In the previous part, we discussed how Carl Rogers believed that in most educational systems, while the mind goes to the school and the body is allowed to tag along, the feelings are asked to stay outside because these feelings must be expressed only outside the school.

These systems give so much emphasis to ideas, to learning from the neck up that what happens down here doesn’t really matter. And this knowledge can have dire social consequences. This knowledge without feelings lets a doctor who has performed a procedure incorrectly, sleep peacefully at night. Ask him or her to spend the night next to this patient, writhing in pain, and he/she might actually feel the horror they’ve given birth to.  Happy Ho organizes best Meditation and Tarot classes in Noida and Delhi NCR area in India.

In order to resolve this concern, Rogers has come up with certain conditions which if fulfilled by a teacher present in a contemporary classroom will lead to wholesome learning. The four conditions are: 

  1. Realness in the Facilitator

As a teacher I must be aware of my feelings. I must live them, be them. And then communicate them to my students. This allows me to connect with these students at a very personal human level. I am no longer sitting on a pedestal. I am present face-to-face to my students.

  1. Acceptance of the Learner

As a teacher, I must accept the thoughts, feelings and actions of my students. I must prize each learner. I should see him or her as a worthy imperfect entity, separate from me. If I fulfill this condition, then I will understand the hesitation a student might experience when given an algebra problem or the relief a student might feel after crushing the question paper of a subject she found difficult, after the test was done. 

I prize not only that which facilitates learning but also that which disturbs it. I take the whole package. 

  1. Empathic Understanding

A teacher who empathises with a student has the ability to understand his/her reactions from the inside, reactions to what she has just taught in the class. She is sensitive to how the child has emotionally processed the ideas. 

Empathetic understanding stands in contrast to evaluative understanding. Here, instead of saying, “I understand what you must be feeling.”, a teacher tells a student, “I know what is wrong with you.”

  1. Perception of these Attitudes

As students, we have been conned by our educational institutions for so long that we are more suspicious of a teacher than a client is of her newly found counsellor. If I sent your way a teacher with all of the above qualities, you’d sit there in disbelief; wondering to yourself if he/she suffered from any psychopathology. 

So that’s why the first three conditions only achieve some good when the students are able to perceive some realness, acceptance and empathy in the teacher.

In conclusion, I’ll ask you all what Rogers asks the readers at the end of the essay –

“We have the theoretical knowledge, the practical methods, the day-to-day skills with which we can radically change our whole educational system. But do we have the will, the determination to utilize this know-how to humanize our educational systems? That is the question we all must answer.”

Can Learning Encompass Both Ideas & Feelings. A Way of Being. Carl Rogers