculty nor families. It is socially and morally necessary , since the first hints of emotional maturity for children are perceived in the adults they grow up with.
Let's have in mind that we are constantly doing emotional education, even if not formally or intentionally. When educating there is always emotional transmission, whether explicit or not, healthy, or unhealthy. This is because there are two types of emotional education: part of the official curriculum, which happens during the established time and within formal programs, and relational, which happens all the time, without needing official programs, through plain human contact and osmosis, . The best emotional education program in the world couldfail if whoever is applying it is emotionally incompetent.
Basic social emotional skills of faculty work around the 3 main axes of emotional competence, these must be applied and adapted to the classrooms:
Intrapersonal dimension: to feel good with oneself, with one's emotions and ways of feeling. Applied to the classrooms it means, among others, to know how to identify, express, contain and transform emotions or emotional states in a proper way, such as to avoid projecting them or transferring them to the students.
Interpersonal dimension: to have proper relation and communication skills, to feel good with others and to make others feel good with us. Applied to the classrooms it means, among others, to communicate and educate using emotions in a sound way , to empathize and to consider the student's esteem, to be emotionally in sync with the group, to maintain our own center, to know how to see and promote talents and skills for both, groups and individuals, and to know how to identify, express, contain and transform emotions and emotional group states. Or at least, to not make them worse with one's own.
Ethical and social or eco-social dimension: to leave a positive mark in our path, to contribute with health and global emotional sustainability through our actions and presence in the world. Applied to the classrooms this means, among others, that what we are as humans sustains , reinforces and guides to the best possible outcome what we do as professionals, such as the ability to spread nice emotions in the educational context and to create positive, motivational, powerful, and fruitful education environments.
mSchools
What are the fundamental skills and concepts for a social emotional education?
Eva Bach Cobacho
These axes include skills such as: self-knowledge, self-consciousness and self-emotional regulation, also self-esteem, empathy, assertiveness, affective relations, resilience, self-motivation, teamwork, proper conflict management, appreciative and enabling outlook, affective and effective communication, gratitude, inner peace, etc. These skills are the basis of a teacher´s wellbeing and they need four main areas to develop correctly: healthy affectivity, emotional growth, complex thinking and pedagogical and vital optimism.
mSchools
To finish, James Funes in the prologue of the book co written with Montse Jimenez “Mothers, Fathers and Influencers” (Ed Grijalbo 2019), asks how we should keep educating in new realities, since wanting it or not, we are educating digital teenagers who live in virtual and present dimensions simultaneously
Eva Bach Cobacho
We must make a constant readaptation effort for the ever changing and complex world we live in. Listen more to our younger population and, not only teach them, but let ourselves be taught by them sometimes as well.
Curriculum focuses on innovation and motivation but there is one essential thing that continues to be left out : Life, with capital letters, what happens inside and among people, what moves us in our daily life and during interactions with others and the world.
To have emotional intelligence and social skills are two of the great skills needed to succeed in a job and in a future that seems to be more and more robotic. We need to think about how to develop these global competences that make us grow as professionals and as people. ourselves, not only how children can develop them. This will surely happen if we redefine the learning environments. . To change this may mean to break certain rigid aspects that are still present in the school environment. If not , the gap between the four walls in the classroom and the reality outside will grow bigger.
To educate digital teenagers that live in the present and virtual dimensions, we discuss the need to educate in hybrid values that arise from transcending and merging dualities that have been dissociated, when not opposed. It is the symbiosis era among concepts, entities, attitudes, and skills that can no longer work on their own. In person or virtually, neural education, reason and emotion, homo sapiens and homo sentients, information-biology-society with technology, schools and companies, people and robots, human intelligence and algorithms, augmented reality and physical reality. According to the French philosopher Edgar Morin, we need to substitute the isolating and separating thought for the thought that discerns and connects.

Author

Eva Bach Cobacho

Eva Bach is a pioneer in introducing emotional education in the learning and family environments in Cataluña as well as other autonomous communities in Spain. Teacher, trainers’ trainer and writer, she specializes in personal development, emotional intelligence, communication, and interpersonal relations.
Read more
Digital culture
Digital wellbeing
Digital education
Empathy
Digital fracture
Emotional Intelligence
Emotional health
Social-Emotional Learning Report

Google Tools to improve how you engage with digital technologies

Share

According to the latest data of Digital Report 2021 made by Hootsuite and We Are Social, over 55% of the world population use social media and spend on average 2 hours 22 minutes on these platforms, mainly using their mobile phones (99%)

The idea of digital wellbeing comes from the certainty that technology should be a tool that simplifies our lives and not an element that produces dependence, anxiety and constant distraction. It is key to explore tools and functions that allow the better understanding of the use of technology, unplug when desired and healthy habits for the entire family.

On this point, Google has launched a series of recomendations so people can create their own sense of digital wellbeing, such as

  • Visualizing digital habits
  • Being able to personalize your notifications
  • Controling the automatic reproduction
  • Scheduling breaks
  • Planning tasks
  • Making family agreements

To complement this last task, Google has also developed the platform Be Internet Awesome that includes online games that teach and help explore the internet in a safe way.

Click here to access the guide
Digital wellbeing
Digital education
Digital fracture
Emotional Intelligence
Emotional health
Social-Emotional Learning Video

5 ways to include a social-emotional perspective in teaching

Share

Check this BBC video in which award-winning author Laurence Scott talks about how Facebook, Twitter and other social networks can impact our emotions. From his conclusions , we reflect on the importance of social emotional education.

One of the main goals of this type of education in schools is that students learn how to get to know themselves better by identifying where their needs, thoughts and emotions come from. 

In order to achieve this, social interactions and creating a good atmosphere in class are key. We share 5 practical ideas to encourage this:

  • Setting and caring of the shared space: classrooms must be a place where students would want to returnand can create a sense of belonging.Therefore, this space needs proper lighting, it has to be clean and it should allow students to move easily in order to carry out teamwork. –        Designing personal activities that encourage dialogue (among students and teachers) and that allow to address different subjects from an interpersonal point of view.
  • Making conflicts visible: Starting with teacher intervention, the search for solutions may be a chance to build agreements and rules for daily life.
  • Proposing activities that allow students to reflect on different topics regarding their right to decide on their own body, so as to prevent or detect in time situations of harassment or abuse.
  • Encouraging teamwork. Group activities require dialogue, negotiation, collaboration, asking for help, giving in to create consensus and accepting agreements. Making collaborative tasks can strengthen the meaningful learning of active listening, solidarity and empathy.

Find below some links that can be useful in the classroom.

Find out more about Laurence Scott visiting: https://laurencescottwriter.com/

Digital culture
Digital education
Digital fracture
Digital wellbeing
Emotional health
Emotional Intelligence