On attachment, teaching and connections…

This post has been viewed more than 850 times and is by far and away the most viewed on my tiny little corner of the internet. In the post, I talk about attachment and the importance of connection following listening to Dr Suzanne Zeedyk present on the subject. Since posting it last May, my interest and experience in attachment theory and how it affects our every day lives has grown. So much so that I now have the privilege of taking part in a study into attachment behaviours in the early years classroom.

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The study uses Video Interactive Guidance, an intervention which builds positive relationships through filming and feedback sessions. We are filmed in the classroom working with children in our usual way. By micro-analysing actions and communications in the feedback sessions, we are supported to increase our sensitivity and attunement within our relationships and interactions in the classroom.

I received my first feedback session this week and I was astonished at what I saw as an outsider looking in at my own interactions with one of the children within my class. During the feedback, the clips showed the expression on the child’s face as I helped her with an activity. I saw my almost unconscious reactions to her needs – even when she hadn’t said what she needed, I was attuned to her needs. I saw her eyes grow bright as we shared a laugh. I saw her face scrunch just before she turned to look at me for help. I saw her positive and trusting responses to my own positivity, care and interest in her. I saw her complete trust and secure knowledge that if she needed me, I was there.

This first feedback session gave me so much food for thought as I reflected on how I interact with the children I teach on a daily basis and the importance of those interactions in building a secure base for the children to learn and grow.

“Any child can be made into a psychopath through failure of attachment. We know that. We have known it for a long time. We have to change a lot of established patterns or ways we do things – our priorities – so that nothing gets in the way of attachment in the earliest years. The capacities for trust, empathy, and affection are in fact the central core of what it means to be human, and are indispensable for adults to be able to form lasting, mutually satisfying co-operative relationships with others.”

Dr. Elliott Barker

John Bowlby said that relying on people that make us feel loved, safe and protected, is a basic necessity of human beings. During early years, the classroom plays a key role in the development of children, especially the development of children at risk. The teacher’s role as a attachment figure is essential and they have the capacity to create a secure environment where the child feels capable and loved and a secure base to return to catch their breath in the difficult journey of learning and development.

I am so excited to continue to learn and grow through taking part in this study and hopefully help to have some influence in raising awareness of the importance of attachment within the classroom.

“In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and  unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman, and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, each recalling the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This tribal ceremony often lasts for several days. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe… as the Buddha said: ‘Hatred will never cease by hatred. By love alone is it healed.'”

As described by Alice Walker in Sent by Earth: A Message from the Grandmother Spirit

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