"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"We Feel, Therefore We Learn"

A news article today on Rappler relates the sad and unfortunate displacement of over three thousand college workers due to DepEd's K to 12. It starts with a statement made by the Philippines' Commission on Higher Education (CHED) during a hearing in Congress: "The number of displacements is much lower than the initial projection". The callousness is truly remarkable.

Above copied from Rappler
Somehow, the commission seems to have mastered a perfect dichotomy between logic and feelings, between cognition and emotion. Perhaps, it is important that the commission takes into heart and mind results from neuroscience research that demonstrates the strong link between feeling and learning.

In an article published in the journal Mind Brain, and Education, We Feel, Therefore We Learn: The Relevance of Affective and Social Neuroscience to Education, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and Antonio Damasio have laid out clearly what neuroscience research is telling us about emotion and cognition:
Recent advances in neuroscience are highlighting connections between emotion, social functioning, and decision making that have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the role of affect in education. In particular, the neurobiological evidence suggests that the aspects of cognition that we recruit most heavily in schools, namely learning, attention, memory, decision making, and social functioning, are both profoundly affected by and subsumed within the processes of emotion; we call these aspects emotional thought. Moreover, the evidence from brain-damaged patients suggests the hypothesis that emotion-related processes are required for skills and knowledge to be transferred from the structured school environment to real-world decision making because they provide an emotional rudder to guide judgment and action. Taken together, the evidence we present sketches an account of the neurobiological underpinnings of morality, creativity, and culture, all topics of critical importance to education. Our hope is that a better understanding of the neurobiological relationships between these constructs will provide a new basis for innovation in the design of learning environments.
Feelings are important especially in the field of education. When we appear to lack empathy towards people losing jobs, we are compromising education.

The article from Immordino-Yang and Damasio may be too technical for us to comprehend fully but there is a school in the United States, Atlanta Speech School, that has provided a video that captures the essence of the strong link between emotion and cognition. Here it is and I strongly recommend watching it:




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