The Affective Networks and How They Work

Posted by Nikki Rankin on 1/6/2017 8:00:00 AM

Our Affective Networks ensure that we are emotionally responsive to the outside world. Information travels from the sensory organs up the continuum to where it reaches our “feel” emotional reactions. We respond almost instantaneously when we hear or sense something. We can be uptight and nervous before a presentation or athletic event. We also have the ability to use techniques such as breathing, refocusing attention and visualizing success. Teachers can learn how to help eliminate, or at least lessen, the negative emotion students may have in situations at school. One reason students with severe affective disorders (such as childhood depression) have reading failure, is because strong affective influences can derail the work of recognition and strategic networks (Gentile, Lamb, & Rivers, 1985; Kindard, 2001). Understanding affective issues can help teachers support learners more effectively.

Affective Networks are often overlooked, but are essential for learning. When a student withdraws effort and interest, this was once considered something outside the scope of classroom intervention. Over time, this has become  a major factor to address when necessary for student growth and learning. Think about the needs of the students when reading. Don’t some like to read alone; whereas others can read with lots of people and noise going on; some like to be told which books to read; whereas others like to have the freedom to choose.

A teacher’s ability to form a framework with recognition, strategic, and Affective Networks can help us analyze our students’ individual strengths and challenges, and to understand the individual differences that our students bring to each of our classrooms.

There were several web links on this topic that I can share with you. If you would like those, please contact me at In our next issue, I will start exploring the instructional media that can address the recognition, strategic and Affective Networks for students to promote learning.

Michele Neumann  Michelle Neumann, Assistant Director