Affective education is a term you might come across in your teaching career. This lesson will present a definition of affective education as well as several examples of what this kind of teaching looks like in practice.
Affective Education and Its Programs
Proponents of affective education believe that it should go hand in hand with traditional instruction of subjects such as reading, math, science, and social studies. Affective education focuses on developing students' belief systems, emotions, and attitudes. The underlying beliefs of affective education are that in order to learn traditional subjects optimally, students must develop these aspects of their personality. By working to develop these traits, students will have a more solid foundation on which to build their traditional learning.
As a teacher, you bring to the classroom your own set of ideas, beliefs, interests, and attitudes. These all define and guide your teaching process. It's important to remember that your students enter the classroom the same way, though their ideas and interests may be less defined.
Affective education programs often seek to improve students' self-esteem, train them to be able to work with other people effectively, and help them develop a sense of how they learn best. Integrating affective education into the classroom can sometimes present a challenge for teachers, who are often pressured to spend the whole school day teaching reading and math, but little else. However, with some clever lesson planning, affective education can effectively be incorporated into pre-existing curricula. The following examples will demonstrate some of these strategies.
After finishing your teacher preparation program, taking the pertinent certification tests, and completing your student teaching experience, you probably feel like you are ready and able to teach any student who crosses your door frame. Your self-esteem is most likely fully developed and won't hinder your ability to teach. However, most of your students aren't quite at that point in their lives yet.
You will most likely have several students in your classes who are shy and unwilling to put themselves in the spotlight. These students may not believe that what they have to say to the class is good enough. Affective education seeks to help these kinds of students by developing their self-esteem. By presenting your students with different ways to learn and solve problems, these shy students will often come out of their shell.
For example, if you are teaching a lesson on women's suffrage, there are several ways in which you can seek to include all students in the activities. By giving students the option to complete work in different ways, such as allowing outgoing students to put on a skit about suffragettes while more reserved students draw or create posters that resemble those from the time period, you will begin to see all students succeeding in their own way. By allowing students to choose assignments that make them feel most comfortable, the shy students may become more willing to share their work with others because they are proud of it. This can go a long way towards developing students' self-esteem.
Group work is often a favorite tool teachers use to get students involved and working together. However, simply throwing students into groups and expecting them all to contribute will often produce mediocre results. In order for group work to effectively help your students develop good social skills and the abilities needed to work well with other people, you will need to work closely with them. In doing so, you can ensure that each student has a defined role in the group and is contributing to the work.
An example of effective group work that also develops students' ability to work with others would be an activity in which students need to produce a presentation to give to the class. At first, students may be reluctant to volunteer for certain jobs. With your help, the group can delegate tasks, ensuring that each student is contributing in a way that he or she feels strongly about.
Eventually, the goal is that students will be able to work in groups effectively without as much oversight from you, the teacher. If you spend time focusing on their affective education and ability to work together effectively, they should be able to delegate tasks on their own with each member contributing.
Preferred Learning Style
Much like you have a preferred way of teaching, your students have preferred ways of learning. It's important to keep this in mind when teaching, as students often learn best in their preferred learning styles.
Affective education also focuses on helping students develop their own preferred ways of learning. Each student you encounter will have different skill sets and learning preferences. Initially, they may not be aware of what these are. Affective education seeks to help students develop these preferences and learn what they are.
You may encounter students who are more visual learners, which means they learn best through imagery rather than reading text. Other students may prefer activities that task them with working together, while still others may learn best when left to their own devices. By giving your students several options for completing assignments or learning, you can help them explore their preferred learning styles.
For example, an assignment that involves researching cell structure can be completed in several ways. Students who learn better through reading and writing can write a description of the cell structure, while students who prefer visual imagery can draw a picture or make a 3D model. Providing students with multiple avenues to learn will help them develop their own interests and preferences.
Affective education is concerned with helping students develop aspects of their personality that traditional education does not. Implementing an affective education program involves developing your students' self-esteem, improving their ability to work effectively with other people, and helping them discover their own interests and preferences for learning. By applying some of the examples above and creating your own methods, you can incorporate affective education into your classroom.