chapter  5
LEARNING THROUGH FEELING: CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENT, TEACHERS’ BELIEFS AND RELATIONSHIPS, AND CLASSROOM PRACTICES
Pages 24

This is much more than an example of literacy instruction in kindergarten. Even without the benefit of direct observation or videotape, one can see that the entire episode is embedded within emotions and relationships. Interest, surprise, shyness, fear, affection, anger, and pride are as much a part of the curriculum as phonemes and inventive spelling. The children in Ms. Barber’s class are learning about books, story structure, letter-sound correspondences, and so on. They are writing, talking, and working on academic skills, but they are doing so within a complex matrix of feelings and relationships. As 5 and 6-year-olds, they have a lot in common, but they also have individual styles of expressing emotions and of connecting with others. Like the children, Ms. Barber, too, has her own style of emotion expression and her own relationship style. The ideas she has about emotions and the emotional context of her work as a teacher come from many sources-her temperament and personality, her experiences, her beliefs about children’s development, and about her role as their teacher. Although she may not be aware of it, Ms. Barber is an important contributor to the children’s emotional development and to their ability to use emotions in the service of learning.