Literacy 7-12

Systems Change

Factor Connections

Hover to see how factors connect to Emotion. Then click connected factors to explore strategies related to multiple factors.

Emotions are complex psychological states stemming from a person's experiences. They affect our minds and bodies, and can support or hinder learning. Cultural and family differences can impact how emotions are expressed and recognized in others.

Main Ideas

There are several aspects of Emotion that can drive reading and writing development:

  • Emotion knowledge is understanding what emotions are and properly recognizing them in others' facial expressions and speech. As students get older, they develop the ability to understand more complex emotional concepts, such as mixed emotions.
  • Emotion regulation is the ability to control emotional arousal in order to learn adaptive functioning (the ability to complete daily tasks, cope with changes in the environment, and function successfully in a classroom) and is an important aspect of social competence. Emotion regulation involves both implicit processes, and explicit processes, where students are consciously aware of how they are regulating their behavior.
  • Mental Health is the combination of our emotional and psychological well-being and adjustment. Emotions are dynamic and fluctuate over time, so it is normal to experience both positive and negative emotions. However, students who tend to experience more positive than negative emotions overall, and who are able to successfully manage and minimize stress, will have better overall psychological well-being.

Emotion regulation continues to develop during adolescence. The dynamic brain changes occurring as adolescents develop make them more vulnerable to emotional dysregulation, which often leads to higher levels of stress and anxiety. Several types of psychiatric disorders first appear during adolescence and girls are at greater risk of developing depression and anxiety.

Emotion regulation impacts many academic skills, including the development of reading and writing skills. For example, students who have reading anxiety have a more difficult time focusing on reading materials, and their comprehension can suffer. Educators may also misinterpret students' emotional states due to biases such as being more likely to perceive Black students as angry or hostile. As a result of different social norms and experiences around Emotion, students may benefit from linguistically and culturally-responsive approaches to addressing emotions.

Students also use their emotional states to gauge their degree of confidence regarding whether they can complete an academic task, such as a reading or writing assignment. For example, feeling confident in their skills and/or interested in the topic can positively impact a student's self-efficacy (see Motivation), making it easier for them to do their best and seek out more challenging tasks. Moreover, students' emotional states while reading can also impact their Attention. Students often pay more attention to reading that is emotionally compelling, such as texts with surprise or suspense.

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