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Integrate the Teaching of Kindness in School
Contributor
Written by
Liliana
April 2019
Contributor
Written by
Liliana
April 2019

Gestures of kindness have a large number of physical and emotional benefits. Every time

It is more evidence that children need a dose of this type of experience to grow up as healthy, happy and well-integrated individuals. 

 

Patty O'Grady is an expert in the area of neuroscience, emotional learning and positive psychology, which pays special attention to the educational context. She believes that "goodness changes the brain to be experienced. Children and adolescents do not learn about goodness just by thinking about it and talking about it. Goodness is integrated and learned by feeling it, so that later it can reproduce. Goodness is an emotion that students feel and empathy is a strength they share. "

A large number of benefits have been reported that support the theory of teaching goodness.

Here are 8 reasons to teach goodness in school:

1.      Happy children

Science explains that the pleasurable sensations that we experience when we are kind to others are produced by endorphins that activate areas of the brain that are associated with pleasure, social connection and trust, and that these feelings of happiness are proven to be contagious, promoting a friendlier behavior on the part of the person who executes it and also on the part of the person who receives it.

 

2.      Increase in peer acceptance

Research in this area suggests that kindness increases our ability to make meaningful connections with others. Studies show that kind and happy children enjoy more acceptance from their peers. At the same time, in classrooms where these practices are common, emotional health indexes above the average are reported, given the tendency towards inclusive behavior and more equitable distribution of popularity.

3.      Improvements in health and less stress

It is widely documented that doing kind acts can trigger a release of the hormone oxytocin, which has several emotional and physical benefits to the extent that can increase the levels of happiness experienced by the person and reduce the level of stress. Recently, it has been found that this plays an important role in the cardiovascular system, helping to protect the heart by reducing blood pressure and reducing free radicals and inflammation, which accelerate the aging process.

 

4.      Improvement of the sense of belonging and self-esteem

Studies show that people experience a "high" when they do a good action, a discharge of endorphins that create a sense of pride, well-being, and enrichment of the sense of belonging. Even small acts of kindness increase our sense of well-being and energy, giving a magnificent sense of optimism and self-worth.

 

5.      Increase in the sense of gratitude

When children are part of projects that help others less fortunate, it gives them a real sense of perspective and helps them appreciate the positive things they have in their own lives.

 

6.      Improvement in concentration and results

Given its relationship with the increase in serotonin - which plays an important role in learning, memory, mood, sleep, health and digestion - kindness is a key ingredient that helps children feel good. Having a positive attitude allows them a greater capacity of attention, facilitating creative thinking to produce better results in school.

 

7.     Less bullying

Two researchers * point out that "unlike previous generations, today's adolescents victimize each other at an alarming rate". They claim that bullying and violence can be confronted in programs within schools that integrate "goodness as the antithesis of victimization."

Many traditional anti-bullying programs focus on the negative actions that generate anxiety in children and often have little impact. Teaching kindness and compassion in schools not only encourages positive behaviors that create warm and inclusive school environments but also helps children increase their sense of belonging. It is widely documented how the effects of bullying can be reduced significantly by integrating programs based on the goodness in schools.

 

8.      Decrease in depression

Dr. Wayne Dyer, renowned author, and speaker, says that research has found that an act of kindness increases the level of serotonin (a natural chemical responsible for mood enhancement) in the brain. It has also been discovered that the levels of serotonin increase not only in the one who performs the kind act but also in the one who receives it, as well as any other person who witnesses that gesture, making it a wonderful natural antidepressant.

All these notes point out the importance that schools can provide a space to practice and experience emotions that enrich children and adolescents as individuals, and that in the long run, transform into wonderful protective gestures throughout their lives. 

Posing an alternative way to violence through the experimentation of enriching emotions, is a much more sincere and effective measure than the simple fact of suppressing with successive attempts (punishments, sanctions, parties ...) the destructive or violent behaviors in the classroom, which pay little attention to the motivations of these behaviors or to the base and emotional maturity of the children.

Goodness can be taught and promoted in the classroom, especially in early times of growth. The need for modern education to work beyond academics is becoming clearer. In order for children to become happy, safe and well-integrated subjects, emotion-related topics have to be taken seriously and nurtured as a matter of priority. 

Eddie is a Ph.D. professor at the University of London. He started in 2007 as a primary teacher in the school of London. Also, he is working as a Sr. content writer at British essay writers best helping firm for students.

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