Intense emotions prevent learning

The following seems obvious (once you think about it) but is so important I want to highlight it:

[Horacio] Sanchez says, “If the amygdala is in control, the neocortex shuts down.” Brain Science for Dummies would translate: If the kid is having big feelings, he’s not thinking clearly, if he’s thinking at all.

Teachers can give superb lessons, but if the kid’s not listening, he’s not learning. If he’s sad, angry, depressed, or worried about his parents’ fighting, about the bully, about the death of Grandma, the dog, or even a beloved TV character, he’s full of feeling. And feelings come first.

Parents who care about their children’s education should focus not on grades but on effort. And productive effort requires a student to concentrate on learning. Emotional disruptors destroy children’s ability to concentrate.

If your child is happy at school, she/he is probably learning a lot. But if they’re glum or worried, they’re emotionally handicapped in the classroom. You must find out why and help them remove whatever is blocking their ability to engage at school.

Posted by James on Monday, November 16, 2009