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Emotional Learning Outside

Building Understanding

daniella1The idea behind emotional intelligence is more than noticing ones emotions. It is also the act of using empathy as a form of communication and understanding between people. Throughout my time in working in the outdoor education world I have seen more and more the importance of emotional intelligence. It is a skill that takes a whole life to develop and master. Even though teaching how to be emotionally intelligent is a difficult task, I think helping students recognize the process and why its important is the best way to go in teaching it. 

daniella2Emotional intelligence is often times an expectation or a skill we work on as we discover, learn and explore together the ecosystems or own personal challenges while being at Islandwood. This characteristic is introduced and framed first thing when I meet the students. I explain the importance of recognizing ones own emotions when they first arrive and then give them the time to assess what to do next. The best moments to bring up in conversation emotional intelligence are after a team challenge, or after a long day of hiking. I reiterate again the importance of emotions. Together in our circle, we say out loud what we are feeling and often times the students jump into expelling why they feel certain ways. If they don’t provide evidence I usually ask for an example. Now in those moments if a stranger would have walked into that moments my students may have not said the same answer as they would have said to me. I set the standard about sharing emotions and recognizing them when they happen. Its something we do everyday especially during debriefs at the end of the day. Even a simple questions of asking, “How is everyone feeling?” and getting real answers in which the students know that you are truly listening to what they have to say. Once this ambience is created there is a sense of trust and respect that is gained. In this setting students become more willing to learn with you and be challenged by you. Working with emotional intelligence allows for your students to do some self reflection, regulation and also self awareness. In their recognition, they then feel more confident in themselves which allows for you to help stretch their answers. Asking a lot of why questions helps them to communicate effectively why they are saying the things they are saying. 

daniella siderbar2Emotional intelligence ties in with social emotional learning. The idea of learning empathy, how to communicate to others how you feel and why are skills that are important to every student. The setting does not matter, but in outdoor education there is the space and tons of opportunities to learn the importance of emotions while learning.  

daniella1The idea behind emotional intelligence is more than noticing ones emotions. It is also the act of using empathy as a form of communication and understanding between people. Throughout my time in working in the outdoor education world I have seen more and more the importance of emotional intelligence. It is a skill that takes a whole life to develop and master. Even though teaching how to be emotionally intelligent is a difficult task, I think helping students recognize the process and why its important is the best way to go in teaching it. 

daniella2Emotional intelligence is often times an expectation or a skill we work on as we discover, learn and explore together the ecosystems or own personal challenges while being at Islandwood. This characteristic is introduced and framed first thing when I meet the students. I explain the importance of recognizing ones own emotions when they first arrive and then give them the time to assess what to do next. The best moments to bring up in conversation emotional intelligence are after a team challenge, or after a long day of hiking. I reiterate again the importance of emotions. Together in our circle, we say out loud what we are feeling and often times the students jump into expelling why they feel certain ways. If they don’t provide evidence I usually ask for an example. Now in those moments if a stranger would have walked into that moments my students may have not said the same answer as they would have said to me. I set the standard about sharing emotions and recognizing them when they happen. Its something we do everyday especially during debriefs at the end of the day. Even a simple questions of asking, “How is everyone feeling?” and getting real answers in which the students know that you are truly listening to what they have to say. Once this ambience is created there is a sense of trust and respect that is gained. In this setting students become more willing to learn with you and be challenged by you. Working with emotional intelligence allows for your students to do some self reflection, regulation and also self awareness. In their recognition, they then feel more confident in themselves which allows for you to help stretch their answers. Asking a lot of why questions helps them to communicate effectively why they are saying the things they are saying. 

daniella siderbar2Emotional intelligence ties in with social emotional learning. The idea of learning empathy, how to communicate to others how you feel and why are skills that are important to every student. The setting does not matter, but in outdoor education there is the space and tons of opportunities to learn the importance of emotions while learning.  

About the Author
Daniella Miramontes

Originally from the San Fransisco Bay Area. Grew up in a Mexican household and fluent in both Spanish and English. Recently transitioned to education to become a teacher. Studied the environment and the human impact while undergrad student. Worked in outdoor education, but now is learning how to use outdoor education in a classroom. While working at Islandwood, techniques and new ways of learning had been introduced to perfect. The next part is becoming a teacher in Washington.