Schooling is an emotionally laden process for students, teachers and parents. Emotions may exert a powerful influence on motivational processes. For example, negative emotions can reduce working memory, the memory system used for holding and manipulating information while various mental tasks are carried out; and, in reverse, tasks that load working memory capacity can clear the mind of negative feelings. Positive emotion can broaden thought-action repertoires, suggesting that students and teachers who experience emotions that are more positive may generate more ideas and strategies. In addition, emotions can have an impact on different cognitive, regulatory and thinking strategies. For example, negative emotions lessen the probability that students will use cognitive strategies for deeper, more elaborate processing of information. Emotions also affect categorizing, thinking and problem solving. Emotion can affect the attentional resources available for engaging in cognitive processes and impact on various motivational processes, with positive emotions found to enhance levels of intrinsic motivation. These are some of the relationships between emotions and learning processes that justify a focus on classroom emotion regulation. Another aspect that is in relation to emotion is the way the brain functions. For example, when a student is under stress, the majority of the brain shuts down and it reverts to survival needs, such as defensiveness and attention seeking. It is crucial that teachers avoid adding to students’ stress and use knowledge of the brain to enhance student learning.
Vesela Todorova, senior expert of science and ecology, Regional Department of Education – Pazardzhik, Bulgaria