THE TEACHING OF AFFECTION
The Chilean psychiatrist says that investing in affective teaching is the way to stimulate students' self-knowledge and to form autonomous and healthy beings.
Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo has an enviable track record. He graduated in medicine at the University of Chile, specialized in psychiatry at Harvard and became a researcher and professor at the University of Berkeley, both in the USA. He developed important theories about personality types and social behaviors. He worked alongside renowned researchers, such as Americans David McClelland and Frank Barron. He published 19 titles. Its trajectory can be classified as irreproachable by the most orthodox of the evaluators. He is even one of the nominees for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. It is common, however, that Naranjo is called, in a derogatory tone, esoteric and cricket animal. For more than three decades, he and the foundation that bears his name have preached that educators should be more loving, affectionate and welcoming. He argues that this is the most effective way to help all students - not just the best ones - to effectively learn “and thus change the world”, as he says.
Claudio Naranjo interview with Flávia Yuri Oshima / Revista Época *
You are a psychiatrist and have developed important theories in personality studies. Today he works exclusively with education. Why did you decide to dedicate yourself to this theme?
My interest turned to education because I am interested in the state of the world. If we want to change the world, we must invest in education. We will not change the economy, because it represents the power that wants to keep everything as it is. We will not change the military world. Nor will we change the world through diplomacy, as the United Nations wants - without success. To have a better world, we have to change human consciousness. That's why I'm interested in education. It is easier to change the conscience of younger people.
What are the problems of the current educational model in your opinion?
We have a system that fraudulently instructs and uses the word education to designate just the transmission of information. It is a program that steals people's childhood and youth, occupying them with a heavy content, transmitted in a catholic and inappropriate manner. The student spends hours listening, inert, to how an animal's intestines work, how the flora is in a distant place and the names of the tributaries of a large river. It is an aberration to occupy the child's entire time with information so distant him, while there is so much content within him that he can use it to develop. How can this lot of information be more important than the self-knowledge of each one? The name education is used to designate something that is close to brainwashing. It is a system that wants a herd to robotize. The child is prepared, for years, to function in an alienating system, and not to develop his intellectual, loving, natural and spontaneous potentialities.
How is it possible to change this model?
We can conceive an education for the conscience, for the development of the mind. At the foundation, we created a method for educating educators based on more than 40 years of research. The goal is to prepare teachers to approach students in a more affectionate and loving way, so that they are able to lead children to the development of self-knowledge, respecting their personal characteristics. We have proven through research that this is the way to form more benevolent, supportive and compassionate people. Today education is despotic and repressive. It is as if educating were to say do this and do that. The training we created is among the programs recognized by the World Education Forum, of which I am a part. I have been with education ministers dozens of countries to publicize the importance of this approach.
And what was the reception?
The word love is not widely accepted in the world of education. In poetry, perhaps. In religion, perhaps. But not in education. The emotional intelligence theme is a little more widespread. It is used for young people to become aware of their emotions. It is good that it exists to start, but it does not have a transformative impact. Emotional intelligence is accepted because it has the name intelligence in the middle. Everything intellectual matters. No importance is attached to the emotional. This aspect is treated with prejudice. It is absurd, because when we implement an affectionate didactic, the student learns any content more easily. Education ministers welcome me very well. They agree with my point of view, but in practice they do nothing. This may be because of the system's own inertia. The minister is like a visitor who passes through the ministries and can only resolve what is urgent. He himself does not set priorities. […]
For those who decided to be pteacher, wouldn't it be natural to feel love, compassion and willingness to take care of the student?
I once taught a group of pedagogy students at the University of Brasilia. I was very disappointed with the lack of interest. Seeing my expression, the coordinator said to me: “Understand that they did not choose to be educators. Some would prefer to be a taxi driver, but have decided to educate because they earn a little more and have a little more security. They are here because they were unable to prepare themselves to be lawyers or engineers or any other profession they wanted ”. This happens a lot in places education is not really valued. Those who arrive at the school of education are those who have less talent and less competence. They cannot be expected to have a pedagogical vocation, to transmit values, care and welcome.
You say that the current education system wastes talents, labeling them with disorders and disorders. Can you explain this point better?
Humberto Maturana, a Chilean scientist, told me that the cell membrane does not let in what it does not need. The cell has a model in its genes and knows what it needs to build itself. An electrolyte that will not serve you will not be absorbed. We can use this metaphor for education. Education disruptions are a healthy response to insane education. Children are labeled as sick with attention and learning disorders, but in many cases it is a healthy denial of the child's mind of not wanting to learn the irrelevant. Our students don't want to be put in their head. The educator's role is to lead him to discover, reflect, debate and verify. For this, it is essential to encourage self-knowledge, respecting the characteristics of each one. Everything is most effective when the child understands what makes the most sense to him.
Why did education move towards this model?
This emerged at the beginning of the industrial era, as part of the need to form an obedient workforce. It was a betrayal of the ideal of the father of capitalism, Adam Smith, who wrote The Wealth of Nations. He was a professor of moral philosophy and was very interested in human beings. He predicted that the system would create a class of people dedicated every day to making only one movement of work, the class of workers. He predicted that this repetition would cause their minds to deteriorate and warned that it would be vital to give them an education that would allow them to develop, as a way of avoiding the complete machinations of these people. Your message has been ignored. Since then, education has been a great system of business ion. It is used for the student to pass exams, get good grades, titles and good jobs. It is a distortion of the essential role that education should play.
Is there anything that parents can do?
Many parents just want their children to do well at school and earn money. I think that parents can begin to reflect on the fact that education cannot be concerned only with the intellect, but should form more caring people, sensitive to each other, with the maternal side of nature less eclipsed by the violent and demanding paternal aspect. UNESCO defines how to teach children how to be. The constitutions of countries, in general, guarantee freedom of expression for adults, but do not speak about children. They are the ones who most need this freedom to develop as healthy people, capable of knowing what they feel and expressing themselves. If the parents realize this, we will be of great help. They have a lot of power to change.
Originally published by * Época Magazine
“The crisis we are facing is not only economic, but multifaceted and universal, and it can be a sign of the obsolescence of the set of values, institutions and interpersonal habits that we call‘ civilization ’. We need a change of conscience and the best path is the transformation of education, through a new training of educators - oriented not only for the transmission of information, but for the development of existential skills ”
- Claudio Naranjo, in the book “The revolution we expected”. [Translation ?]. Brasília: Verbena Editora, 2015.
“The real crisis is a crisis of human relationships, the crisis of an ancient evil of human relationships, an inability of fraternal, true love relationships, an ancient evil that has now become a crisis because it has become unsustainable. It is because a love crisis and what fails is a model of society, the patriarchal model. ” - Claudio Naranjo, in the book “The revolution we expected”. [Translation ?]. Brasília: Verbena Editora, 2015.