This weeks New Scientist (16th Jan ’10) has an article on human emotions. It starts by reviewing the big six that we all know and love. Joy, Surprise, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear. My first reaction is aren’t they mainly negative?
Perhaps we can learn to put a positive twist on some of them, using fear to avoid danger or anger to change something for the better. But what about love, excitement, boredom, jealousy, uplifting, curiosity, gratitude, pride, confusion the list goes on and on.
In lessons what emotions should we try to target? I would argue that it is rarely any of the Big Six, although sometime we do trigger anger by mistake and hopefully joy. Perhaps these emotions are two big and would create a rollercoaster ride that would be two big for anyone to handle in one day. It is the satellite emotions that are more relevant to teaching and learning. Pride in work, curiosity and enquiry, uplifting with a ‘can-do’ sense of achievement, harmony in working with others and a balanced sense of both independence and interdependence.
I think these are the themes that underpin Daniel Golman (1996) Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning.