BLOOM'S TAXONOMY AND EARLY AFFECTIVE PEDAGOGY IN NURSING
After many years of research, Krathwohl, Bloom, and Masia (1964, 1974, 1999) developed a taxonomy for objectives in education (often called Bloom's Taxonomy). The taxonomy defines the three types of learning as cognitive (mental), psychomotor (physical), and affective (emotional), with the focus of their second book on taxonomy being the affective domain. (A website that may be useful in seeing how Bloom's Taxonomy is being used today is nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html.) Despite significant challenges in its use, Bloom's Taxonomy has been used over the years as an aid in defining affect, understanding what might constitute a continuum of affective development, and to articulate affective development of students. Krathwohl
et al.'s work helps the reader become aware of a possible maturation in terms of depth or integration of affective ideas within a certain context. They suggest five major stages in affective development. These are:
1. Receiving: The student becomes aware and is willing to receive the affective input.
2. Responding: The student begins acquiescing and exhibits a willingness to interact on this level.
3. Valuing: The student accepts and expresses a preference for or a commitment to the topic.
4. Organization: The student conceptualizes values and moves to an organized value system.
5. Characterization by a value complex: The student's conceptualized value complex becomes a way of life.
Overlaying a developmental continuum onto any affective concept makes the definition appear to be more fluid and offers greater challenges, but it also offers the possibility of more insight into any particular affective phenomenon. It suggests that affective learning is a developmental process, and thus, one should not expect the same level of integration to be exhibited by all students or faculty. A developmental affective continuum has significant implications for how various students and faculty perceive, integrate, and evaluate affective pedagogy and learning. However, reliable methods for assessing affective literacy based on this continuum have challenged faculty for years, preventing investigators from using the model to study affective teaching environments.
Challenges in Using Bloom's Taxonomy
In order to utilize the stages defined by Bloom's Taxonomy in affective teaching today, one must understand their weaknesses and their strengths, and be able to connect the original work to current definitions of affective learning. For example, the historic work of Krathwohl et al. (1964, 1974, 1999) mentioned earlier presents five stages of development but leaves several confusing weaknesses for investigators. Krathwohl et al.'s discussion defines receiving as awareness, and lacks any relationship to current affective definitions. These authors state, “Though it is the bottom rung of the affective domain, Awareness is almost a cognitive domain” (p. 99). It is therefore possible that awareness in Bloom's Taxonomy is a cognitive domain. In addition, one can make a case for the cognitive domain as part of several intermediary steps of their second level of integration called responding. Krathwohl et al. called the second intermediary level of responding “satisfaction in responding” (p. 118), and it makes sense to take this to the third stage on the continuum called valuing because this is an affective experience versus leaving it at the responding level, which is primarily described in cognitive terms. This means
two of the five developmental levels in Bloom's Affective Taxonomy are essentially cognitive strategies. Such a theoretical discussion challenges any investigator in the use of Bloom's Affective Taxonomy for affective outcomes and measurement strategies as they were defined. In addition, the stages of valuing, organizing, and the characterization of a value complex have their own challenges that are explained by Krathwohl, Bloom, and Masia's (1999) discussion of their earlier work. These more recent discussions suggest there may be no reason to push for a separation between the affective and cognitive domains, supporting their 1964 third premise for a lack of affective objectives. They state:
This division [cognitive, affective, and psychomotor] was found useful despite the fact that nearly all goals overlap both the cognitive and affective domains if they are stated in all of their aspects. Further, many goals extend to all three domains. The division has served to enforce the isolation of the domains from one another, to make it more difficult to unite all the aspects of a behavior into a single goal statement, and to emphasize cognitive goal aspects at the expense of others, especially the affective. (p. 197)
Krathwohl et al. believe we should let the cognitive and affective run together. They see separation as difficult now that educators are more focused on action outcomes that support cognitive statements regarding the course objectives. If one were to write an objective where the learner should be able to describe . . . and value . . . , there will still be an action outcome attached for the learner. In essence, the originators of the affective taxonomy are losing interest in constructing differentiating taxonomies. As Krathwohl states, “Clearly, this is a problem which will need to be considered by those who attempt the next advance of the Taxonomy” (p. 197).
The work of Freire (1998) also supports the view that cognitive and affective domains of knowing need to be integrated. He states, “We must dare so as never to dichotomize cognitive and emotion” (p. 3) as he supports a teaching style that activates a cultural change for the student. It is apparent that there is, or at least has been, a movement to eliminate the separation between affective and cognitive learning objectives that has little meaning when viewed through a certain lens.
Despite these rejections to a separation, there is value in exploring the cognitive–affective differences, as such an exploration suggests a different focus for teaching with underpinnings behind an instructor's pedagogy used in classrooms and offers a greater level of acceptance for the subjective domain. Therefore, at the outset, the separation will be a learning device, and then we can think about the blended view for future discussions. So, for the sake of building a text that promotes the affective domain of pedagogy and learning, the separation of affective and cognitive domains will continue until it serves us no longer.