Article Index

Emotions and learning

The affective sciences in the service of Education in Schools

By David Sander, Director of Centre Interfacultaire en Sciences Affectives (CISA), Mai 2016

Photograph: © CISA - Sophie Jarlier

IMG 2741Joy, surprise, interest, fear, anger, sadness, shame, pride, jealousy, frustration, relief, hope, boredom, confusion, admiration, or even wonder: emotions are omnipresent in school activities, for students and teachers.

There is, however, a paradox: while actors of the school system can only agree on the evident presence of varied and often intense emotions, in the classroom as well as in other aspects of school, they are only rarely formally considered in programs targeting, for example, an increase in the quality of learning.

This paradox is even more striking considering laboratory researches in the field of the affective sciences as well as intervention programs on emotions in schools suggest that activities focusing on emotions and on emotional skills can have a favorable effect, directly or indirectly, on well-being and learning (for a review, see Brackett et al., 2011; Cuisinier, Tornare, et Pons, 2015; Durlak et al., 2011; Mazzietti & Sander, 2015; Pekrun & Linnenbrick-Garcia, 2014; Theurel & Gentaz, 2015).