The paper addresses the definition of academic emotions and how it is influenced by, from intrinsic or extrinsic, why is it important to study the importance of this topic. And linking it with Eric Erikson’s theory. Next, it reviews the impact of emotions on student’s learning and understanding in a school setting and how it can affect a student in a positive way or a negative way. Finally, it addresses how it connects closely with achievement-related activities and the factors around it.
Academy emotions in students
In a classroom, students experience a variety of emotions, ranging from positive to negative emotions. The reasons behind these emotions have many reasons as well; this can range from personality affecting the attitude and behavior to intrinsic reasons and extrinsic reasons which the student then bring into the school environment. Emotions have a great effect on a student’s behavior and their performance in their studies. A student can take extra lessons outside school because they couldn’t keep up with the rest of their peers because they couldn’t understand the lessons or took too long to understand the lessons, all those affect how a student act when they are in a classroom. Two students of the same age can have a different understanding during lessons, one student can enjoy a certain lesson but the other would not. It is important for schools to care greatly about a student’s well-being in terms of both physical and emotional so they can bring out the best in students, of course, this applies to how a parent would teach their children. Punishment can discipline certain children and affect their emotions in a positive way but some children may react to punishment poorly in which their emotions affect them negatively, which may worsen their academic emotions or just their general emotions.
In Eric Erikson’s Identity Theory, he mentioned that a person’s emotions and behavior are due to their experience with social interactions and past experiences in their life. However, there are other factors that affect the emotions such as current issues rather than past experiences. And I will be finding out the reasons and motives behind these emotions. Not only that, academic emotions have been greatly neglected and ignored in educational psychology with the exception of anxiety test but even that doesn’t cover the whole of academic emotions.
The motivation of this study is to find out the majority reason behind academic emotions and how it affects the emotions that are experienced while in a school setting. The study of this paper generally believes that most of the reasons that lead to academic emotions are due to intrinsic reasons such as their enjoyment of lessons.
Keywords: Academic emotions, achievement, intrinsic, reasons
There are different types of emotions caused by different issues, social emotions, epistemic emotions, topic emotions and achievement emotions are the common type of emotions. Emotions can be subjective as each person’s emotions can vary from each person and a person can experience different emotions even when they’re in the same situations as other people. Emotions can also influence how a student can be motived to learn or how they understand during lessons. Emotions are part of a student’s personality development and it can also affect physical illnesses and mental health as well. Differences can include gender and race; an example of it is the differences of stress during exams such as western students are likely to be less stress during an exam compare to an Asian student. However, the range of differences in emotions is much larger than the range of cultural differences as each person is unique. The reason for these differences are due to the student self-confidence and interests towards certain subjects are very different. Negative emotions also exist in a class, emotions include anxiety, hopelessness, and boredom. Negative emotion is a huge factor to why a student does not perform well in class and they affect the student’s behavior and their health as well. Self-confidence has always been linked to a person’s personality and can help develop positive emotions and reduce negative emotions. In school, students often have academic achievement as a factor in school as the reason is because students often have a success and failure- related emotions which is depending on the student, they may perceive success with excitement and joy while they may perceive failure with hopelessly and shame, this greatly affects how they perform during an examination such as having a high level of anxiety when an exam is approaching with a fear of failing it. Emotions and attention are closely related to each other, it draws the person’s attention towards the object of attention, such as a good grade can grab the attention, this attention can also push the attention away from the current task, example include, spending time with friends can be enjoyable but it can also distract them from their homework, it includes most type of academic learning task. However, emotions from enjoyment in learning are supposed to allow the student to focus fully on the learning task. Enjoyment is considered as an important factor to promote a student’s learning experience as well as giving an intrinsic motivation to learn. Academic emotions may be deduced from social cognitive perspectives on human development, test-anxiety have shown that high achievement expectancies, pressure for achievement, competition among peers correlate with student’s achievement-related anxiety. It relates closely to the student’s enjoyment of learning as well as anger and boredom towards it. However, this is an assumption implied by control-value theory in direct ways. Student’s academic emotions are often caused by many reasons and relate to student’s learning, achievement as well as social environments. (Reinhard, 2014)
