The Impact Of The Emotional System On Learning Implications For A Foreign Language Classroom

Tatiana Garasyuta, SIT Graduate Institute


This paper presents an overview of both classic and recent findings in the field of neuroscience and brain-based learning with regard to the influence of emotions on learning. Children experience various emotional states while studying, some of which enhance learning, while others – especially negative emotions such as fear, stress, and helplessness – seriously diminish academic potential. These negative emotional states distract attention, impede information processing, and lead to the resistance of any new learning, including learning a foreign language. The author, who teaches foreign languages in rural Russia, has found that negative attitudes towards teachers and schooling are major problems. Socially disadvantaged students and students suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder are present in practically every classroom, and they are usually not successful academically. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to examine the connection between students’ emotions and their academic success, with the underlying belief that if teachers, specifically of foreign languages, pay attention to students’ feelings and work to reduce the anxiety levels in their classrooms, then language learning will become pleasurable, successful, and satisfying.