The complexity of students' emotional processes in a discussion setting
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To fully understand students’ learning in educational settings and to increase academic well-being, researchers have increasingly asked for more investigations of emotional processes and their interactions with other factors in educational settings. Classroom discussion has been recommended as a promising educational activity because it affords students with the potential to participate actively in constructing meaning through the sharing of ideas with their classmates as well as their teacher. The purpose of this study was to explore students’ emotional processes and their interactions with other aspects within an educational context that include discussion. To investigate these, I chose one three-hour undergraduate upper division seminar course for prospective teachers. To capture students’ emotional processes in class discussion, I used multiple methods, including surveys, taking field notes, and interviews with each student through stimulated recall. Findings included that students bring their own individual differences in class discussions and these tendencies influence how individuals interact with each other and create emotional processes, both negative and positive. Those students who showed a lack of consideration of social aspects involved in class discussion and who dominated the discussion were likely to be tuned out by their classmates and to receive negative feedback from them. This in turn reduced their motivation to participate in subsequently. By contrast, students who were considerate of social aspects involved in making contributions in classroom were likely to be well received by their classmates, regardless of the frequency of their participation in class. Emotional arguments or events during discussion could either push away students’ attention to the contents of discussion or bring the attention of the student who was tuning out the discussion back. Emotional processes in discussion had very complex characteristics based on the interaction between individuals and the context and social interactions among individuals in the educational context. This study provided a glimpse into the complex emotional processes that occur in discussion settings and raised many questions about emotional processes that further research should be conducted.