By Carla Silver, Executive Director
I spent a lot of my own school years learning stuff. Content and skills. The quadratic equation. The significance of the Mississippi Compromise. How to factor. How to write a five paragraph essay. How to craft a thesis statement and then support it with evidence. The parts of a cell. Some of this stuff has been very helpful to me in my life. Some stuff I learned relatively well. Some not so much. As an English major I read a lot of books and wrote a lot of papers for teachers. I received grades on those papers that told me how well I understood what I had read, how well I communicated my ideas, and how, in comparison to my peers, sophisticated my thinking was - at least according to that one teacher who read the paper.
Looking back, I don’t know if, in all of those years of school, I ever once had a teacher who asked me about how any of it made me feel. Not like some Robin Williams Dead Poet Society moment about feeling something while reading poetry, but more like, how did it feel to learn something new? How did it feel to be curious? How did it feel to bump up against something really hard, try as hard as you could, and get very limited results? How did it feel to get a C or an A? What does it mean to feel bored?
I went through school feeling a lot about my intellectual experience and my learning - anger, joy, boredom, accomplishment, disappointment frustration, wonder (sometimes) - because I’m human and that is what we do. Emote. Who’s job was it to help me to identify these feelings and make sense of them? Schools talk a lot these days about social-emotional intelligence and I wonder if that includes feelings about what and how we are learning and also how we are succeeding and failing in our school experience. I wonder if I would have learned more and remembered more if I had been emotionally connected to the content and to the work?
L+D Staff and Friends
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