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One of the biggest concerns that teachers and parents of children of infant age have is teaching them to manage their emotions. Since poor management will accompany them throughout their development causing consequences that will affect not only their personal growth, but also their academic training. Have you ever heard of the mouth-to-ear method? It is a strategy that helps resolve children's conflicts in the classroom, a great resource for teachers and teachers.
Children are not born knowing what they are and how to manage their emotions. Therefore, we must teach them to handle them. Otherwise, some of the main consequences are:
- Loss of personal confidence and low self-esteem.
- They tend to think that others do not understand what is happening to them and cannot help them solve their concerns. 'They ignore me', 'they just scold me and punish me', 'they don't want to play with me' ...
- They tend to have greater socialization problems. And as a consequence, more conflicts with their peers.
Many times, this management of emotions is caused by the inability to solve the conflicts they have with their peers. This is a headache, which many families and professionals face on a daily basis, since we do not know how to tackle these situations in the fairest way. So that those involved reach agreements without resorting to other means (insults, attacks ...).
The main problem we find when it comes to resolving classroom conflicts between equals is, to a large extent, lack of time. We are continuously thinking about the contents of the curriculum that we must give in a certain time, which many times, we accelerate and we put aside aspects as important as chatting with students about what worries them, how they feel, teach them to manage their conflicts, help them channel their emotions ...
At the time of managing conflicts with other colleagues it is essential to give them autonomy. One of the best known resources is the 'Word of mouth'. Many teachers and professors use it in their classrooms and schools. But what does it consist of?
The mouth-ear corner is a space in the classroom, in the courtyard, in the hallway of the center ..., where the students involved in a conflict, resolve their differences autonomously. Talking to each other and reaching an understanding.
We must have a fixed place that children turn to when they have something to work out with each other. The students involved will play two roles: the mouth and the ear. These will rotate in each of the positions as the arguments are presented. That is, the one who begins by arguing stands in the place of the mouth and explains what has happened and how he feels. Meanwhile, the other involved in the conflict stands in the place of the ear, so he can only listen to what the mouth says, without intervening.
As soon as the first student has finished refuting their opinion, it is time to listen. And it will be the other one, the one who presents his ideas. The exchange of positions will be repeated until an agreement is reached.
The purpose is for the two children to listen to each other's different points of view and be able to come to an understanding.
On the one hand, the teachers will be close to the students, trying to make them capable of respecting the turn to speak, the opposing opinions and reaching a link between the two.
We will act as guides in this sense, supporting and accompanying them in this process. Reinforcing them positively and listening to them actively, but trying to intervene as little as possible.
On the other hand, for the mouth-ear corner method to work we need the role of the student mediator. This role is intended for older students. Once the operation of this resource has been explained in the classroom, it is proposed that one of the students mediate between the two involved.
The first few times, the professor can observe how the mediator performs in his or her role, emphasizing that he simply must ensure compliance with the rules of said proposal.
From my experience, this resource not only helps to solve conflicts autonomously, but also reinforces the students in every way. Some of the most obvious benefits are the following:
- We promote autonomy in students.
- We grant greater confidence to those involved and, as a consequence, greater responsibility.
- They learn to respect the turn to speak.
- They value and learn to accept different opinions, despite not having to agree with them.
- They are able to reach an understanding and understand that the best way to solve problems is dialogue and not physical or verbal confrontation.
This method is definitely worth trying with children in the classroom.
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