Emotion and Education: Reflecting on the Emotional Experience Emotion and Education

Luigina Mortari

APA 6th edition
Mortari, L. (2015). Emotion and Education: Reflecting on the Emotional Experience Emotion and Education. European Journal of Educational Research, 4(4), 157-176. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.4.4.157

Mortari L. 2015 'Emotion and Education: Reflecting on the Emotional Experience Emotion and Education', European Journal of Educational Research , vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 157-176. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.12973/eu-jer.4.4.157

Chicago 16th edition
Mortari, Luigina . "Emotion and Education: Reflecting on the Emotional Experience Emotion and Education". (2015)European Journal of Educational Research 4, no. 4(2015): 157-176. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.4.4.157


The paper presents an educative experience organized in a postgraduate course in a faculty of education with the aim of facilitating students’ “affective self-understanding”. Affective self-understanding is a reflective practice that allows people to comprehend their own emotions in order to gain awareness of them. Students were spontaneously engaged in a laboratory, where they were invited to reflect on their emotional lives. The educative experience was subdivided into different phases requiring writing and analysis tasks. At the end of the experience, students were asked what they thought they had learned, what had been difficult, and what had been the most important phase for learning. Students’ answers were analyzed on the basis of grounded theory through an inductive process of analysis. The theoretical framework of the research is the cognitive theory of emotions. According to this theory, an emotional education is possible because we can understand emotions by identifying their cognitive component and the actions they induce.

Keywords: Affective self-understanding, emotional education, cognitive theory of emotions, reflective experience, emotional life.


Abe, J. A. A. (2011). Positive emotions, emotional intelligence, and successful experiential learning. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(7), 817-822.

Ahmed, W., van der Werf, G., Kuyper, H., & Minnaert, A. (2013). Emotions, self-regulated learning, and achievement in mathematics: A growth curve analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105 (1), 150-161.

Aristotle (1999). Nicomachean Ethics (2nd ed.). Translated by T. Irwin. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company.

Aristotle (2010). Rhetoric. Edited by W. D. Ross, translated by W. Rhys Roberts. New York, NY: Cosimo.

Armstrong, A.R., Galligan, R.F., & Critchley, C.R. (2011). Emotional intelligence and psychological resilience to negative life events. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 331–336.

Bierman, K. L., Coie, J. D., Dodge, K. A., Greenberg, M. T., Lochman, J. E., McMahon, R. J., & Pinderhughes, E. (2010). The effects of a multiyear universal social–emotional learning program: The role of student and school characteristics.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,78(2), 156-168.

Buck, R. (1984). The communication of emotion. New York: Guilford Press.

Camilleri, S., Caruana, A., Falzon, R., & Muscat, M. (2012). The promotion of emotional literacy through Personal and Social development: the Maltese experience. Pastoral Care in Education, 30(1), 19-37.

Campbell, R. J., Kagan, N., & Krathwohl, D. R. (1971). The development and validation of a scale to measure affective sensitivity (empathy). Journal of Counseling Psychology, 18(5), 407-412.

Castillo, R., Salguero, J. M., Fernández-Berrocal, P., & Balluerka, N. (2013). Effects of an emotional intelligence intervention on aggression and empathy among adolescents. Journal of Adolescence36(5), 883-892.

Darby, A. (2008). Teachers’ emotions in the reconstruction of professional self-understanding. Teaching and teacher education, 24(5), 1160-1172.

Day, C., & Leitch, R. (2001). Teachers’ and teacher educators’ lives: The role of emotion. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(4), 403-415.

Dettmers, S., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Goetz, T., Frenzel, A.C., & Pekrun, R. (2011). Students’ emotions during homework in mathematics: Testing a theoretical model of antecedents and achievement outcomes. Contemporary Educational Psychology 36(1),25–35.

Dracinschi, M. C. (2012). The development of social and emotional abilities of primary school children. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 55, 618-627.

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta‐analysis of school‐based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432.

Flury, J., & Ickes, W. (2001). Emotional intelligence and empathic accuracy. In J. Ciarrochi, J. Forgas, & J. Mayer (Eds.),Emotional intelligence in everyday life: A scientific inquiry113-132). Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Glaser, B. (1978). Theoretical Sensitivity. Mill Valley (CA): Sociology Press.

Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine.

Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence (10th anniversary ed.). New York: Bantam Books.

Gross, A. L., & Ballif, B. (1991). Children’s understanding of emotion from facial expressions and situations: A review. Developmental Review, 11(4), 368-398.

Hall, J.A. (1984). Nonverbal sex differences: Communication accuracy and expressive style. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hannula, M.S. (2002). Attitude towards mathematics: Emotions, expectations and values. Educational Studies in Mathematics,  4925–46.

Hargreaves, A. (2000). Mixed emotions: Teachers’ perceptions of their interactions with students. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16(8), 811-826.

Harré, R., & Gillett, G. (1994). The discursive mind. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage Publications.

