E-learning and e-motion

A number of years ago the concept of EQ was uncovered in the educational world and was seen by many to be far more accurate in determining future ‘success’ than its traditional ‘brother’ called IQ.

I suspect we all know the saying that we can choose our friends but we cannot choose our relatives. Whether it is brothers (“I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance — waiting for the bathroom” Bob Hope) or sisters (“Never let an angry sister comb your hair” Patricia McCann), or children (“Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don’t have the top for” Jerry Seinfeld) or parents (“Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist” Michael Levine), or cousins (“God made us cousins, because he knew our moms couldn’t handle us as sisters” Anon), we are stuck with our relatives; sometimes we run from them and other times we run to them. Maybe that is why Einstein concluded that “All motion is relative”!

It is clear that all motion is relative because relatives stir our e-motions. That is the simple and easy answer (though it will not gain an A grade in a physics exam). It might make us think though: what moves us or stirs us up to action? One celebrated Christian writer, Richard Foster, wrote a book on this subject, entitled Money, Sex and Power – the challenge of a disciplined life,  but what inspires, excites, empowers, touches us?

Previously we have reflected on E-learning in education, with reference to our age of technology, it being about e-learning, e-mails, e-lobola, e-quality, e-quations, e-quotations. Where then is the place of e-motions in all of this? Is there any place for them?

A number of years ago the concept of EQ was uncovered in the educational world and was seen by many to be far more accurate in determining future ‘success’ than its traditional ‘brother’ called IQ. Everyone associates IQ with education – our Intelligence Quotient was what assessed our intelligence and that was it. Many parents will still measure their child’s (or school’s) ‘success’ by the academic results. What then of Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is that ability to “identify, assess and control emotions”, to understand one’s own emotions and those of others and then to act appropriately. It is about controlling and harnessing and using one’s emotions. In short, that must be at the very heart of education. As someone has once put it, “at the heart of education is the education of the heart.” Your children are learning valuable lessons in academic subjects when they come to school each day but they are learning more valuable lessons each hour through learning about their own and other people’s emotions. In the course of any one day, they may well experience greed, anger, love, jealousy, boredom, impatience, joy, despair, pressure – how do they cope with them? Is it just instinctive?

The Bible implies that EQ must be at the very heart of education. We are given the Ten Commandments and we view them as something to remember, as if for an examination. However, Christ Himself reminded us that we are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength”. That is, love Him, not understand a concept of Him. Similarly, Jesus attacked the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law in very strong terms in Matthew 23 because they viewed their religion as an academic subject. Jesus said, “you give tithes” (i.e. you follow the curriculum and respond with the right answer) but “you ignore mercy” – you do not use your emotions. He says they look nice on the outside, like smart tombs (as a pupil might appear clever or smart) but inside there is no life – no emotion. It is not the letter (academic) but the spirit (emotion).

School is a place where we seek to educate pupils about e-motion. Camps, music concerts, sport, are all about e-motions and we have to learn to understand, exercise and develop it. Education is about emotion. We seek to help them find the best way, the right way, to move them; we seek to help them learn how to control and harness these powerful emotions, in the corridors, on the sports fields, in the classrooms. We seek to help them know how to express these e-motions, though not everyone will show his emotions in the same way; some will be exuberant, others will be quiet.

So, then, all motion may be relative but all e-motion is relevant. School is made up of people who develop relationships and the emotions generated are what move us, inspire us. Education is very much about emotion. Our e-motions as teachers and parents will be taxed and stretched but the difficulty is all relative to the reward. We can choose our subjects but we cannot choose our senses.

Tim Middleton is the executive director of the Association of Trust Schools [ATS]. The views expressed in this article, however, are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of the ATS.

Email: [email protected]

website: atszim.org

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