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Feelings please: Learning a language through emotions

In learning research, the influence of feelings (emotions) on the learning ability and learning performance of humans has been intensively studied. It has been discovered that emotions – both positive and negative – have a major influence on information processing in the human brain. Fear and stress have a bad influence – In simple experimental setups, it could be shown that negative feelings such as fear and stress have a negative influence on learning. Anyone who has ever felt fear before an exam knows what is meant here by “negative influence.”

Anxiety inhibits creativity and prevents new information from being linked to existing information. (This linking of new information with old information is what we commonly refer to as learning)

So if you have fear, you can’t learn well.

The influence of stress must be evaluated in a somewhat more differentiated way. A little stress can sometimes do no harm – rather the opposite: so-called positive stress can give us a boost of energy and improved performance.

Extreme and permanent stress, however, leads – like anxiety – to a learning blockade.

Learning through positive emotions

However, research has also shown that positive emotions have a positive influence on brain performance. You should try to take advantage of this fact. You can pursue two strategies here:

On the one hand, you can try to create a pleasant learning environment in which you are relaxed and enjoy working. You can find tips on creating the ideal learning place in this article on good learning places.

Secondly, you can try to link individual vocabulary and phrases that you want to learn with a feeling. Because this way, you stimulate the processing process in your brain. Especially the vocabulary for emotional expressions and moods in the foreign language, you will quickly acquire with this method.

When you learn the English translation of the word “love”, think of a person close to you and the feelings you have for that person. When you think of the translation of the word “pleasure”, think of this emotion.

Make a collection of words that express feelings and translate them into the foreign language. Go through the list at regular intervals and visualize the feelings expressed by each word. You will see: You will have learned this list quickly.

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