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The Power of the Role Model

February 05, 2016

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“You must be able to work co-operatively and respond appropriately to challenging situations.”


Last week, I spotted an advertisement online for a vacancy at a large management company, and this was the first line of the job description. More and more, employers are favoring emotional intelligence over experience or skill. At BISC Lincoln Park, we hold the teaching of emotional literacy through our values education at our core. We believe that the ability to understand, express and manage our own emotions as well as respond to the emotions of others are just as fundamental as the skills of reading and writing. But, how do you teach a child to become emotionally literate?

Our students are exposed regularly to new ‘emotive vocabulary’ and discussions about values on a regular basis in the daily PACE sessions. Each teacher has their own approach to how values education should be taught, whether this be through the use of media, art or literature. However, there is one method that we all adopt which is woven into every moment of every day - modelling. Children’s ‘emotional apprenticeship’ takes place by watching how other people, particularly those they trust, deal with emotional situations. How we (both teachers and families) respond to our own emotions and those of others is fundamental in setting the expectations for our students. All emotions are valued and need to be recognized, worked through and explored in order to understand how we can turn them into positive learning experiences. What we do is as important, if not more so, than what we say. As a team, we recognize this significance and in turn, ensure that values education is not just a lesson, but a way of life.

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Value and Character