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How Attitude Affects the Learning Process

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"How Attitude Affects the Learning Process"
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Attitude can be described as the person’s state of mind, which represents the emotions, behavior and beliefs that he or she has in relation to a situation, event or towards an individual. Thus, a person’s perception with regard to his or her learning, the school, the teacher and regarding the future goals gives rise to a certain attitude, which may have a positive or a negative influence on the learning process. Understanding how these attitudes affect the persons learning process could help the learners as well as the teachers to minimize the negative attitudes while promoting the positive attitudes as much as possible.

Negative attitudes can stunt the learning

According to educational experts and psychologists, having a negative attitude could generate a ‘defeatist mentality and self fulfilling prophecy’. Such attitudes therefore resist change and discourage growth, which can stunt the learning to a large extent. However, if the learner can open up his or her mind and get rid of the self-imposed limitations that could positively influence the learning process.

The link between motivation and attitude towards learning

Having a better motivation could also improve the attitudes towards learning and when the learner develops better attitudes, it can have positive feedback effect on the person’s motivation as well. Thus, it is important for teachers to understand what makes their students motivated and perhaps de-motivated when it comes to learning and address such issues at the very beginning to provide a better learning experience. However, as the learner grows old, he or she is in a position to self-motivate his or herself while external influences on improving motivation may not be much effective as it does in the younger learners.

Attitude and continuous education

In a research study undertaken by the London firm Continental Research, it was found that, attitudes towards learning not only affect the amount of learning but also the desire for education throughout life. They arrived at this conclusion by studying a set of adult students in UK, which included both skilled employees as well as non-skilled personal with minimum education. Among the study population, the skilled employees desired further education while the employees with minimum education responded negatively towards continuing their education.


Thus, it is apparent that attitude does affect a person’s learning process and in order to make attitudinal changes, the person should address his or her emotions, behavior and/or the cognitive process. However, experts argue that, changing ‘how one feels’ or the emotions, could be much harder than changing the ‘way one think’ and the ‘way one acts’. Thus, if the person is able to alter the behavior and the cognitive process, he or she could influence the emotions and therefore develop a completely positive attitude toward the learning process.

More about this author: Dr Pandula Siribaddana

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