About the author: Vince Gowmon is the author of Let the Fire Burn ~ Nurturing the Creative Spirit of Children, and Wild Empty Spaces ~ Poems for the Opening Heart. He presents keynotes and playshops and offers somatic life coaching and counselling in person, on Skype, and over the phone. For more of his writing, subscribe to his free e-newsletter. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Connection precedes learning

“Putting your students’ emotional needs first is important because without feeling safe and understood, no instructional strategy will be effective.” ~ Jasper Fox, Sr.

How often and in how many ways do we make learning far more important than connection? The school system has been designed to make learning paramount and so often at the cost of the core biological need to bond. This breaks the hearts of so many teachers I present to, leaving them in tears, angry, frustrated. They dearly want to connect with their students, but find it extremely difficult given the expectations of the institution and classroom size. They dearly want to listen to and connect to their own hearts, and do what they know is best for their students.

For teachers to connect with their students they need to be given the permission and space to connect to what is true within—their intuition, their imagination, their impulse to improvise and follow. Their joy is directly connected to the children’s joy. The more teachers genuinely enjoy teaching, the more students will likely enjoy learning. The more teachers can have the freedom to flow with what is happening in the classroom, the more they can make learning come alive…

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“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.” ~ Alfie Kohn