A theory linked with achievement emotions is known as a control-value theory has mentioned eight common emotions that are tested in tests, anxiety, anger, boredom, enjoyment, hope, hopelessness, pride, and shame. (Reinhard, 2014) A test was conducted which was a questionnaire with the question of what ‘word’ student associated with the word ‘learning’ and the result was that the words; shame, hopelessness, anger, and pride were mentioned less than 10% of the students that took the test. The reason behind these is because the emotions are influenced by their own emotional learning and experiences. Unlike intrinsic emotions, extrinsic emotions are mentioned as not being included with academic emotions as they don’t fall into object focus; learning activities and learning outcome. However, there are arguments that extrinsic emotions do affect the learning in students such as; physical conditions may affect learning experiences and their emotions, which is why it’s been stated that the range in object focus needs to be wider. Thus why academic emotions are not just the subset of the general emotions but overlap with intrinsic and extrinsic that reflect on how the person value and feel towards the cognitive events. In the case of academic emotions, learning is different across different countries and can be depending on the specific educational environment. The concept of academic emotions would represent a different but a range of psychological conditions. Academic emotion within the context of academic activities in a school setting, these activities are closely linked with cognitive and affective components. Those event types are associated with emotion words, which required an investment of affective, cognitive and behavioral resources. Academic emotions should include psychological states that may be considered cognitive conditions which contrast with the original concept of academic emotions which was supposed to be defined differently from the category of general emotions. (Bernardo, Jerome, & Maria, 2009)
In a research done by (Reinhard Pekrun, 2002) it shows that students have a wide variety of emotions in an academic setting and that theory approach towards student’s emotions would limit it and may miss important parts of a student’s affective life. It was also reported that achievement pressure and fear of failing would contribute greatly to the arousal of emotions. However, as much as negative emotions have appeared in the result of the test, positive emotions have appeared just as much. Academic emotions traits can differ between emotions such as items relating to affective, cognitive or motivational components in some scales such as test anxiety scale. Intrinsic motivations and extrinsic motivation such as enjoyment, hope and pride correlate positively with the student’s interest while negative emotions like boredom and hopelessly correlates negatively with motivational variables and suggest that these two emotions affect the student’s academic motivation negatively. Genetic and physiological attitude and cognitive appraisals meaning a person’s interpretation of a situation and their reactions towards it can be regarded a reason for these emotions. Academic emotions are considered as domain towards the rest of emotions in general, this can be true for a class of emotions. However these factors are out of the reach of educators like teachers, lectures and maybe even parents. Students can be caused by school setting or social environments. Research based on student’s reactions and their environment can help in designing the latest investigation of a student’s negative emotions such as hopelessness and anger and how they affect the student. Though other than this, other factors such as negative self-concepts are important as well. Academic achievement is closely linked with academic emotions and a student’s emotions depend on the student’s motivational and cognitive and interactions between these two mechanisms and tasks demands. This implies that emotions affect heavily on academic achievement. Generally, people would link positive emotions with achievement positively by increasing motivation learning such as task enjoyment, this is especially true towards intrinsic emotions towards task enjoyment. Compare to negative emotions may generally direct attention away and make task-related information hollow, it’s been mentioned that negative emotions can reduce intrinsic motivations but may benefit achievement by increasing extrinsic motivation. (Pekrun, Thomas, Wolfram, & Raymond, 2002)
Achievement emotions are emotions tied directly to achievement activities and outcomes, this achievement is by the standard of the person which is what the theory, control-value theory considers achievement emotions are. Emotions in a school setting are seen as achievement emotions, it’s been noted that social emotions are also experienced in the same setting. Examples of outcome achievement emotions are joy and pride when a student pass their test and feelings of shame and frustration when there is a failure in tests. The control-value theory sees intrinsic values of activities relate to having an interest in the activities even if the end-product of the activity is not relevant outcomes. While extrinsic values are to expect an outcome through an activity and through that outcome, it produces even further outcomes. Positive emotions such as joy in learning are assumed to increase interest and motivations while negative emotions such as boredom and hopelessly will decrease the learning motivations. More complex emotions such as anxiety can both strength and weaken motivations in learning, example, If a student is afraid of failing an exam, they will be motived to study harder in order to avoid that.
