Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Affective Domain

My pal maddog is about to embark on a series of blog posts that have me practically quivering in anticipation.

Go have a read.

The affective domain.
I rarely run into anyone who has any idea what that means, let alone someone who understands how important it is.

Short version:
The cognitive domain is about intellectual, academic thinking. It's about what you know.
The psychomotor domain is about physical skills. It's about what you can do.
The affective domain is about what you FEEL, and how you communicate.

LOTS of places focus on the cognitive domain. Most any college or university, or school at all, puts a huge priority on thinking. And yeah, there's a lot of stuff you need to know in order to provide good patient care.

Some places have some idea how to teach physical skills, but not as many as you might think. I've had classes where they assume telling you how to do something is enough. In order to cultivate physical skills, you have to practice. A lot.

Offhand, I can't think of anywhere that really focuses on the affective domain, that teaches people emotional skills. They might tell you that you need to have empathy- but that's all. They don't teach you how, or give you opportunities to practice. Yet this is the domain that makes such a huge difference in CARING- and after all, isn't that what we're trying to do? Take care of people?

Even more rare is somewhere that will teach TEACHERS how to teach in the affective domain. How do you connect with your students? Without an emotional connection to the material, they aren't likely to retain much. How do you make that happen? How do you evaluate emotional skills?

I'll be keeping an eye on what maddog has to say, and I hope you will, too.

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