Emotional Engagement for Adult Students
For a long time, the standard beliefs and assumptions about successful language learning have been that the main challenges, particularly those of memory, are cognitive ones. However, recent findings in cognitive sciences clearly indicate that the brain is fundamentally ‘an organ of emotion’. Drawing on neuro-scientific studies and educational theory, we will discuss the key role of emotional engagement in the learning process of adults, and how factors such as challenge, personal discovery, ‘anticipated movement’, relevance, and participation as co-creators of experience can lead to a greater sense of control in the learning situation and to greater success. We will also see that memory itself is not like a container that stores information, or that we simply retrieve from it the knowledge that we have ‘uploaded’ as outcomes of our learning processes; instead, both the formation of memories and their recall engage emotion systems in the brain. We will also look at ways we can increase adult students’ emotional engagement in the learning process, and other practical implications for the classroom.
Herbert Puchta holds a Ph.D. in ELT Pedagogy. For several years, he was Professor of English at the Teacher Training University in Graz, Austria. He has been a plenary speaker at numerous international conferences and has conducted workshops and given seminars in more than 50 countries. He was also President of IATEFL (the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language).
For almost three decades, Herbert has done research into the practical application of findings from cognitive psychology and brain research to the teaching of English as a foreign language. Herbert has co-authored numerous course books as well as articles and resource books. His latest resource books, all published with CUP, are Teaching Young Learners to Think, Grammar Songs and Raps, and Get on Stage! His latest course book is Super Minds for primary students.