Although it’s already a month into 2022, we wish you a Happy New Year! At Integral Steps, we are thrilled to continue strengthening our community and working around an integrative education. What are you thrilled about this 2022?
Last year, we talked about the relationship between emotions and memory, emotions and attention, and the idea that real learning occurs through experience. In conversation about these ideas with Weronika Balewski, IS Instructor and Director of Development, a new fundamental element was brought up: the importance of the group to enhance positive emotions and learning experience in children or adults. Here is some of the takeaway from Weronika:
What does it mean to take into account your students’ emotions when planning a lesson?
- WB: Thinking about the emotional experience of students in a classroom means that I [as a teacher], have to think differently about my goals. The result is that, if students are engaged emotionally, they will really care about what they are learning and their attention will be put into the day’s lesson. For this, I have to come up with exercises and activities that will allow me to move the theory into experiences, and thus, emotions. What if we learn about different ways of grouping beats into meters by imitating how different animals jump? I definitely have to think of activities that the students will absolutely be thrilled about…
What is the importance of the group for an integrative musical education?
- WB: The group allows students to live the experience that music is created in community; music is a creative personal expression, it is a conversation and it is created in collaboration, in community. In a classroom, it is clear that once the imagination of some students begins to burst, others follow, and more and more ideas are created. Creativity ignites creativity… We want to perform and create music that is relevant for our community, so we must be connected to it, emotionally.
- WB: Another important aspect of the group is that it creates a safety net for each student to perceive and acknowledge their emotions. Often, not all the students will be in the same emotional state or energy level to participate in the class. However, seeing how others interact provides a baseline for them to understand how they are feeling (even if they cannot change it). As a group, we work towards not judging these different states, but integrate them. If some students are up and need to release that energy, then maybe we can all move to a fast beat, but if some students are low, then we could bring the whole class to a calmer way of expressing the topic of the day.
How do you feel the group has been an important aspect of your integrative educational experience? Let us know!