Hascher, T. (2010). Learning and Emotion: perspectives for theory and research. European Educational Research Journal, 9(1), 13-28.

Heidegger, M. (1996). Being and time. Translated by J. Stambaugh. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Husserl, E. (2012). Ideas. Translated by W. R. Boyce Gibson. London and New York: Routledge.

Isenbarger, L., & Zembylas, M. (2006). The emotional labour of caring in teaching.Teaching and Teacher Education,22(1), 120-134.

Liau, A. K., Liau, A. W. L., Teoh, G. B. S., & Liau, M. T. L. (2003). The Case for Emotional Literacy: the influence of emotional intelligence on problem behaviours in Malaysian secondary school students.Journal of Moral Education,32(1), 51-66.

Lincoln, Y.S., & Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park (CA): Sage.

Marchand, G. C., & Gutierrez, A. P. (2012). The role of emotion in the learning process: Comparisons between online and face-to-face learning settings.The Internet and Higher Education,15(3), 150-160.

Mortari, L. (2007). Cultura della ricerca e pedagogia. Roma: Carocci

Mortari, L. (2009a), Aver cura di sé, Milano: Mondadori.

Mortari, L. (Ed.) (2009b). La ricerca per i bambini. Milano: Mondadori.

Nussbaum, M. C. (2001). Upheavals of thought: The intelligence of emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oatley, K. (1992). Best laid schemes. The psychology of emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parker, J.D., Taylor, G.J., & Bagby R.M. (1993). Alexithymia and the recognition of facial expressions of emotion. Psychother Psychosom, 59(3-4), 197-202.

Perry, L., Lennie, C., & Humphrey, N. (2008). Emotional literacy in the primary classroom: teacher perceptions and practices. Education 3–13, 36(1), 27-37.

Petrides, K. V., Frederickson, N., & Furnham, A. (2004). The role of trait emotional intelligence in academic performance and deviant behavior at school. Personality and individual differences, 36(2), 277-293.

Pfänder, A. (2002). Sulla psicologia dei sentimenti. Translated by Roberta Guccinelli. In C. Bazzanella and P. Kobau (Eds.), Passioni, emozioni, affetti (pp. 115-148). Milano: McGraw-Hill.

Plato (1997). Alcibiades. Translated by D. S. Hutchinson. In Cooper, J. M. & Hutchinson, D. S. (Eds.), Complete works (pp. 557-595). Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company.

Pons, F., Harris, P. L., & Doudin, P.-A. (2002). Teaching emotion understanding. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 17(3), 293-304.

Pons, F., Harris, P. L., & de Rosnay, M. (2004). Emotion comprehension between 3 and 11 years: Developmental periods and hierarchical organization. European journal of developmental psychology, 1(2), 127-152.

Rivers, S. E., Brackett, M. A., Reyes, M. R., Elbertson, N. A., & Salovey, P. (2013). Improving the social and emotional climate of classrooms: A clustered randomized controlled trial testing the RULER approach.Prevention science,14(1), 77-87.

Rosenthal, R., Hall, J. A., DiMatteo, M. R., Rogers, P. L., & Archer, D. (1979). Sensitivity to nonverbal communication: The PONS test. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Salovey, P., & Mayer, J.D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition and Personality185-211.

Shapiro, S. (2010). Revisiting the teachers' lounge: Reflections on emotional experience and teacher identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(3), 616-621.

Scheler, M. (1973). Ordo Amoris. In Selected philosophical essays (pp. 98-135). Translated by D. R. Lachterman. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Schneider, T. R., Lyons, J. B., & Khazon, S. (2013). Emotional intelligence and resilience. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(8), 909-914.

Schutte, N. S., & Malouff, J. M. (2011). Emotional intelligence mediates the relationship between mindfulness and subjective well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(7), 1116-1119.

Solomon, R. C. (2003). Emotions, thoughts and feelings: what is a ‘cognitive theory’ of the emotions and does it neglect affectivity? In A. Hatzimoysis (Ed.), Philosophy and the emotions (pp. 1-18). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stein, E. (2002). Finite and eternal being. An attempt at an ascent to the meaning of being. Translated by K. F. Reinhardt. Washington, DC: ICS Publications.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research. Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park (CA): Sage.

Thayer, R. E., Newman, J. R., & McClain, T. M. (1994). Self-regulation of mood: strategies for changing a bad mood, raising energy, and reducing tension.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(5),910-925.

Winans, A. E. (2012). Cultivating critical emotional literacy: Cognitive and contemplative approaches to engaging difference.College English,75(2), 150-170.

Zembylas, M., Charalambous, C., Charalambous, P., & Kendeou, P. (2011). Promoting peaceful coexistence in conflict-ridden Cyprus: Teachers’ difficulties and emotions towards a new policy initiative. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(2), 332-341.

Zins, J. E., & Elias, M. J. (2007). Social and emotional learning: Promoting the development of all students. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 17(2-3), 233-255.