Positive emotions such as joy in learning are assumed to increase interest and motivations while negative emotions such as boredom and hopelessly will decrease the learning motivations. More complex emotions such as anxiety can both strength and weaken motivations in learning, example, If a student is afraid of failing an exam, they will be motived to study harder in order to avoid that however that anxiety can reduce an interest in the subject and decrease intrinsic motivations. A number of studies showed that most student’s positive emotions such as enjoyment, hope, and pride relate positively to academic achievement, negative emotions such as boredom and hopelessly relates negatively to achievement. This meant that negative effects outweigh positive effects through different students. The theory implies that student achievement emotions can be influenced by changing the variables relating to achievements activities and outcome. (Pekrun Reinhard, Anne, and Thomas, 2007)
Academic emotion is a term for emotions tied to a student’s learning and achievement. This influences the student’s behavior and perception and it is significantly related to students’ motivation and academic achievement through emotions related to achievement has been called ‘achievement emotions’ as well. These emotions have been focused on achievement outcome such as the emotion after performance feedback. Impact of emotions can be both negative and positive as well, an example of this would be test anxiety that shows two components that, one that worsens the performance and other that arousal the performance in a positive way. This means that emotions have an influence on how a student learn and perform, the effects of learning on emotions is linked with social interactions and judgment, emotion can maintain, dissolve and create relationships and communication of emotions in learning situations. As the research of emotion grows, there is more than the traditional emotion and cognition respectively, with it being replaced with the interplay between the two, with evidence that many brain structures and processes can be both “emotional” and “cognitive”. The interaction between emotion, motivation, and cognition can become even more complex as emotions are affected by the student’s beliefs and actions. Student’s academic attitude and values are closely connected with school-related behaviors, they are not only influenced by peers and teacher but are influenced by their parents and other family members, an example would be a student would value a certain subject more if their parent values it as well. There is a need to identify research concerning learning and achievement emotions in different settings. (Michaela, Iva, and Tomáš, 2013)
The literature reviews were found on the internet, and Likert scale and the questionnaire was used in the survey in order to find out the attitude people have towards academic emotions. Frequency table and histogram was used as an analysis technique from the results of the surveys.
Results and Findings
In the survey that was given out, it turns out that most people generally feel positive more than average. Most of the given reason is that these emotions stem from studies and school itself, this can be being learning difficulty or enjoying what you learn, this can mean that the reasons are either intrinsic or extrinsic. Of course, more than half of the whole results relieve that people do indeed enjoy what they learn in lessons so it can be concluded that most academic emotions that people feel is due to intrinsic reasons. As stated in my literature by (Pekrun Reinhard, 2014) academic achievement is often linked with academic emotions which results in success and failure- related emotions which comes from student’s feelings towards exams and their fear of failure in their examination, following that statement, the result of the survey shows that most people feel fairly indifferent towards exams compare to feeling overly positive and overly negative towards it. However, surprisingly even though most people feel indifferent towards exams, more than half a people have a fear of failing their exams compare to having confidence that they can pass or feeling neutral about it. Enjoyment during lessons is also a factor for academic emotions, how they perceived what happens during lessons. More than half the people that took the survey have stated that they enjoy what they learn during lessons, last than half have stated that they only learn during lessons because it is required for them to do so, interestingly, the rest of the people have stated it depends on whoever teaches them or being interested in specific subjects only, with only one person stating that they are neutral. In order to analysis my results, frequency table, and histogram were used as an analysis technique.
Discussion and Analysis
Academic emotions are still fairly uncommon in the field of psychology study and limitations include, the topic being written by the same author but in different articles and as a result, there are limited literature reviews. There was also the limitation in analyzing the data of the survey conducted because the data is very simple, methods of advanced analysis technique such as ANOVA and T-test can’t be used.
