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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in emotions

Posted by on in Teaching Strategies


As the students were working on their bell ringer today (recalling radioactive decay equations), I stood in the middle of class and read the following to them:

He was the only person making his way into the city; he met hundreds and hundreds who were fleeing, and every one of them seemed to be hurt in some way. The eyebrows of some were burned off and skin hung from their faces and hands. Others, because of pain, held their arms up as if carrying something in both hands. Some were vomiting as they walked. Many were naked or in shreds of clothing. On some undressed bodies, the burns had made patterns—of undershirt straps and suspenders and, on the skin of some women (since white repelled the heat from the bomb and dark clothes absorbed it and conducted it to the skin), the shapes of flowers they had had on their kimonos. Many, although injured themselves, supported relatives who were worse off. Almost all had their heads bowed, looked straight ahead, were silent, and showed no expression whatsoever. - "Hiroshima" by John Hersey

Then, I showed them haunting imprints of people killed by the blast...

This was my prelude to starting the discussion on nuclear fission and fusion in chemistry today. And, while the images students undoubtedly saw in their minds upon hearing the above story were gruesome, my purpose was clear. I wanted to evoke strong emotions.

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Posted by on in Leadership


This is the third post in the Universal Truth Series. Please check out Universal Truth: Everyone Has At Least One Superpower and Universal Truth: We All Have The Power To Change The World if you enjoy reflections on simple but powerful existential truths.

Reality is what we make it...

Whether you're a teacher, administrator, student, CEO or a working stiff you can level up and become a superhero at what you do. One crucial step you must take to achieve this is that you must realize and accept that our reactions, all of our reactions, are a result of how our mind processes the information it receives.

We all act on thoughts rather than on things that are actually happening. For example, if someone insults you by saying less than admirable things about you you might get angry about it.

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Posted by on in Student Engagement

My twitter handle will seem a bit strange to some readers. 

I am @perfinker.

The premise of this term—coined by David L. Krech—is that human beings never just think. They are not best described, therefore, as “thinkers”. Rather, human beings are emotional beings. Our emotional responses are the primary way in which we make sense out of our experiences. We have bodies that influence how the world is experienced. We have the capacity to envision the possible—we are an imaginative species.  What we most remember and understand are topics/events that have evoked our emotions and imaginations. 

We always perceive, feel, and think at the same time; we perfink.

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

A good story often contains some kind of dramatic tension.

We see freedom and oppression play out in Cinderella. We see the idea of known and unknown worlds play out in Jack and The Beanstalk. We see safety and danger play out in Hantzel and Gretel. Dramatic tension is not only the stuff of children’s stories, myths, or fairytales however. Read an engaging news article and there will be some tension within it that you feel. For example, I just read a vivid account of what can happen when an underwater oil pipe ruptures; I was captivated by the sense of potential explosiveness that can occur. The hidden is revealed. The silent suddenly screams.

Imaginative teachers shape their lessons and units in ways that evoke a source of dramatic tension or, what we call in Imaginative Education, an Abstract Binary Opposition (ABO). (Check out the YouTube video about this teaching tool at the end of this post!)

Some examples for primary/elementary teachers:

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

Here's the golden rule of Imaginative Education:  Identify the emotional significance of the topics you are teaching.

This rule applies to all educators.  No matter what you teach, where you teach, or the age of your students, engaging teaching starts with you identifying what it is about the topic that evokes your sense of wonder.  On one level, this is obvious. Students know when their teachers are interested or engaged in a topic. A teacher’s passion and enthusiasm in general can inspire students to learn. In imaginative teaching, the teacher's engagement with the curriculum lies at the very heart of effective practice.  It is not an option.  It is not a frill.  A teacher’s emotional engagement with a curriculum topic is an essential part of all good teaching. Finding an emotional connection to a topic is how you find the story; it is the first and most important step towards teaching as storytelling. (Read more about teaching as storytelling here: How To Make Your Teaching Meaningful And Memorable.)

Story vs. Storytelling:  Defining Terms

Let me clarify terms.  Using "story" in your teaching does not mean you are going to create a fictional story.  Nor does it mean that you must endlessly tell your students personal stories.  Lastly, it does not mean you need to find a "story" to read along with all of your lessons.  These activities are uses of story and may, on one level, support learning and formation of relationships with your students, but they do not tap into the potency of the story tool for imaginative learning.

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