A Feeling for Learning

Today, during In-Service, my school heard from and met with Dr. Mary Helen Immodino-Yang. Wow . . . she’s an incredible presenter and capable of explaining deeply complicated ideas in simple and memorable ways. I wrote down a few big ideas.

  • Emotion is the rudder behind the boat that makes cognition go.
  • Young people show us what they need to grow.
  • We only know how to grow and become human through cultural learning.
  • Our biology does not know how to grow outside of human relations.
  • Emotions are the substrate of learning.
  • Kids need space and time to make things their own.
  • Kids will push themselves to do things that matter to them.
  • When you get good at a skill, you are shaping your brain . . . and this always has a tradeoff.
  • “Emotions may be automatic responses to a situation . . . but we need to lean how to feel emotions.”
  • Experts know how to feel about the work that they do. For example, a mathematician can explain why an equation is beautiful.
  • You only remember the thing about which you’ve had emotion. If, for example, students doing math only feel emotion about what they think their teachers think about them (e.g., “my teacher thinks I’m dumb”) or the result of the grade (e.g., “I’m going to fail and then I won’t get into college”), then they will remember those things, not the math itself.
  • “Meaningful learning always involves emotion.”

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