The school it has always been the realm of the cognitive and not the realm of the affective. I said it some time ago in my book “Archeology of feelings at school”, published by the editorial good in Buenos Aires in 2006. “School is the prison of feelings “, he had said a long time before (it was the year 1980) in the title of an article published by the Spanish Journal of Pedagogy.
Indeed, the school is the territory of the mind, the world of ideas, the house of thought. The body is the means of transportation for the head. We enter the classroom with the body because it is not possible to leave it at the entrance or in the hallway. The curriculum is fixed in the body only for Physical Education classes, which, on many occasions, has been considered a maría. When you arrive and when you leave from school, the only thing that matters is answering this question: what do you know about…? There is seldom an interest in other issues. How are you? What do you feel? What and who do you want?
It would be said that both teachers and students they are disembodied beings who negotiate with knowledge and, of course, with the words that transport them from one mind to another. But what neither feel nor suffer. Some teach and others learn. Some evaluate and others are evaluated. As if they were machines deprived of the ability to get excited.
What about the bodies? What about feelings? What about passion? It seems that these questions must raise them before entering and after leaving classrooms and schools. But not within them.
I book “I educate you, you educate me”, raises some questions about the emotions that are tied, almost inexorably, to the educational experience. The title of this book translated into Portuguese, “Uma pedagogia da libertaçao. Sentimental chronicle of an experience ”, shows that component frequently excluded from reflection and pedagogical practice. Let’s say it’s a book not about what you think but about what a school principal feels. In one of the stories I openly state an emotional experience and I reflect on it. The event is described in a few header lines (this is how the book is constructed) and then, on a broken foot (that is the literary style I chose for this work), what I think and feel about it appears.
Someone has told me, leaning out of my office door: “I have missed you this weekend.” I have not known what to answer. I have only smiled and have continued writing, a little less concentrated, a little more nervous.
What can I do? / Handcuffed of obligations / responsibilities, of long traditions and social fears.
What can I say?/I am an adult/ that I bend you in springs / and that I see life from top to bottom, / still with optimism, / but I have already passed the equator of the years.
I can’t play with you, certainly./ Nor can I judge you in a foolish way, / despising a feeling / that I guess serious and firm, / probably brittle, / but serious and firm, / perhaps much more than my misgivings. / Nor can I seriously tell you: What do you say, / I have also remembered you.
Your phrase will be lost among the mountains of my days / between the stones of my reserves/ Its echo will only resonate a few times, / as now when I write, / remembering your word and its accents.
(…) (…) (…)
I assure you, I assure you very truly/ I don’t know very well what to do: / if I close my heart and smile / (there are no more risks, / or sharing tasks and friendship, / making possible and probable / ethe advent of love, / of an almost always impossible love, / always full of pain ”.
There is usually talk of matters related to the heart. Teachers who adore their students and who arouse emotions in them are considered suspicious. Have i ever said that the students They learn from those teachers they love. The suspicion is based on the false premise that education is neutral, that there is a uniform emotional floor that allows us to treat everyone the same, without passion. And also from suspicion they block the possibility of a fair evaluation.
I knew years ago Argentine teacher Alicia Fernández, prestigious psychopedagogue who died in 2015, who kindly dedicated a book of hers to me with a compelling title: “The trapped sexuality of the teacher lady.” In this play The author considers the teaching / learning link, emphasizing the harmful consequences for the work of construction of her subjectivity and for theThe possibility of teaching has the hiding, omit and deny the differences of sexual genders.
In the bell hooks book “Teach to transgress. The education as a practice of freedom ”(2021, Captain Swing) there is a chapter that has caught my attention especially. It is number 13 and is entitled “Eros, eroticism and pedagogical process.”
Hooks says that “las y the teachers We rarely talk about the place of eros or the erotic in the classroom. Formed in the philosophical context of Western metaphysical dualism, many of us have accepted the idea that there is a split between body and mind. By believing this, individuals enter the classroom to teach as if only the mind and not the body were present ”.
With some sarcasm, Professor Hooks comments that when she started to act as a teacher and he had to go to the toilet in the middle of the class he had no idea what his predecessors did in such circumstances. No one had spoken of the body in relation to teaching. And he wonders with a certain tinkle: What was done with the body in the classroom? Well, with the body and with the feelings. Because it gives the impression that each student he assimilates himself to the desk and becomes one with it. The student and the desk they do not feel anything and the teacher (or the teacher, the difference is not small) also do not feel anything special for those desks and students, or for one in particular or by the group in general.
He counts hooks that during the first semester he gave class at the university I had a student who always seemed to see and not see at the same time. In the middle of the term, she received a call from the University psychologist because she wanted to talk to her about how she treated a student in the classroom. The psychologist told her that the students had said that he behaved in a hostile, rude and irascible manner when addressing him. “I didn’t know exactly who the student was, says hooks, I couldn’t put a face or body to his name, but afterwards, when he identified himself in class, I realized that I felt erotic attraction for him and that my naive way of wrestling with feelings that I had been taught never to have in the classroom, andto block, repress and deny them”.
“When I realized, says hooks, that my students were confused by expressions of affection and love in the classroom, it seemed necessary to dedicate some class on the subject. On one occasion I asked them: Why do you feel that the esteem that I express towards a person cannot be extended to each one of you? Why do you think there is not enough love and affection for all?”.
You can have a passion for school but not a passion for school. It is a sphere full of prejudices and fears. I do not see a lot of teaching not a lot of learning passionate about teaching today. I wish I was wrong. Nor is there much room for the emotional in initial training and in the selection of teachers. I remember the beautiful and true thought of Emilio Lledó, which I passionately subscribe: The teaching profession gains authority through the love of what is taught and the love of those who are taught ”.
Termina hooks the cited chapter (and I this article) are these words: “To return passion to the classroom or to awaken it where it was not, teachers must find again the place of eros inside us and together I allowedr that the mind and the body feel and know the desire ”.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.