The Role of Emotions in an Adult Classroom Setting: A Focus on Community College Instruction




Van Aacken, Carl J.

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The purpose of this study was to explore the potential role of emotions within an adult education setting—the community college—through the perspective of the teacher. Using qualitative grounded theory methodology, this study queried 11 community college faculty members of their perspectives on emotions within the classroom setting. Study findings included the identification of four roles of emotions and a model depicting a phenomenon titled The Classroom Emotional Temperature. The four roles of emotions include: (a) the role of emotions is to enhance the learning environment; (b) the role of emotions is to influence the energy level of the learner(s); (c) the role of emotions is to make class content more memorable; (d) the role of emotions is to incite deeper understanding of class content. The Classroom Emotional Temperature Model operates under the assumption that the occurrence of student emotions can positively influence or inhibit the learning process. The model emerged from the perspectives of the study participants and depicts, through both a narrative description and a pictorial illustration, a way to think about the occurrence of students’ emotions within a classroom setting and the potential influence of those emotions while learning subject matter content.



Emotion(s), Classroom emotional temperature, Affective teaching, Memory, Attention, Interest, Engagement


Van Aacken, C. J. (2013). <i>The role of emotions in an adult classroom setting: A focus on community college instruction</i> (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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