Neera Kohli, Founder, The New Me

A retired vice-principal of a reputed school in Delhi. Neera brings to the table 33+ years of academics and administrative responsibility. She is the brains behind the concept, “The New Me”, a personality development program for students. Today, she is a teacher trainer, conducting workshops for educators since 2014 and a resource person with CBSE. She also works closely with various publishers. She is also involved in preparing modules as per a particular school’s request to conduct workshops for both students and teachers. As a master trainer for “happy classrooms”, she aims to reach out to as many teachers & provide the insights to take back to classrooms.

Sitting and chatting with another peer teacher the other day, we were discussing the teaching and learning processes of yesteryears. The teachers’ core competencies were subject-based and knowledge-oriented. In an attempt to not compare with the present-day pedagogy, somehow the conversation delved more into the skills needed and what was learned in the 21st century- both by the learners and the educators. Whilst we were enjoying and grasping the fact that many of these skills were not taught to us in schools- it was heartening to acknowledge that these skills are the heart and soul of our education forte.

While we were more focused on marks, subject, learning objectives earlier, today, the focus is on more humanistic education. The emotions play a vital role in our lives that are comprised of feelings, mental state, behavior, reactions, and coping skills- this highlights the importance of ‘Emotional intelligence’. This is done by not just managing one’s emotions, but of others too.

The very basis of emotional intelligence entails two competencies, personal and social competencies. The first would lead us to

1. Self-awareness, by accurately perceiving one’s own emotions
2. Self-management, where management of emotions and behavior productively is focused.

Social competency would include
1. Social awareness, where one accurately understands and perceive the emotions and behavior of others
2. Relationship management, that includes impacting others and working effectively.

The corporate’s skills of ‘networking’ are in one way or other imbued in emotional intelligence, which was never taught in our schools nor did the educators understand it so deeply.

In order to regulate the concept of Emotional Intelligence today’s educators need to prepare a handy toolkit so that her/his classroom is lively and interesting. At the same time, the students imbibe their skills of interpersonal relationships, moderating the emotions and other learning outcomes. There are plenty of constructive strategies to manage both positive and negative emotions and some of these can prove to be beneficial in bringing out the best in our students. For example:

  • Writing a Journal
  • Mindful activities
  • Exercising or walks
  • Role of healthy diet & sleep
  • Friends
  • Interesting worksheets
  • Green zone posters or any other art activity
  • Dance or any rhythmic activity
  • Questionnaires
  • Watching a movie
  • Visit a museum
  • Try a new hobby

The above discussion led all my peers to believe in Maya Angelou’s words “I have learned that I still have to learn”. We have not learned many things in our younger days, but life’s experiences build our block by block and thereby enrich us.

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