A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning: Theory and Practice

By Jennifer A. Moon | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

The framing of learning Emotion and learning

Introduction

This second chapter of the three that consider the framing of learning, focuses on emotion and feeling in learning. Current thought about the role of emotion in learning has been stimulated by Goleman's concept of emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1995, 1998). Without appropriate self-management, a learner will not have the capacity to cope with maximum efficiency in learning tasks or to progress in her understanding of the structure of knowledge. However, this is not all there is to the relationship of emotion to learning. A brief review of the literature suggests that there are a number of different kinds of relationships between emotion and learning.

The first section of this chapter takes a broad view, considering some beliefs about emotion and learning and then clarifying terms. We then consider the different forms of relationships that are suggested in the literature, starting off with 'emotional intelligence'. The categorization in the literature seems to neglect a number of situations in which an emotional experience leads to change in orientation and often change of behaviour. In the apparent absence of other terms, 'emotional insight' is adopted. This seems to be a useful concept in relation to the process of reflection and the learning that can emerge from it. In the following section, we review the nature of emotional insight and a particular approach to it (Donaldson, 1992). The final sections of the chapter look at the manner in which the relationship between emotion and learning relates to conceptions of the structure of knowledge (Chapter 2) and to more general issues about learning in Chapter 1.

This chapter does not attempt to be a comprehensive review of the literature, but is concerned with plotting the manner in which the literature on learning attempts to deal with the influence of emotion. There are many

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