A article has recently been published exploring learning about learning.

It confirms two principles that we know well:

1 Children progress better in an active, play-based learning environment
2 Stress reduces your cerebral activity and therefore your ability to succeed at a task

What they don’t mention is the power of emotion for developing memory.  That is one of the key roles of our emotions.  When your emotions are not engaged your memory retention level is much reduced.  So the old Victorian routine of extreme fear in the classroom would have reduced the ability of the students to perform, but might have helped them remember stuff.  However, we don’t recommend it as a strategy!  Positive emotions allow high performance AND good memory retention as well.

It is boredom that is the death of learning.