The Emotions of Learning

Written by Lisa Ann de Garcia

Lisa Ann is passionate about equipping mothers and educators with the necessary tools to help children recover from cognitive disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, and dyslexia.

June 20, 2023

“Learning is easier to store, remember, and retrieve if it has an emotional base,” (Oberparleiter, 2004, in Lengel, & Kuczala, 2010,  p. 19 ).  Students who feel safe and respected are more highly motivated to learn and are more likely to be intrinsic learning.  The limbic system, which is involved in our emotions and hormone control, is comprised of several parts of the brain, including the amygdala and hippocampus, which play an important role in memory.  

The limbic system is stimulated by the Reticulating Activating System (RAS), which is then connected to the pre-frontal cortex by dopamine (Blomberg & Dempsey, 2011).   The thalamus is also a structure of the limbic system, which is involved in sensory perception and regulation of movement. Negative emotions not only switches off learning, but can cause the release of neurotransmitters that can weaken the immune system, therefore having physiological affects.  Therefore, there is a strong connection between our emotions, memory, and movement. 

The patterns formed in the child’s “brain will take in everything he experiences while doing exercises – physical or cognitive – including patterns of not being able to perform that movement or skill or not being able to do it well” (Baniel, 2012 p. 52).  What this means to teachers, is that as students are focusing on trying to learn a skill, if there is negative emotion, stress, and frustration attached to that learning experience, it will be wired together with that skill he is trying to learn. 

​-This comes from my book:  Movement Makes Math Meaningful: Away fro the Desk Math Lessons Aligned with the Common core

Brain Gym® is a great way for teachers to help lower that stress so that students have whole-brain access while learning.  If you are interested in taking a Brain Gym® Class, individually or as an entire school, please reach out so we can arrange either an in-person or virtual class.


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