Emotional Education: the complement for Formal Education

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Education in the 21st century demands training different from the traditional ones, the idea is to provide a learning model that prepares us not only to reach a profession but also to help us face and overcome conflicts in life.

It is no longer enough to acquire only cognitive or technological skills; We must also possess skills that enable us to cope assertively with ourselves and the society in which we live.

That is why I want to talk to you about emotional education as an essential aspect in school, which must go hand in hand with formal education, in order to train a generation capable of facing challenges in a more successful way. Accompany me!! 

What are emotions?

Emotion is defined by theorists as:

A complex state of the organism, characterized by an excitement or disturbance that predisposes to an organized response .

Which are generated in response to an external or internal event.

That is, they are the alarms of our body that appear to indicate that something has negatively or positively affected our lives, as reflected in the film intensely.

Why is it important to know your emotions?

It is important to know our emotions, because they are part of our lives, although we generally do not pay due attention to them.

We almost never stop to think about all the things that our emotions are capable of influencing. They are responsible for driving or hindering our decisions on a daily basis.

Specialists in this area such as Goleman explain to us that people capable of properly channeling their emotions and interpreting and interacting effectively with others enjoy an advantageous situation in all domains of life.

These people are more effective and productive since they can have better emotional and mental control.

Therefore, we must be attentive to our emotions, in order to take the events that come our way with the best attitude. This will be essential for our mental well-being and therefore be more competitive in our environment.

Our emotions and formal education

emotions and education

I want to start this section with a phrase from Mario Benedetti :

We were taught from childhood how a body is formed, its organs, its bones, its functions, its places, but we never knew what the soul was made of

Extrapolating this phrase from the great poet informal education, we could say that the school has taught us to be excellent programmers, engineers, doctors, architects, pay for essay writing, etc. We are professionals capable of creating artificial intelligence, beautiful buildings, and performing successful transplants.

However, the school has not trained us to deal with the daily emotions that a professional faces. For example:

  • Working under pressure
  • The anxiety that a job interview produces
  • Supervision in areas in which we are experts, but we are terrified by the fact that they come to "evaluate" us 
  • Fear of failure
  • Being able to work as a team
  • Have empathy, etc.

In the same way, the youngest in school are mentioned about adolescence and the emotional changes that usually occur at that age; But upon reaching that stage, they are not given the tools to deal with mood swings and anxiety in their day-to-day life.

It is for all this that emotional education has become an additional ingredient for this new century, and is currently trying to include informal education since together they could have the opportunity to mold a more complete human being.

The purpose is for people to reach competencies not only of knowledge but also of being and living together; as established by UNESCO in the 4 pillars of education.

The idea is to try to make our students less vulnerable to certain circumstances in which they cannot control their emotions, since when this happens, it usually has serious consequences.

But, this type of education must be a continuous and permanent training process, which must be present throughout the academic curriculum and in the permanent training of the student.

What contributions does emotional education offer us in the classroom?

Emotional education in our classrooms must be focused on generating emotional competencies, that is: that the student manages to seize a set of knowledge, faculties, skills, and attitudes to better understand them, in order to express them appropriately and relate effectively.

These emotional competencies cover two aspects:

  1. Self-reflective abilities, that is, the student is able to identify his own emotions and regulate them appropriately.
  2. Interpersonal skills, which refers to social skills, empathy, the ability to capture non-verbal communication in others, etc.

That they are capable of developing skills that favor them to be more emotionally intelligent.

Here are some of the skills that formal and emotional education (according to  Salovey and Mayer ) could work together in the classroom. If you know any other, I invite you to comment 

1) Know your own emotions

We must learn to recognize a feeling at the moment it happens to us, in order to channel it and not fall into uncontrolled emotions.

Our students must learn to know themselves and where to get term papers help, to be able to know how to act, and not get carried away by the impulse that happens at the moment.

2) Manage emotions

Sometimes we see very intelligent students in our classrooms, excellent academically, but they are perceived as having very little confidence to speak in public: they have minimal assertive communication skills.

All of this makes them fearful kids for fear of being criticized or being wrong, causing over time certain difficulties in their cognitive development.

Emotional education in the classroom can include mechanisms to teach students to manage their own feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and without fear of being rejected.

3) Motivate yourself

Emotion drives action. Therefore emotion and motivation are closely related.

Let's remember what neuroscience says: Students learn better when they are motivated, when they like something, when they feel good about their learning, therefore, stimulating positive emotions or developing emotional skills implies better cognitive results.

Emotional education seeks to direct feelings and consequently motivation, in order to achieve the essential objectives to stimulate creativity, increase attention and internal strength of the student 

4) Recognize the emotions of others

Some claim that empathy is a gift; however, it is currently considered a skill that can be successfully developed based on the knowledge of our own emotions.

It's not something only lawyers, priests, sales experts, and politicians need. It is a necessary competence that we all need to live better with our environment.

It is necessary to learn to be empathetic, since this way we can come to understand ourselves better with others, considering the needs and desires of others.

5) Establish relationships

Goleman asks us that:

The art of establishing good relationships with others is, to a large extent, the ability to manage your emotions.

At times, we observe young people and professionals with wonderful capacities see problems from different perspectives and generate efficient solutions, but they do not know how to communicate assertively with others, much less convince their team to organize themselves towards solving problems.

It is necessary to be able to teach students certain social skills to interact effectively with others since this type of learning will give them the ideal competencies to complement leadership skills and interpersonal efficiency.

The role of the teacher in emotional education

When we remember our best teachers, we recognize their great knowledge, but it was really their closeness, trust, credibility, ability to motivate, respect, and availability that made them impossible to forget.

The role of the teacher in education is always fundamental and in emotional education much more since he will be the social-emotional leader in the classroom.

But, you cannot give, what you do not have. Therefore, the teacher must start training in these areas, in order to acquire emotional skills, which can then be used in classes to teach and learn.

An emotionally competent teacher will be able to develop and influence a truly effective climate in the classroom, to generate socio-emotional competencies in their students, such as security, independence, cooperation, and collaboration.

Challenges for teachers to work with emotional education in the classroom

Emotional education is being included in many classrooms in primary, secondary, and higher education, but for the most part, it is part of the initiative of the innovative teacher or in the best of cases as a pilot test to include it at some point in the curriculum.

This house of studies is currently the only Spanish public university that considers this subject as compulsory.

As a teacher, it is sometimes not easy to work on emotional education autonomously, due to the limitations that these imply.

Often, you have to follow a too strict curriculum, which sometimes prevents you from carrying out specific activities aimed at the emotional development of students.

We know that many institutions are currently setting their sights on emotional education, but the procedures in the inclusion of methods and strategies for such purposes are very slow.

Inserting emotional education in the classroom represents an effort that is not currently recognized in the curriculum, so some schools do not feel the need to promote it. However, given this, the initiative of the teacher is essential to innovate.

For now, we are the teachers, concerned about the integral education and emotional health of our young people, who have decided to take the initiatives with firm steps and convinced that we are not only transmitters of knowledge.


Children, youth, and adults need in their development towards professional life, to be provided with resources and strategies to cope with the inevitable experiences that life will bring them.

Emotional education must accompany formal education, in order to train all people to adopt behaviors that bear in mind the principles of prevention and human development.

The teacher is vital in the development of effective competencies of the emotions of their students, but for this, they must be trained, in order to provide experiences that invite learning for life.

The idea is that the student understands that his emotions are part of him, that they encompass everything and will accompany him throughout his life.

Therefore, emotions should not become an obstacle, on the contrary, they should be the spice of life; and that is why, emotional intelligence will help him to use them to his advantage, contributing to his integral development as a human being.

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