When we enter a classroom in which the children are focused on tasks, even if they are different from one another, we enter into amazement . Nothing focuses concentration more than wonder at a challenge.
For there to be fascination, interest, desire to know or act, these components are necessary:
- One or several subjects that motivate.
- One or several subjects who want to motivate themselves.
- A theme that is suggestive to both subjects (or groups of subjects).
- A link between these subjects, which feeds back the interests of both.
It seems simple, but the trigger for astonishment is prior to astonishment itself: it is about the bond.
The astonishment of the astonishing
The teacher is supposed to be a bearer of amazement for his students, to get their interest, their desire for action and to delve into what is proposed. But for this it is necessary that he is also amazed by what he does .
This is one of the first failures in the transmission chain of amazement: teachers who have lost the ability to be fascinated by what they present to their students.
On many occasions, this is a consequence of their work situation: too demanding with the programs that are imposed on them; too much teaching load, no schedule to prepare surprises; too many bureaucratic demands…
But, in turn, there is another conditioning factor that is not external: sometimes the astonishment has fled from them, because their work has become routine, too regulated by the institution in which they work, too directed by the publisher of their books of text…
You can only amaze others from your own astonishment, from your own enthusiasm to see how the interest of the students grows and from the work to spread your own passion for knowledge.
Link to amaze
What is definitely essential in maintaining the amazement of the students is the link that must be established between them and the teacher. Many children come to school eager to be amazed and excited to learn, but they do not find that connection that makes them stay in pursuit of a goal.
The teacher must cultivate the bond with each of his students, which will be specific to each one of them and prior to that situation of novelty that gives rise to interest in knowing something new.
You can present a topic, an activity, a piece of work, in a group, if (and only if) you maintain emotional ties with ALL the people to whom it is proposed.
Damasio’s affective marker
There are other factors that can explain the lack of amazement of primary school students, as has already been written on many occasions: the amount of stimuli they receive, the speed of these stimuli in movies and video games, the continuous rewards to their actions… All this encourages impatience and lack of perseverance. And all this can provoke the urgency of new continuous astonishments.
But no video game can replace the affective marker that a teacher can create with his students (with each student separately). That affective marker will enable that disposition to be amazed at what it presents to him and will sustain his initial interest in knowing what it is about.
The emotional connection, which cannot be legislated, which cannot be imposed by regulations, which is an act of will between two human beings who wish to connect, is essential to trigger astonishment.
That emotional connection is the somatic marker that neuroscientist Antonio Damasio relates to the success of the human species. Damasio says that affect, which is a positive somatic marker, generates emotional responses that will influence our behavior.
We are not amazed by a theme, an activity, a concept… We are amazed by how that activity, that concept, that theme, can be shared with others and, therefore, can empower and satisfy us.
One would think that most of our actions would be under the sole control of our discernment. But, the emotional bond with vital situations, positive or negative, has a very important role in our action decisions.
Blog for amazing
- To amaze, you have to be amazed.
- To make links you have to want to make them.
- To maintain bonds you have to be emotionally involved.
- To be emotionally involved you have to be emotionally healthy.
- There are enemies of wonder in classrooms, but we can defeat them. How? Promoting a healthy emotional life in teachers and an interest in bonding with students.
- The promotion of a healthy emotional life is a task that falls to the competent administrations. This emotional health has many aspects to attend to and improve.
- The formation of affective ties with the students falls directly on the teaching staff.
Teaching, without the capacity for personal wonder or the establishment of affective relationships with students and co-workers, is an unrewarding profession.
Author Bio: M. Angeles Alonso Riera is a Teacher and Speech Therapist. Specialized in ADHD and language disorders (SLI and Dyslexia) in Primary Education at the International University of Valencia