Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dissonance, anger and learning

Anger often lurks near learning. Why? Frustration is the hallmark of dissonance, and I largely believe that dissonance of a sort is necessary to learn. But why?

Learning is an adaptive mechanism we gained to be able to cope with time and change. Evolution loves coping strategies...indeed, natural selection isn't so much about winning as it is about coping. Those who cope best survive and thrive.

Learning and coping are one and the same for me. I learn when I can face dissonance and not respond with anger alone. Anger is a trigger for memories, but coping is learning to get on and get through the dissonance (of, say, a tough algebra problem).

1 comment:

Joan Vinall-Cox said...

Yes anger is part of learning, and frustration inspires stubborn determination to GET IT TO WORK because the dissonance is so uncomfortable. This also has an impact on how students sometimes feel about teachers; they can (I have) sometimes displace the anger from the frustration onto an alternate "source", the teacher.