The final training principle tells us to use minimal levels of arousal when training. Of course, we need to horse to be sufficiently aroused and engaged in the lesson but not so emotional as to be afraid.
A frightened horse is not learning (well, probably not anything we want it to know). A bored horse is not learning. I looked at emotional/arousal level in the study that was published in PLoS (Effects of pre-conditioning on behavior and physiology of horses during a standardised learning task) and found that an increase in heart rate of about 16 percent was sufficient to engage the horse with learning.
We all remember those teachers at school - the ones that yelled and frightened the students. These students aren't learning algebra, they're wondering how to keep out of the teacher's way and not get into trouble. The opposite extreme is the terribly dull teacher that speaks in a monotone and has no enthusiasm. Again the students aren't learning algebra, they're daydreaming about where they're going to ride their beautiful black stallion next weekend, or was that just me?
Try to be that perfect teacher - the one we loved to listen to, that engaged us in the work and had the class we looked forward to.
Can you remember a teacher like this? If so, leave me a comment below and tell me why you liked the way they taught.
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