Communication is and should be about understanding other people´s emotions, their state of mind, their needs and their worries.
Let me give you an example. When we get home after a hard day at work, all we want is to plunge into our sofa, have a shower, a nice dinner and go to sleep. But, instead of that, the first thing we stumble across is our daughter´s school bag, snickers in the middle of the living room and dog food all around the kitchen and, in the middle of all that, our daughter sitting on the sofa watching TV.
So, the first thing that comes up is anger. Anger as the answer to the problem, which takes us immediately back to where we were many decades ago – impulsive, impatient and revengeful.
But, we are not in our teenage years anymore. We have grown into someone who is supposed to be emotionally intelligent and stable. So, the question is – how do we cope with this?
The first thing we must do is recognize our own emotions. How do we feel? We must observe ourselves, without being judgmental, insulting and demanding from the other. Recognizing our own emotions is the first step to overcoming any conflict. Sounds strange, right? But, all our conflicts with other people come from deep inside of us. It is something like a MIRROR.
Then, once we recognize our own feelings in the situation – angry, tired, disappointed – we can express them aloud, without judging and without resentment. And then, we should say what we need – peace, order and sympathy.
Think about yourself. At work, in the office, subconsciously, you attract the people who surround you, and especially those you are in conflict with. So, practice being non-judgmental. Practice feeling the way they feel. Observe their movements, their gestures, their posture. You will observe their vulnerability and be able to empathize.
The same thing goes for learning a language. We, the teachers are people of feelings, we are the mirrors of our students and the reflection of their behaviors. We must develop the highest level of empathy with our students in order to be able to truly help them get where they want to be, and we cannot do that without feeling their worries, their fears and their language issues.
We must listen and observe.
Then, just watch what happens.