What is Affective Education?

Parents send their children to school for them to learn varying levels of Math, Science and English. Academic subjects compose what is called cognitive education. Eventually, educators and psychologists realized that teaching students about these subjects alone is not enough for them to appreciate education and perform well in school. Many students can't focus on their studies because they were troubled by school bullying and problems at home. While some may be tagged as brilliant, they might still be flunking their classes because of lack of discipline. Problems like these led to the birth of affective education. So, what is affective education?

Affective education is concerned with the beliefs, feelings and attitudes of students. Proponents of affective education believe that academic teaching should go hand in hand with personal and social education. For a student to perform well, he has to have a sound mind and sound environment. There are many ways by which affective education can be done in a school. One might understand it in the light of three levels-- individual, group and institution. Following these levels, what is affective education?

At the Individual level, educators must direct their focus on the individual development of students. Recently, movements seeking to uplift teens with low self-esteem, like Love is Louder, have been established in response to the numerous troubles kids face today.

Shyness might hinder students from participating actively in recitations and making friends with their classmates. Some turn into bullies and others get bullied. Hence, at this level, a teacher seeks to promote emotional literacy and self-esteem. A teacher does this by teaching students different ways on how to approach their studies and discussing possible career tracks they can take.

When students have goals and are encouraged to achieve them, they will feel better about themselves, and when they do, their school performance also becomes better. They will also have better relationships with other students. Also, when students have enough self-esteem, they will be able to withstand possible bad influences of peer pressure.

At the Group level, focus is given to the interpersonal relationships among students. Interpersonal intelligence must be fostered in the school environment, because social skills are necessary for a person to function well in life. With affective education in mind, teachers make students participate in group activities so they will learn to respect other people's interests and make friends.

At the group level, a sense of belongingness is cultivated through peer relations. This level also targets to eliminate social awkwardness and antagonistic behaviour toward others. Once a student has healthy relationships with others, he is then equipped to deal well with the rest of the school community. Through his sense of belongingness, he won't resent or fear his school environment and maybe even look to his teachers and guidance counsellors for personal advice.

So, in the school environment, what is affective education? The last level of affective education is the Institution level. It's not enough to cultivate relationships among students in classrooms. The school environment-- the guidance counsellors, principals, faculty and other staff-- must also have an atmosphere of concern toward students. Adequate guidance and support must be available to students at all times.

While students are growing up, they encounter many personal problems that they might think their parents and school mentors won't be receptive to. The guidance staff of a school should at least be open-minded and friendly enough for students to approach them without hesitating. They should be able to listen to problems, like peer pressure to take drugs, teenage pregnancy, self-mutilation and identity crises, and give students the advice and support they need.

At the institution level, students must feel that their school is concerned with their welfare. Seminars and talks about various issues like AIDS, drugs and violence are thus undertaken at this level. Schools must also offer support to those afflicted with mental disorders like ADHD and bipolar disorder.

Affective education is necessary for effective student learning. A student who has no self-esteem issues fosters good group relationships and good group relationships translate to a community of people who are concerned with one another.

Educational Literature on Affective Education

Multiple Intelligence Theory
  1. A Changing Focus in Evaluation: Linking Process and Outline- ERIC Document
  2. A New Alliance: Continuous Quality and Classroom Effectiveness- ERIC Document
  3. Affective and Social Benefits of Small-Scale Schooling- ERIC Document
  4. Assessment of Self-Concept- ERIC Document
  5. Cognitive Learning in the Environment- ERIC Document
  6. Counseling To Enhance Self-Esteem- ERIC Document
  7. Educational Accountability- ERIC Document
  8. Empowering Young Black Males- ERIC Document
  9. Emotional Disturbances- ERIC Document
  10. Enhancing Student Learning: Intellectual, Social, and Emotional Integration- ERIC Document
  11. Fostering Peer Acceptance of Handicapped Students- ERIC Document
  12. Instruction in Awareness of Environmental Issues- ERIC Document
  13. Promoting a Concern for the Environment- ERIC Document
  14. The Changing World of the Elementary School Counselor- ERIC Document
  15. What Is the Effect of Small-Scale Schooling on Student Achievement?- ERIC Document