Emotion Coaching by adults changes the emotional and communicative classroom environment and children display more pro-social behaviours.
Ana, an Emotion Coaching Practitioner Trainer, tells this story of how she used Emotion Coaching with a pupil in her class and notes the impact this style of communication about emotions is having on the class......
Tallis, aged 5 was putting on her coat and trying to be quick. Most of the children were already finished and lining up. It was time to go outside and play. Tallis was still developing her independence and skills of putting on her own coat and zipping it up independently. When she noticed that most kids were almost ready she started crying, put her arms and head down and gave up on trying to get dressed.
Ana said she felt sad for Tallis.
Ana thought Tallis was feeling frustrated because she could not get dressed as fast as she wanted. She might also be feeling worried that the class would leave without her and she would be left alone in the class.
Ana said her first instinct was to soothe her and connect with her. She bent down and held Tallis for a little bit. Ana told Tallis that she looked like she really wanted to get ready to go outside and that she was working so hard to get ready fast. Ana also told Tallis that it can be difficult to put a coat on and that sometimes when we get stuck on things we get frustrated we can't do them as fast as we would like.
Ana said: “it looks like you are feeling frustrated right now and even a little worried that you would not be ready on time and the children would leave without you".
Tallis nodded and said: “I don't want to be alone and I cannot close my jacket.”
Ana recognised that Tallis had ‘flipped her lid’ and knew that Tallis needed to feel heard and understood and also understand that her emotions are normal. Ana named the emotions Tallis was having and this helped Tallis to calm down.
Ana said that as soon as she bent down next to Tallis, connected with her, named her emotions and showed her that she understood how she was feeling Tallis quickly calmed down and restarted getting ready. A few friends saw that Tallis was upset and without anyone asking them to, they began helping her and then kindly guided her to the group holding her hand.
Ana says that she is very happy to see that with consistent Emotion Coaching, a cooperative and caring community has been formed in the class and this is the language that children use with each other during their daily interactions.