THINK: Emotion in Education

“If the communicative body is about the sharing of others’ embodied experience in their pleasure and happiness as well as their unease or suffering, emotion is absolutely fundamental to its functioning as embodied subject. So we need to find a way of better understanding emotion in human embodiment, and most particularly of attending to the social dimension of emotion. This suggests that a certain kind of education needs to be undergone and that all aspects of educational theory, practice and policy would need to be reassessed.” -Emily O’Loughlin, “Education and Embodiment”

How present is emotion in your education? What role does it play? What is the “social dimension” of your emotion? In what ways is emotion suppressed in intellectual traditions? How do you feel about that? 😉

Monday Meditation: On Good Education as Problem-Posing

“Banking education resists dialogue; problem-posing education regards dialogue as indispensable to the act of cognition which unveils reality. Banking education treats students as objects of assistance; problem-posing education makes them critical thinkers. Banking education inhibits creativity and domesticates (although it cannot completely destroy) the intentionality of consciousness by isolating consciousness from the world, thereby denying men their ontological and historical vocation of becoming more fully human. Problem posting education bases itself on creativity and stimulates true reflection and action upon reality, thereby responding to the vocation of men as beings who are authentic only when engaged in inquiry and transformation.” -Paulo Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed

How do you regard your education? Do you sit in the class room and participate in the banking model? Are you annoyed when problems are posed and solutions are not given? How does what you learn affect how you live? How is your education, and your submission to it, liberating you to become more fully human by inquiry and transformation? Is it?

Identifying As Human Today

I find myself, on today of all days, to be devoid of any substantial amount of patriotism or any sense of national identity. Sadness and pain in reflection of the people who died eleven years ago I find ample enough, but to say that I connect their loss to any sense of pride in America is a stretch.

Maybe the patriotic fire has been snuffed out by the knowledge that in the last eleven years enough people have died in the reactionary measures of the Bush Administration and their continuation under President Obama. Perhaps I never felt any particular pride in American citizenship from the start, and I only see governmental institutions as a means to a social and economic end.

Whatever the reason, I feel today makes me identify to humanity as a whole, and less to the people who live within the lines in the sand we call America. Neither side was right to cause the incident, but the event clearly states a message I have begun to understand during what short time I have had on earth. We need to stop looking at Democrats and Republicans, Americans and Arabs, countries and nations, or religions and philosophies as something to be contested. We can only truly learn from disaster by recognizing its cause: hatred and partisanship that only divides men and turns them upon each other.

Leip, a 9-year old Sudanese refugee I tutor as part of a service project at Creighton University, sat down next to me today and asked what September 11th was. I explained that eleven years ago today, planes hit two buildings in New York and a lot of people died. He asked me why, but I couldn’t give an answer simple enough for a nine year old boy to understand. I just told him I didn’t know.

Another boy, another refugee, heard us talking and asked “Why are you talking about this?”

I said “We talk about it because it is sad.”

He told me “If it makes you sad, then don’t talk about it” and walked away.

Leip, however, understood why we talked about it. While he was too young to understand the situation, he understood why everyone felt sad. His point of view, simple and clear, sparked a train of thought in my mind that has been with me since.

To understand the situation and truly benefit from it, I feel like I am much like Leip. I understand the sadness and try my best to understand its causes. In the end, I come to the idea that humanity needs to recognize the good of every person, for their own sake. So today, I ask that we all put aside our differences and recognize the good in other people, so that maybe this world can change for the better.

-Nick O’Brien, Cortinian