A few weeks ago, with a beautiful accent from the lands of Bolívar, Rómulo Bentancourt and the Caribbean Sea, a student asked me on WhatsApp, why when I start and finish each virtual class do I play music? I answered the first thing that came to mind: just to be a little bit happier.
Days ago, UNICEF Argentina presented the “Study on the effects on mental health of children and adolescents by coronavirus”, carried out in conjunction with the National University of Lanús -UNLa- and Intercambios Civil Association. The study argues that “The impact on people’s subjectivity was intense, their arrival was unforeseen, abrupt, and promoted changes in the lives of everyone, and especially in that of girls, boys, adolescents”. Analyzing and reflecting on these data can help us to rethink our educational practices.
The UNICEF report notes that “Among girls and boys from 3 to 12 years old, expressions of subjective discomfort are observed that do not constitute pathologies in themselves or mental health disorders. The referents stated that they are more irritable, moody, angry, annoying, and more intolerant“. The impact on the mental health of children was less thanks to the fact that “The ability to play allowed them to elaborate and symbolize the uncertain and potentially traumatic aspects of the pandemic, as ways of protecting mental health. (…). By playing, they appropriate reality, understand it and give it new meanings ”.
By Meet. Manuel, with his students, listening to music while they go through virtual History classes.
Not a minor data to attend to, is the housing deficit, 4 out of 10 boys and girls surveyed did not have differentiated spaces to be able to play at home, fundamental to be able to achieve privacy and autonomy. In adolescents the data is harder. Socialization interrupted, a 47% indicate that they use the screen and social networks to interact with their peers –Marking a wide gap in access to technology and the Internet between social groups- although they aspire to return to face-to-face relationships.
In addition, it points out that the extension of the pandemic denotes a growing exhaustion and a lesser capacity to adapt, as well as generating “Difficulties in symbolically processing what happened”. Emotional ups and downs, reluctance, anger, irritability, anguish and resignation, loneliness, sadness, anxiety, are some of the ways in which adolescents express themselves in the face of the pandemic. What’s more “Anguish can also be linked to the material deprivations they suffer and that deepened with the pandemic.”
The study reveals the need for pedagogical continuity and school bondingr, because it has an emotional impact, it highlights the importance of adult mediation -in many cases absent at home- and revalues the presence of teachers. It is worth bearing in mind that, according to the report, adolescents feel that they are not heard, that they have no voice and demand greater participation and leadership.
Why do I open and close the virtual classes with music? Because it helps me create empathy with the students, it brings me closer from another side “.
What should we do? The synthesis would be: democratize spaces, give them prominence and promote dialogue and listening scenarios. To conclude, the study makes several recommendations to take care of the mental health of children and adolescents in different areas, specifically in the educational system: guarantee spaces for participation so that they are heard and understood, implement strategies that help them symbolize the situation of the pandemic, sustain the socio-affective dimension of teaching processes in virtual synchronous activities, among several others.
Then, Why do I open and close the virtual classes with music? Because it helps me to create empathy with the students, it approaches me from another side, beyond the explanations about the Upper Paleolithic, by pointing out some of the issues we are working on. Music serves as a trigger, as a brainstorm, that can be associated with the artistic expressions of that Paleolithic, for example. It allows me to invite them to speak, to lose their shyness, to discuss musical tastes and styles, to debate, have their say and listen to each other.
There are no unique recipes, the mental health of our children and adolescents challenges us and challenges us to improve every day, because although sometimes we adults do not realize it, we need it.
HISTORY PROFESSOR, SPECIALIST IN SOCIO-EDUCATIONAL POLICIES AND PROGRAMS email@example.com
THE EDITOR’S COMMENT
By César Dossi
An idea that sounds great
The boys and girls, some without face-to-face classes, barely leave their homes. Then, “They found in the game a way to face the pandemic and to to protect your mental health. But as the situation spreads, they need new tools to process what happens. “said Olga Izasa, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Argentina.
Also, the Ministry of Health of the Nation recalled regarding adolescents, that it is key to respect their spaces but also to share conversations, videos, films. And adds that “It is important to validate their concerns and feelings, offering them reliable and real information “.
In CABA, Mental Health Responde can be accessed by WhatsApp or by phone through 147. The Psychology faculties of the UBA and other universities offer advice by email. Primary care centers and pediatric hospitals have professionals in cases of family violence, child abuse or emergency psychological disorders. All these concerns, in education and in mental health, are also discussed today in a report by Revista Viva.
Meanwhile, Manuel, plays music in virtual classes at various schools in La Plata. It’s an idea that sounds great, because until now they have covered the songs of Santaolalla, La Vela Puerca and Guns & Roses.
But for the next class he redoubled the bet, and opened the musical range: “I start with the Wawancó; although now they began to choose them and they, so maybe we will listen to La Joaqui, Tini or L-GANTE. Starting with music makes them a little happier, even for the duration of the virtual history class “, ends with humor.