Engaging Students to Learn Through the Affective Domain: A new Framework for Teaching in the Geosciences

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Articles and Special Issues
van der Hoeven Kraft, K. J., Srogi, L., Husman, J., Semken, S., & Fuhrman, M. (2011). Engaging Students to Learn Through the Affective Domain: A new Framework for Teaching in the Geosciences. Journal of Geoscience Education, 59(2), 71-84.
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To motivate student learning, the affective domain—emotion, attitude, and motivation—must be engaged. We propose a model that is specific to the geosciences with theoretical components of motivation and emotion from the field of educational psychology, and a term we are proposing, “connections with Earth” based on research in the fields of environmental education and art education. When all three of these components (motivation, emotion, and connections with Earth) are combined in the classroom, students may experience greater interest in and connection to the content. This in- terest and connection may lead to greater motivation to learn and value the content. We use our model to evaluate three practices in geoscience education and show that their demonstrated success in achieving student learning lies in the attention to students’ affective needs as well as to delivery of content. We propose a future research agenda using currently developed, validated instruments that can measure these motivational and attitudinal shifts to determine what practices work best for our students from both cognitive and affective perspectives. Although this was conducted in both Europe and the United States, the implications of this research may extend across cultures and nationalities. Additional research needs to be conducted to understand these implications.

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