In this article we will look at how emotions connect to child learning by looking at the impacts they bring to learning and ways to overcome anxieties attached to learning.

How big of a role do emotions play when it comes to learning? 

In the past, emotions didn’t factor as a connection to learning, as curriculums seemed to forget we humans experience emotions as we go through our educational journey.

If we think about a subject we are learning, how often do we take the time to realize the emotions we feel as we remember that subject?

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In the past, learning placed the focus more on gaining knowledge, rather than cultivating relationships with the idea of learning itself.


In recent times, research has shown that balancing emotions with learning meant that greater emphasis must be placed on the connections between emotions and learning. 

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Regulate Student Emotions With Journals

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Regulating Emotions with Book Learning

In highlighting the balance between emotions and learning, we will focus on middle school years and above. Students in primary school are encouraged to focus on their emotions.

Why do emotions play less of a role as students get older?

homeschooling teaching

Students in middle school and older may overlook the  connections emotions play when it comes to learning because of societal expectations. 

As students approach their middle school years, they generally become more aware of how others percieve them, and so they may worry that signs of negative emotions may signal weakness. 

However, with being allowed to connect to their emotions, students may begin to see how their emotions stand in their way of learning.

When teachers explain and demonstrate to students how emotions may help or hinder their learning, students may begin to self-regulate their emotions as they learn.

When students begin to connect to their emotions, they may either find ways to overcome anxieties attached to learning, or may decide learning is not for them. 

Overcoming Emotions That Stand Against Learning

Once students recognize negative emotions that may be standing in their way, they can begin to work towards overcoming these emotions. 

Often times students can begin to form negative emotions towards what they are learning for varying reasons.

emotions and learning

For example they may find what they are learning to be:

  • too hard
  • useless
  • boring

Whatever the reasons, students should be made to understand that there are beneficial skills attached to learning a subject. 

Skills attached to learning include: problem solving, and time management skills. 

Regulating Emotions in the Math Classroom

Math is perhaps the subject that is most closely tied to negative emotions students experience with their learning. 

Often this is due to either the subject concepts being too hard, or deemed useless by the students. 

emotions connected to math learning

These negative emotions may also lead students to develop anxieties when it comes to learning math, or any subjects related to math.

In helping to overcome negative emotions tied to math learning, students should be shown how concepts in math are really meant to enhance their problem solving skills. 

genders and learning

How students approach solving a problem could all they really need to understand when it comes to math if they can’t bring themselves to show positive emotions when it comes to learning math. 

Regulating Emotions in the Online Classroom

Learning in the online platform worked well for those who chose to learn this way.

But when the pandemic of 2020 caused classes around the world to learn online, anxieties and negative emotions were felt by both students and teachers.

learning online classroom

Negative emotions tied to learning online were also caused by various factors including;

  • too hard to focus
  • too boring
  • the fear of technology 
  • the unfamiliarity of technology
  • socioeconomic status

These factors directly impacted on students which resulted in what can be considered as learning loss among many students.  

Again, in working to overcome negative emotions, students should be given ways to engage with activies online so they can take back control from the technology and benefit their other skills such as organization, and time management. 

Accepting Emotions For What They Are

Not every student thrives in the traditional classroom and this is something that should be accepted rather than forced to change.

Often times, when it comes to the genders, boys tend to have a harder time regulating their emotions when it comes to learning in their middle years. 

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In recognizing the differences genders bring to the classroom, teachers can use these differences in ways that may benefit the different ways boys and girls learn. 

In accepting emotions for what they are in the classroom, teachers can work with students to make personalized goals for their academic success. 

These goals may be to understand the basics or to learn in non-traditional or differentiated ways. 

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Final Thoughts…

If emotions connected to learning are overlooked, children may never come to realize why they never enjoyed their time in school.

Children who may seem like they don’t belong in the traditional classroom, may actually thrive outside the classroom where they are encouraged to follow their goals and passions in their own way.

Embracing positive emotions we feel when learning brings our success to new highs.

strategies in education and learning

Not dealing with negative emotions we feel when learning brings our desire for success to new lows.

So hopefully, after reading this article you agree with me as to just how important emotions are when it comes to learning. 

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