Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Emotional beings in a social setting

We are emotional beings in a social setting, regardless of whether in a classroom, department, school, district, church or business.  We humans must have emotional well-being as the core to our existence.  The first four layers of Maslow's hierarchy all address this issue.  The first four layers are called "deficiency needs."  If these needs are not met, the body may give no indication externally, but the individual feels increasingly anxious and tense. As leaders we must build environments of trust and security - FIRST!  Thus, all learning is emotional.  
I want to use the term intentionality here.  We must be intentional in our approach to building these safe secure environments and that approach is most controlled by the language we use in our communication with others.  Linda Lambert, in her book, The Constuctivist Leader, explains, "The function of leadership must be to engage people in the processes that create the conditions for learning and form common ground about teaching and learning. Leadership must address the need for sense-making, for coherence, for seeing educational communities as growth-producing entities."  Lambert goes on to define Constructivist Leadership as "the reciprocal processes that enable participants in an educational community to construct meanings that lead to a common purpose about schooling."  These "reciprocal processes" might more simply be defined as trusting relationships.  Considering that
we are emotional beings in a social setting encourages us to remember the importance of relationships in our communities.

1 comment:

Kelley Meece said...

Devastating communication in our Wednesday class and on the heels of this topic. Truly a learning opportunity!! Emotional beings in an educational setting- ah YES! Most definitely. What can we learn from the exchanges that took place? What may have been revealed about our own and our classmates methods and means of communication? What could have been different? How could we have left the evening with a better outcome? I know Dr. Crocker didn't hear all of the exchanges, might be a good thing, but in hindsight, if he had, perhaps it would have been addressed with all sites immediately. As educational leaders and participants in our own education, we ought to remember a few things: class-time is valuable, we should be careful about sidetracking and/or going off on unnecessary tangents. With this said, we also have to respect one another and practice our "good" communication skills. It's not a competition- we are learning together! We do have the right to disagree. We should also have the right to speak an opinion, or play the devil's advocate without being attacked. With this being said, we venture around the cycle, back to side tracking and perhaps I contradict myself....this communication "stuff" is tedious! Just thinking out loud.