The Emotional Experience of Learning and Teaching

The Emotional Experience of Learning and Teaching

The Emotional Experience of Learning and Teaching

The Emotional Experience of Learning and Teaching

Excerpt

The re-printing of The Emotional Experience of Learning and Teaching is a most welcome event. The book's insight and wisdom are quite as relevant now as when it first came out in 1983-perhaps even more so, in that the standards, values and attitudes towards children's development which are represented in this volume are becoming harder for teachers to maintain rather than easier.

Explicitly, the book is about the emotional factors that can facilitate or hinder learning within the environment of the school. But it is about very much more than that. It is about education in its widest sense: about the kinds of experiences that may enable a baby, child, teenager, indeed adult, to grow to his or her fullest potential. It is also about the kinds of experiences that slow down-even arrest-such growth, putting into abeyance those aspects of the heart and mind which might best serve the developing self.

The three authors trace the complex relationship between academic and personal achievement: how intricately the two are intertwined and how subtly the one may either strengthen or undermine the other. The authors also trace the even more complex relationship between the internal world of the child and his or her external life in the family, the school and the wider community. They demonstrate with utmost clarity the significance of the quality of early relationships for later development, but never in a deterministic way. For the authors also point to the possibilities of repair and of renewed hope which may be fostered at any time in an understanding environment. The members of such an environment are able to recognise that unhappiness, vulnerability and anxiety may underlie behaviour that is more usually described in other terms as disobedience, for example, or disruptiveness, destructiveness or disrespect. Such behaviour constantly threatens punishment and exclusion rather than inviting understanding through inclusion on more enlightened terms.

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