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Emotions & Ethics in Education

V. G. Siddhartha, Dr. Payal Tadvi, Vineet Whig, these are the recent examples of unfortunate endings of possible good lives. They were adults, entrepreneurs, professionally qualified, having life experience but we have also seen a arise in the number of students committing suicides due to academic / exam related stress and personal problems. So what is common to both? If we dig deep to find the issue – it’s stress!

The gravity of the stress, the type of stress doesn’t matter – it’s an issue / problem that the particular individual was not able to cope up with. Reasons may vary, we may speculate about the situation, but the truth is it was something beyond the individual could handle. We cannot deny the fact that they may have tried to resolve the problem in their own way or reached out to people for solution or support. But unfortunately things did not work out. This makes us think – inability to handle issues like financial, emotional, social, career and so on can lead to such unfortunate events. Financial loss and depression [which can be due to personal, social or emotional issues] are the topmost reasons which lead to suicide. It’s time to take drastic measures to stop drastic steps taken by individuals.

“Thinking Problem AS a Problem IS the Problem” has a profound meaning. If we consider the statement, then it points out to the way we think; our process of thinking. The positive thoughts, the negative thoughts – all these are deep rooted on how we handle our emotions and thoughts; and eventually ourselves. How we perceive a problem decides how we plan to overcome it. Everyone faces problems – small or big; but it all depends how one learns to cope with it. For some, one statement said by someone can lead to extremities, while for others inspite of the whole system failing; they may still be unaffected. A lot has been said and written about problems and ways of handling it. But why is that we still are ill-equipped to face problems? At some level it is due to the need of ‘being the best’, but that’s not enough, you have to ‘be the best, but beat the rest’- this level of competition and performance pressure results in extreme outbursts.

What does talk about? It definitely hints at what is the emotional make of the individual. Are we strong enough to face all that life throws at us? Are we ready to reach out for solutions? Do we have an emotional ecosystem ready to help us out? Are we aware how we are feeling about a situation or person? To find answers to all these questions we need band of qualified professionals.

For us to understand these issues, we will have to first understand and accept the importance of acknowledging our emotions. We need to be in touch with our emotions and we need to be aware of our triggers. Right from childhood, we need to focus on strengthening our core – our emotions and values. This foundation needs to be taught right at school. We will need to pause and consolidate our approach towards our next generation. The whole system will have to be redesigned. From curriculum, to teaching methodologies, approach of academicians, to the way we raise our children – our country’s future.

Our children, our youth needs to be emotionally strengthened to face the VUCA world [Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous]; especially because India has the largest number of youth that will be joining the global workforce. Today we talking about modern ways of teaching, but instead we need to be focussed on creating learning environment. We are focussing on artificial intelligence, but the real focus should be emotional intelligence. We are talking about smart ways of teaching, but the need is ‘learning to learn’. This is applicable not only to students but also professionals [including teachers]. We are talking about business models, but the real attention should be on business ethics. We are just introducing new courses, when actually we need to align our school, college and markets. Parents are wasting their money in extra coaching, when we should be investing on understanding concepts. If we can work on each of the aspects for our country’s youth, we can have a start in the right direction.

To understand and learn about these aspects of development and growth, a lot of awareness and sensitization programs by qualified professionals [not self appointed professionals] need to undertaken. Professional intervention by Psychologists and Psychiatrists should be made available and accessible to all to resolve emotional issues. Training and workshops are yet to reach their fullest potential. Academicians have to be included in this interventional plan, as they have to educate our future citizens. We do not need emotionally vulnerable children but we need emotionally strong and children having value to faces the uncertainties of tomorrow. A lot needs to be done, we have taken the first step, by creating awareness about this issue, now its your turn to join hands.