In continuation, the examples of conversations with the puppet acted by the teachers with students are presented. Children try to recognize and express emotions, to respect the emotions of others, and not to judge their feelings. In the process, the ability of empathy develops.

A game with a puppet

Recognizing emotions with regards to physical features

A teacher brings a puppet into the classroom. He starts a dialogue with a puppet. The puppet says to the teacher and the students that it was scared yesterday evening as it was alone at home for a few minutes. And at that time, a storm with severe thunder began. Every time lightning enlightened the sky, the puppet believed that somebody was standing at the window watching it. The teacher describes with the puppet how the puppet felt when it was afraid. Then, the puppet asks the students whether they were scared before. How did they feel at that time? What did they do to reduce fear? How would they recognize a child which is scared? The teacher shows a few people who express their emotions through facial expressions and the children choose pictures of people for which they believe are scared. After they have selected the pictures of people who are scared, they try to recognize the emotions of the people on the remaining pictures.

Expressing emotions through music and arts

The next time the puppet tells the teacher and the students that today it is happy because an aunt is coming to visit. The aunt lives in the other part of the world. The teacher convincingly acts the scene with the puppet and then the puppet asks the students whether they were happy before. What made them happy? How do they feel when they are happy? The students tell what kind of music they would like to listen to when they are happy, how they would draw themselves. Thus, they express emotions in various ways. According to his judgment, the teacher plays different music to students and the students tell what they think whether the played music expresses happiness or not (in the same way the teacher can do with the selected artistic works).

Recognizing emotions and empathy

The puppet describes a happening to the students without using denominations for the emotions, e.g. Yesterday after school three students of the 6th grade waited for me in the schoolyard. I knew that they were talking something about me as they were giggling all the time and pointing their fingers at me. Then they asked me how come, where I got this ragged cap which cannot cover my protruding ears… The teacher presents an example of humiliation with the help of the puppet and asks them after the story what they think how the puppet felt during the happening. The students express their thoughts about the emotions the puppet was experiencing. They can tell whether they felt like this before. In the end, each of them tells a nice sentence to the puppet in order to comfort it and for it to feel better. In the process of playing, the students recognize emotions, become empathetic in the situation, and try to find the ways of friendly communication.

Dr. Marina Volk