Solving Problems – Building Resilience with Hunter and Eve. The effects of emotions on communications.

Solving Problems – Building Resilience with Hunter and Eve. The effects of emotions on communications.

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How do you show emotions in speech? Identifying our own emotions is indispensable to carry out effective actions and thoughts in different situations. The use of stories in teaching children identifying and handling their emotions is a valuable resource at early ages.
Another way to develop empathy and awareness of other people´s feelings is through basic English descriptions in which children focus on positive features of their classmates.

In Howards Gardner´s words, Emotional intelligence refers to how well we handle ourselves and our relationships, the 4 domains:

Self-awareness, knowing what we’re feeling, why we’re feeling it, which is a basis of, for example, good intuition, good decision-making.

It’s a moral compass, in part, is self-management, which means handling your distressing emotions in effective ways so that they don’t cripple you, they don’t get in the way of what you’re doing, and yet, attuning them.

Every emotion has a function. Also, positive emotions, getting ourselves, you know, involved, enthused about what we’re doing, aligning our actions with our passions.

The third is empathy, knowing what someone else is feeling.

And the fourth is putting that altogether in skilled relationship.

Some outstanding aspects we can cover from the FL area may be related to varied aspects of emotional intelligence, or talents. Lynn (2000) proposes a practical framework to develop mainly:

Self-awareness and control refers to two separate skills. The self-awareness component, which demands intimate and accurate knowledge of one’s self and one’s emotions; and the self-control component, where control of both positive and negative emotions is essential.

Empathy requires understanding how others feel about a particular set of events or circumstances.

Social expertness, as the ability to build genuine relationships and bonds with others.

Personal influence or the ability to inspire others through example, words, and deeds.

In developing emotional intelligence, the teacher/coach role acquires special relevance, especially when the classroom actions take place in a foreign language. Nevertheless, at the same time the communicative nature of the main goal in FLT facilitates the creation of a vast array of learning scenarios. Thus, through songs, stories, guided role plays, simulations or games, we can help children discover their emotions and handle them according to different situations. This is indeed a passionate challenge. In further posts we shall deepen into specific resources to work different emotions.

We all seem to admit nowadays that the role of emotional intelligence (EQ) is decisive at early stages of learning. Indeed, as opposed to traditional perspectives, modern curricula include in their methodological guidelines real contexts in which students develop not just “academic knowledge”, but also the social skills and abilities to get by in our pluricultural and plurilingual societies.

The usual orientations in “EQ” friendly environments are in alignment with the recognition and management of basic emotions, so as to understand that reactions are closely linked to feelings. Similarly, our real needs can only be satisfied if we truly show what we feel. In guise of an example, if sadness is not properly identified and we give evidence of anger, our classmates shall be dissuaded to get closer, and in turn we would receive distance instead of comfort.

In teaching English as a foreign language (FL) to children, there are some principles who seem to remain stable, despite the rapid changes of technological societies. These principles are universal, since they have to do with children´s nature and their likes. In this case, the use of stories with a didactic intention is probably as old as human being, and of course an enjoyable resource in all cultures.

Nonetheless, as an indispensable requirement, FL teachers ought to be aware of how comprehension strategies can help learners improve their ability to understand; therefore, it is essential to promote these strategies which, in turn, shall lead to a more autonomous type of learning, favouring learning to learn competence. In this sense, intelligent guessing is usually applied by FL teachers who want their students to reflect on the listening task. Some important intelligent guessing strategies are: predicting, by using prompts and clues to encourage them to guess what they think it is going to happen; and inferring meaning from the context, which is much more memorable for learners than receiving an explicit translation.

In this story, we can appreciate how “daily-life” stories can be ideal real contexts to get children familiar with the world of emotions and relations with others. This selection of children´s familiar scenarios should be perceived as close to their experiences. On the other hand, we may also introduce relevant situations for useful language practice, such as introducing themselves to other people, polite conventions when meeting or greeting people, etc. As we can see, in these situations students may be able to practise and infer social conventions of the language; but also learn the necessary skills to get by in daily life situations in English.


“50 Activities for Developing Emotional Intelligence”. B. Lynn, A.. HRD Press, Inc. • Amherst • Massachusetts. 2000

“Innovative Pedagogy. A Recognition of Emotions and Creativity in Education”. CREATIVE EDUCATION BOOK SERIES. Tatiana Chemi, Sarah Grams Davy and Birthe Lund (Eds). Sense publishers. 2017


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