Thursday, 14 February 2013

How Do I Feel? - Encourage Talking About Emotions.

I hope you've all had a wonderful Valentines Day! 
Throughout the month of February we all talk about expressing love to our families, loved ones, partners, husbands, wives etc. With all the violence seen on the news lately, I thought it would be essential to build our future generation on good grounds and in turn hopefully minimize voilence in general.
Many children face this challenge. Often when they're angry, they either argue with their friends, classmates, or teacher. They don't know where to let out their frustrations, and in turn are scolded or punished for misbehaving. 

So how do we as teachers, mothers, uncles, and aunties encourage children to talk about emotions?

Here are 5 steps to encourage talking about feelings:

1. Warm-ups. Start the day with a 'hello' and 'how do we feel today?' class activity or discussion. Maybe include some questions on the board about feelings. What do we do when we're angry? What do we do when we're happy? etc. This will usually help create a friendly environment where the children will feel happy to share and less intimidated to talk. 

2. Give them space. For example, if a child is upset and a little withdrawn, they may not want to discuss what is upsetting them straight away. Although, if you let them know that they can think about it and when they're ready to talk to you, you'll be there to listen. They will feel secure in knowing that if they're uphappy about something it is okay to talk about it. 

3. Manage misbehaviour. Make it clear to the students that unacceptable reactions such as hitting or insulting others will not be tolerated. Use posters about what anger does and how much it hurts someone else. Use statements such as 'hitting hurts.' and 'we don't scream.'

4. An outlet. Have a form of creative outlet. For example each week let the class watch a movie, be creative and make crafts, or use a media device (iPods, iPads) etc. These ways help children see their favorite shows depicting many different emotions and how they responded to them appropriately. 

5. Be a positive model. Encourage using 'I messages' for example. 'I feel sad when ...' and these sentences help children in time reflect positively on their own emotions. This will let children know that it is okay to express sadness, fear or anger but in a positive way.

I hope you found this post useful! Feel free to comment below and tell me how you encourage talking about feelings in your class! - would love to get more ideas. 
Finally, I would like to conclude with a freebie on teaching emotions. It includes a vocabulary of emotions page hand-out, a worksheet on the verb to be and a writing piece. This mini unit is suitable for grades 1-3 or for ESL beginner levels. 

It is available here.

Wishing you a lovely February!