LOVE LANGUAGE IN THE CLASSROOM
(Adapted from “The Five Love Languages” of Dr. Gary Chapman)
Teaching is touching lives. The most effective tool to touching lives is through the language of LOVE. A number of research endeavors have identified and confirmed the importance of any expression of love to the human soul, more so to the process of learning.
For those who are born to be a teacher, the sole motivating factor for staying in the field of teaching is the love for children – the learners. Every class is an encounter with the learners, a precious moment spent in togetherness. Whether these learners are forced to be in the class or not, there exists this opportunity for precious times of engagement – a privilege of becoming part of each other’s lives. It is a challenge to make every engagement period meaningful and fully rewarding. The only language capable of penetrating deeply into an individual’s heart is LOVE.
Every human soul always tries to find best ways to express love and to make the other person feel loved. However, more often than not, an individual finds one’s self trying hard yet efforts seem to fall into nothingness and to no value at all. There are also times when though a person is surrounded by persons who affirm their love yet still feel unloved. Surrounded with love yet feeling unloved….
Why do these feelings surface out and is felt? Can a seed of love feel on wrong hearts? Will the well-meaning “I Love You” fell into deaf ears?
Gary Chapman in his book “The Five Love Languages”, expounded that unless an individual speaks the primary emotional love language of the person who is special to him, he will never be able to fill his/her love tank and efforts done to show love will not be recognized nor given importance.
Chapter 2 of this book elaborated the concept of a “love tank”. Dr. Ross Campbell, a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents stated a metaphor, as quoted by Gary Chapman, “Inside every child is an “emotional tank” waiting to be filled with love. When a child really feels loved, he will develop normally but when the love tank is empty, the child will misbehave.” Chapman further indicated that this is not only a childhood phenomena but is true to adults alike. Believing this, there is a great need for teachers who are candidates for filling the love tanks of learners, to be able to recognize and understand this concept.
These “love tanks” may only be filled when love is expressed and received in a love language that the receiver is speaking.
Chapters 4 to 8 of his book cover the five love languages which are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.
The story below is an attempt to present Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages in a short story form with the desire to describe the above mentioned love languages as may be applied in the classroom setting.
Miss Love Language comes from a family whose concern is to fill each other’s love tank. Growing up, her parents showed to her how expressing and receiving love based on the primary love language of the recipient is done. She loves her calling as a teacher and is passionate about it. Her experiences in the field offered her numerous opportunities and evidences on the reality of the need of filling the other person’s love tank with love.
This semester, it is her desire to help learners grow in their love relationship with parents and their friends. The first step to doing this is to identify the love languages of her students. A Co Teacher, and four students namely: Classmate, Group mate, Seatmate and Schoolmate joined her in this remarkable journey.
Arriving at the faculty room one fine morning, Miss Love noticed Miss Co Teacher crying and was so worried. She offered to her a cup of coffee and a piece of bread coupled with a time of sharing and laughter. Though Miss Love needed to finish some of her visuals for her class, she made arrangements to ensure that Miss Co Teacher will enjoy their time together and receive her undivided attention during that limited time. That was what Co Teacher needed. Without Miss Love knowing, Quality Time is Co Teacher’s primary love language.
“A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. Not proximity … but it has something to do with focused attention.” (Gary Chapman)
Miss love in the course of the conversation did not focus on what she was saying but on what she was hearing from Co Teacher. She tried to apply the practical tips to develop the art of listening presented by Gary Chapman which include;
1. Maintain eye contact when your friend is talking,
2. Don’t listen and do something else at the same time,
3. Listen for feelings,
4. Observe body language and
5. Refuse to interrupt.
These she tried to apply and was successful in filling Co Teacher’s love tank that morning.
It took more than a smile and a reprimand to cause Group mate, a male student, to do his part. Everybody believed that he can do the task given to him but did not verbally express the same in a way that he would know. He easily loses confidence and is prone to settling for mediocrity. Miss Love Language noticed that in one of their English programs. This time, Miss Love desires to draw out the best in Group mate and has set an appointment with him before the final performance. She described to him what he is capable of doing, his strengths and his potentials. That Miss Love believes in him and is very proud of him. He received some kind, affirming and encouraging words from Miss Love Language. This has encouraged “inspire courage” him to overcome his insecurity and achieve what he deserve – becoming a Champion in the recently concluded Oratorical Contest. Group mate’s primary love language happened to be Words of Affirmation and so he won and made it to the Regional Contest.
Today is Classmate’s Birthday. After their afternoon class, Miss Love joined her students in a simple Birthday celebration in their classroom. Simple greeting cards were made and given to her by her friends. That made her very happy. Every simple greeting bookmarks and note meant so much to her. They are her precious possessions. Classmate’s primary love language is Receiving Gifts.
Gary Chapman defined a gift as something a person can hold in his hand and say, “Look, he/she was thinking of me… She/He remembered me.” He further elaborated…The gift is a symbol of the thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money… what is important is the thought. And it is not the thought implanted only in the mind that counts, but the thought expressed in actually securing a gift and giving it as an expression of love.
Gifts may be purchased from the sari-sari store, found along the road or made from recycled scratch. It need not be expensive. They come in all sizes, colors and shapes, some are expensive, while others are free. It’s value lie in the thought of the person giving it.
Some friends did not hand to her a gift yet their presence was enough to make her feel so important.
Seatmate, a simple, female student, on the other hand feels loved when a friend offers a helping hand in things she needed to do and to finish. Simple offer of washing the dishes for her, makes her feel loved. Her primary love language is acts of service. She realized that requests give direction to love while demands stop the flow of love. When acts of service are done out of love, these becomes spontaneous and joy results from the act of doing it.
Schoolmate, a sportive lady is surrounded by many friends and acquaintances. She loves outdoor activities and is into Martial Arts (KARATE). She would most times surprise Miss Love with a warm hug, a pat on the shoulder and other friendly gestures. A simple handshake would already make her feel loved.
In the recent Karate tournament she failed to defend her title. She was in tears looking for Miss Love. She felt so discouraged. Miss Love just gave her a pat on the shoulder and a hug and she mellowed down. Her primary love language is physical touch.
Miss Love Language made efforts of addressing her students’ love languages in order to gain access to their hearts. Her knowledge about each of her learner’s love language, reveal opportunities to be able to touch and influence their lives. As she becomes an instrument of filling each love tanks… she becomes part of their journey and of course of their future successes.
Meeting other’s needs may be truly demanding and challenging. At times, nobody would even realize the value of the efforts you as a teacher is extending. There will be times when we don’t feel like it…This then is the very opportune time to remember that for always… Love is a Choice… a decision and not just mere feeling.
Let us be encouraged to fill each other’s love tanks… for in return even without us thinking about it… Love will always be reciprocated with love.
by : Kathleen Mallorca Morales