General Learning Tips

How Emotions Influence Learning and Memory

In this article we will look at supporting teachers in dealing with student emotions and how they connect to student learning. 

We will attempt to do this by looking at the impacts emotions bring to learning and ways to overcome anxieties attached to learning.

How Emotions Impact on Student Learning

In the past, emotions didn’t factor as a connection to learning, as curriculums seemed to forget we teachers have students who experience emotions as they go through their educational journey.

If we think about a subject we are teaching, how often do our lesson plans focus on emotions students may feel as we present that subject to our students?

In the past, traditional classrooms placed the focus more on gaining knowledge, rather than cultivating relationships with the idea of learning itself.

frustrations with learning

In recent times, research has shown that balancing emotions with learning meant that greater emphasis must be placed on the connections between emotions and learning. 

At the end of this article you can sign up to receive emails on our digital resources to support emotions and student learning  in the classroom.

social emotional learning

We present to you an infographic that looks at the benefits of using social emotional leanring in the classroom. 

Regulate Student Emotions With Journals

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Journals may be a good resource for regulating student emotions. Consider visiting promptly journals to view their wide selection of journals for every situation! Click here to view and choose from among their wide variety of journal types. 

Regulating Emotions with Book Learning

In highlighting the balance between emotions and learning, we will focus on the high school years.

Why do emotions play less of a role as students get older?

emotions balancing books

Students in high school and beyond may overlook the  connections emotions play when it comes to learning because of societial expectations. 

As students approach their high school years, they generally become more aware of how others percieve them, and so they may worry that signs of negative emotions may signal weakness. 

However, with being allowed to connect to their emotions, students may begin to see how their negative emotions may stand in their way of learning.

When teachers explain and demonstrate to students how emotions may help or hinder their learning, students may begin to self-regulate their emotions as they learn.

When students begin to connect to their emotions, they may either find ways to overcome anxieties attached to learning, or may decide learning is not for them. 

Overcoming Emotions That Stand Against Learning

Once students recognize negative emotions that may be standing in their way, they can begin to work towards overcoming these emotions. 

Often times students can begin to form negative emotions towards what they are learning for varying reasons.

student in differentiated classroom

For example they may find what they are learning to be:

  • too hard
  • useless
  • boring

Whatever the reasons, teachers should explain and demonstrate the skills attached to learning the subject. Skills attached to learning include: problem solving, and time management skills. 

Regualting Emotions in the Math Classroom

Math is perhaps the subject that is most closely tied to negative emotions students experience with their learning. 

Often this is due to either the subject concepts being too hard, or deemed useless by the students. 

emotions connected to math learning

These negative emotions may also lead students to develop anxieties when it comes to learning math, or any subjects related to math.

In helping to overcome negative emotions tied to math learning, students should be shown how concepts in math are really meant to enhance their problem solving skills. 

How students approach solving a problem could be all they really need to understand when it comes to math if they can’t bring themselves to show positive emotions when it comes to learning math. 

Regualting Emotions in the Online Classroom

Learning in the online classroom worked well for those who chose to learn this way.

But when the pandemic of 2020 caused classes around the world to learn online, anxieties and negative emotions were felt by both students and teachers.

student learning online

Negative emotions tied to learning online were also caused by various factors including;

  • too hard to focus
  • too boring
  • the fear of technology 
  • the unfamiliarity of technology
  • socioeconomic status

These factors directly impacted on students which resulted in what can be considered as learning loss among many students.  

Again, in working to overcome negative emotions, students should be given ways to engage with activies online so they can take back control from the technology and benefit their other skills such as organization, and time management. 

Accepting Emotions For What They Are

Not every student thrives in the traditional classroom and this is something that should be accepted rather than forced to change.

Often times, when it comes to the genders, boys tend to have a harder time regulating their emotions when it comes to learning in their middle years. 

boy learning styles

In recognizing the differences genders bring to the classroom, teachers can use these differences in ways that may benefit the different ways boys and girls learn. 

In accepting emotions for what they are in the classroom, teachers can work with students to make personalized goals for their academic success. 

These goals may be to understand the basics or to learn in non-traditional or differentiated ways. 

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Final Thoughts...

If emotions in the classroom are overlooked, students may never come to realize why they never enjoyed their time in school.

Students who may seem like they don’t belong in the traditional classroom, may actually thrive outside the classroom where they are encouraged to follow their goals and passions in their own way.

Working with positive emotions students feel when learning brings their success to new highs.

natural emotions

Not dealing with negative emotions students feel when learning brings their desire for success to new lows.

So hopefully, after reading this article dear teachers, you will agree with me as to just how important emotions are when it comes to learning. 

Share Your Thoughts!

We would like to hear from you! Let know your thoughts in the comments below on how emotions connect to student learning in the classroom. 

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