Learning Without Fear

The wonderful time of long summer vacation had ended. Like every year, we had wonderful moments with our children and probably some challenging ones as well. Then, the week before school started, we thought about refocusing our children, talked to them about where to work harder, what to improve and how to behave better.

Far too often we realize, that children who sail through their assignments without challenge, or students with behavioural or learning problems are afraid of school. They are scared that they cannot meet ours or their teacher’s expectations and are afraid of failure. They fear peer pressure and many other negative situations. This fear will hinder them from success!

Because when we humans feel fear, a reaction starts in our brain and spreads through the body, adjusting for the best fight or flight reaction. It also triggers the release of stress hormones and triggers the sympathetic nervous system. Our heart rate and blood pressure rise. Blood flow and the stream of glucose to the skeletal muscles increase. Imagine you see a tiger approaching you in the wild; all your systems will be geared to defence and you will most probably be running away as fast as you can.

So, isn’t it easy to understand, that we most importantly have to focus on creating education environments without fear? Environments which support our children in all their strengths and shortcomings? Environments where we eliminate language and actions that could create fear and are positively encouraging, supporting and coaching our children to reach their best?

If you focus on this and encourage your children’s teachers to do the same, you will experience in a very short time a different child. Make the effort, it will change your lives.

Philipp Graf von Hardenberg
Philipp Graf von Hardenberg

Dr. h.c. Philipp Graf von Hardenberg is Founder of the Yaowawit School Kapong in Phang Nga (yaowawit.org), President of the Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort Phuket (thanyapura.com), Chairman of the United World College Thailand (uwcthailand.ac.th) and a member of the International Development Committee of the United World College (uwc.org) movement

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