Wednesday, December 20, 2017

An Emotional Connection

“For me, I think a great day is when students are learning the objective, and the learning is also connecting with the heart… The lessons that stay with us the longest connect to our emotions.”

I totally agree. When I learn something, I have to feel some kind of emotional connection to it if I’m going to remember it.

I look back at some elementary school lessons I learned, and I realize that the reason I still remember them after 50 years is because I had an emotional connection to them. I learned to really love reading because my third grade teacher thought I was the greatest thing in the world every time I finished a book and could tell her about it! I remember reading the book Charlotte’s Web and wishing I had a friend like Wilbur because at the time, I was feeling very lonely. I remember learning that friends can betray you because when my friend left me for someone she thought was more fun, it hurt my heart. I remember learning math exceptionally well because we had a physically abusive teacher.

When I went to high school, I learned about how to write better because my English teacher had us write from the heart. He didn’t want us to just spit back words but wanted us to justify our opinions. I learned to stand up for myself when I felt my biology teacher was unfair to me. I learned to join a new club (the drama club) even though I was scared and I was so glad that I took the risk.

When I retired, I taught myself to knit and spin yarn. I learn new techniques often and if I like the result, I can remember how to do it. This learning makes me so happy because I really enjoy what I’m doing.

So, as you can see, a lot of my learning is connected to my emotions.

My husband had a lot of trouble in school and he is always telling me that no one made his learning relevant. He never seemed to have any emotional connection to what he was learning.  

I need to remember this when teaching. I need to find a way to have new learning make an emotional connection to all of the students. Each student might not have the same kind of emotional connection so I need to be aware of each student’s interests and preferences. If I can do this, I believe that students can be more successful in remembering the information they are learning.

How do you help your students have an emotional connection to their learning? Please share.

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