Learning and Your Emotions

Can emotional states really affect your ability to learn?

How Information Travels Through The Brain

When information first enters the organ inside our head we call the brain, it starts at the reticular activating system (RAS). This is the first filter in your brain, which is also known as the gatekeeper.The next set or filters information goes through is the limbic system, which contains the amygdala and the hippocampus. That is the emotional part of the brain. After the limbic system comes dopamine. Dopamine is one of the brain's most important neurotransmitters, and you produce more of it when an experience is enjoyable. If information passes through all the way, it makes it to the prefrontal cortex, or the thinking brain(Judy Willis "What You Should Know About Your Brain").

The Role of Emotions in Learning

When it comes to tests and public speaking, a wide range of emotions can be expected. If a child is scared, they are most likely going to forget things that they already know. According to greatschools.org, ".sadly, in many of today’s classrooms, we see children whose intellectual energies and capacities are drained by negative emotional states." this can be very true, and schools need to address this a lot more.

ways to address emotions in the classroom

  • At the start of class each day, students should be asked to tell the class one good thing that happened the day before.
  • A good way to unwind during class is to have a five minute break between lessons so they can talk to friends and maybe ask questions if they didn't understand the lesson.
  • There should be at least one quiet time during class for those kids who are easily distracted during class to read, draw,etc
  • have a "mailbox" in a corner of the room for students to write letters to the teacher if they have a personal issue, or are feeling down, so you can know if there is something wrong.
  • Reward students who did good in the classes once a week, to motivate them to do their work and behave well.

the importance of dopamine

Like it was stated before, we produce dopamine when an experience is enjoyable. Therefore, classes should be made more enjoyable. Children tend to get bored in class because they don't find class interesting, so every once in a while get suggestions from the students on how to make the class a better learning experience for them.

the golden rule

The golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Some may not follow this, but it is very important in the long run. In the article "Happy Farmer Happy Cow," it was said that cows who were petted and nurtured, tended to produce more milk, than cows who were neglected. This is very similar to how children tend to do better in school when they are taught in an interesting way, as opposed to just listening to the teacher and writing stuff down. Also children who are always yelled at and sent out of class are more likely to rebel.
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Emotions are usually called irrational and nonintellectual, but they really are a key part of people's lives and personalities. The impact emotions have on us is going to shine through at some point, and teachers need to realize what we have been trying to keep in the back of our heads is far more important that it really seems. Students are most likely doing bad in class and not paying attention because something teachers don"t know is on their minds, and what's on their minds could be very dangerous.