5. Feelings Count - Emotions and Learning
Session Content Outline
- How do emotions affect learning and how does
the classroom affect emotions?
- How can teachers foster emotional intelligence
and create emotionally safe classroom environments?
- Emotions affect learning
– Teachers will understand how their students' emotions
affect learning. Teachers will understand the need to make
judgments about when emotions are interfering with or supporting
- Emotional intelligence –
Teachers will consider and understand the five aspects of
"emotional intelligence." They will begin to develop
strategies to help themselves and their students become
aware of and manage their emotions.
- Creating emotionally safe learning
environments – Teachers will consider how
to create emotionally safe learning environments where students
can take risks, develop confidence, and grow emotionally
Emotions are important in the classroom in two major ways:
- Emotions have an impact on learning. They
influence our ability to process information and to accurately
understand what we encounter. For these reasons, it is important
for teachers to create a positive, emotionally safe classroom
environment to provide for optimal student learning.
- Learning how to manage feelings and relationships
constitutes a kind of "emotional intelligence"
that enables people to be successful.
Emotions Affect Learning
- Emotions are complex states of mind and body,
consisting of physiological, behavioral, and cognitive reactions
to situations, and they can be managed and directed.
- It is critical to recognize the important
link between emotions, thought, and action.
- Our emotional state has the potential to
influence our thinking.
- Emotions can interfere with students' learning
in several ways, including:
- limiting the capacity to balance emotional
issues with schoolwork
- creating anxiety specifically about
- triggering emotional responses to classroom
Developing Skills for Emotional
- Emotional intelligence is the ability to
manage feelings and relationships.
- Daniel Goleman outlines five skills
involved in emotional intelligence:
- being aware of one's emotions
- managing those emotions
- motivating oneself
- relating well with others in a group
Handling Social Relationships
- Being aware of emotions, managing emotions,
self-motivation, and having empathy for others are important
as we engage in social relationships. Positive social relationships
in school – working well with others and developing
meaningful personal relationships—are often associated
with positive academic achievement.
- James Comer notes that teachers sometimes
take for granted that children come to school able to manage
their impulses. This is not the case for many children.
Teachers often need to teach students how they are expected
to behave, rather than assuming they are "bad"
when they behave in ways that do not meet the teacher's
- Teachers also need to understand how their
own emotional intelligence influences the classroom. A teacher's
positive state of mind and ability to manage her emotions
and relationships productively are a model for her students.
Teachers demonstrate how to express emotion and manage relationships
when they communicate their feelings to students and show
how to build respectful relationships with others.
Creating an Emotionally Safe
- An emotionally safe classroom environment is necessary
for students' cognitive learning, growth, and creative expression.
- Teachers can create emotionally safe classrooms by –
- affirming students' accomplishments in noncompetitive
- encouraging self-confidence
- providing opportunities to take risks without penalty
- giving thoughtful feedback
- Teachers can foster positive relationships with their
students by conveying respect and compassion for students
- conveying respect and compassion for students
- listening carefully to them
- responding to their needs and feelings
- Teachers can create an emotionally safe classroom environment
targeted, positive feedback on successful elements of
work in conjunction with suggestions for improvement.
- Emotionally safe learning environments can be developed
with purposeful action.
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Materials for Session 5
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