2006-11-16 3:37 PM

Emotionally charged education

I love it when I’m paying enough attention to notice unconscious use of these “accelerated” learning techniques.

I finally became conscious of how well one of my graduate professors uses emotion in the classroom. He has been doing it all semester and I caught it this week.

What does emotion have to do with learning? It turns out that our brains encode memories differently depending on the emotions we are experiencing during our experience. Strong emotions — positive or negative — help us form stronger memories.

One of my professor’s favorite methods seems to be reminding us that teachers are “sadistic bastards.” This is a great phrase because it gets both negative and positive responses — an initial “yeah, bastards, grrrr” followed by a chuckle.

The main reason he is able to elicit the full range of responses is that he demonstrates the full range of emotions himself — he has behavioral flexibility. If he was not able to experience the full high and low how would he be able to take us along with him?

I am a big fan of the judicious use of all emotions. “Negative” emotions are only negative if you let yourself get stuck.

Have you been limiting your potential for learning by artificially limiting your emotions?
Where have you been stuck that you can now freely experience and then leave behind?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan No Comments »

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