The hypothesis for this paper is that students’ reasons for academic emotions are intrinsic reasons and of the literature reviews that were used in this paper by (Pekrun Reinhard, 2014) have stated that emotions is very subjective and is unique to each student, both intrinsic and extrinsic will affect emotions and whichever side is stronger would depend solely on the student itself, which means that the hypothesis of this paper was disagreed on. However, another of the literature review by (Pekrun Reinhard, Wolfram, & Raymond, 2002) have stated that a student’s personality can be a source of academic emotions which is implied that study agrees with the hypothesis that intrinsic reasons are behind academic emotions. Along with that, (Pekrun Reinhard, Anne, and Thomas, 2007) have mentioned that positive emotions and negative emotion greatly influence how a student performs during an examination which is an intrinsic motivation to affect the achievement emotions, which is also another term for academic emotions which means that it agrees with the hypothesis. (Bernardo, Jerome, & Maria, 2009), in their literature review, they have a state that extrinsic emotions don’t affect academic emotions due to object focus but have mentioned that it may be possible to be affected if the object focus is wider but for now, they do agree with my hypothesis. (Michaela, Iva, and Tomáš, 2013) have stated that emotions have an influence in how a student performs and learn in class which is influenced by social interaction, and that implies that they believe that extrinsic reasons such as relationships with peers and family have a stronger influence with academic emotions which in turn, rejects the hypothesis. In summary, emotions have varies different reasons due to it being very subjective, academic emotions tied closely to achievement in a school setting and how students perceived is dependent on the student themselves. Most of the emotions are measured through how they feel during exams or during lessons in school. And that, the reasons behind these emotions are ambiguous and need more research. Though generally most of the people that took the survey that was conducted have agreed that they have a fear of failing an exam which shows that they have a negative emotions towards exams however most of the people that took the survey also agree that they enjoy their lessons, this is contrast to (Pekrun Reinhard, 2002)’s article that talks about academic emotions in learning which state that negative emotions would reduce intrinsic motivations.
Most of the literature reviews are by (Pekrun Reinhard, 2002) as while it can be a limitation as stated above but (Pekrun Reinhard, 2014) has written a lot of detailed information about academic emotions and have pointed out many important points about it, and while the reasons behind academic emotions remain ambiguous but this also shows that emotions are due to wide and varied reasons. (Bernardo, Jerome, & Maria, 2009) have also taken references from (Pekrun Reinhard, 2002) in the report that they have written, they mentioned object focus which is explaining their need to be more factors to focus on in order to understand emotions. Which is why literature review from them are used in this study.
As most of the literature reviews may have agreed with the study’s hypothesis, the survey also shows that majority of the reasons for these emotions is school and studies itself which means that the reasons are mostly intrinsic which supports the hypothesis of this study. How most people feel towards a school setting is more than average but not overly positive, this can mean that most people enjoy their lessons which in turn give them a positive feeling towards school.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Academic emotions are uncommon in the psychology world and study. Finding out the reasons is even more uncommon. Factors affecting it and why it happens is a lot and hard to study but this is why it needs to be studied and explore into. Every student is different and each reason for academic emotions is different as well which is something an adult needs to understand, teachers and parents are the examples. A teacher can’t teach every student the same method of teaching, some students may be slower to understand. That’s why some students have extra tuition due to not being able to catch up. If a teacher teaches each student suitable to how fast they learn, they wouldn’t need to attend extra lessons to catch. This isn’t easy, especially for a huge class but it needs to be understood that not every student can understand the same teaching method. The same goes for parents, they can’t raise their second child with the same method as their first child because their second child is different. Shaping the environment of the student is one of the methods of change as for how someone focuses in class can be different, someone can be more focused when they are outside, while some students focus well in a classroom. Of course, as mentioned, it’s not easy if there is a huge class of student, that’s why students can also learn to regulate their emotions in order to control them and learn how to manage them in an appropriate way. A program that can be used is social emotion learning, psychotherapy and practicing emotional intelligence skills, which is learning to recognize emotions are also methods to managed emotions.
In order to further the study of academic emotions, the study of the reasons behind it should be studied further, personality and background of the students are factors they should consider when they study for academic emotions, why academic emotions occur seem to be lacking in most of the literature reviews that was referenced.