Every student has the need to belong and the desire to be understood. Human emotions do not fade away in algebra class.
Of course, there’s neuroscience jargon that explains how emotion impacts learning. A 2007 Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study explains:
Emotion enhances our ability to form vivid memories of even trivial events. Norepinephrine (NE), a neuromodulator released during emotional arousal, plays a central role in the emotional regulation of memory . . . Our results indicate that NE-driven phosphorylation of GluR1 facilitates the synaptic delivery of GluR1-containing AMPARs, lowering the threshold for LTP, thereby providing a molecular mechanism for how emotion enhances learning and memory.
So emotion enhances learning by flooding the brain with biological actuators of memory. In education, we look for symptoms of these emotions, maybe engagement or creativity.
Or the ultimate prize in K-12: proficiency.
We then look to crude mechanisms that will cause these symptoms — we group students, give them “voice and choice,” ask them to “predict what might happen,” and then have them turn to an elbow partner to discuss how their predictions did and did not pan out.
We hang Marzano’s 9 on the wall, and go to our weekly data team meetings to try to figure out what’s going on, all the while missing the rub.
None of this causes emotion, and emotion doesn’t cause learning anyway.
It supersedes learning.
Continue Reading about the connection between student’s emotions and academic achievement.