BUILDING AN AFFECTIVE CLASSROOM ASSESSMENT TOOL
Before any attempt is made to interpret what is being seen in the classroom, we certainly need to know what is being seen in the world of affective pedagogy. In one study (Ondrejka, 1998), I developed the Affective Classroom Assessment Tool presented in Appendix 6.1. The tool was constructed from the literature by looking at a range of differentiated affective teaching practices. The tool outlines specific teaching methods, instructor behaviors, and provides space for field notes. My research method was to document the existence of any practice, behavior, or action that the instructor used at least once during a 30-minute interval. The practice, behavior, or action would not be counted a second time if it was repeated during the same 30-minute interval. It was counted again if it occurred in the second 30-minute period or other 30-minute blocks throughout the class, but never more than once in any 30-minute block. The goal was to have a spectrum of affective pedagogy being used in the classroom—not to determine what percentage of any pedagogy was being used during any class.
Because this was a constructivist and an interpretive endeavor, I also included space to note unanticipated behaviors or concepts that appeared to be important in the classroom experience. I sat in three different postbaccalaureate courses where I was told by previous students that these instructors were “very effective” teachers, and they made learning enjoyable. I interpreted these comments to mean that the instructors may be using affective pedagogy. However, I didn't really know if this was true. The assessment tool would help me catalog what was really happening in the classes, even if comparison was not a valid use of these data.
Other methodological issues will be discussed later, as this part of the data collection was only one of four data points for my interpretive study. Table 6.1 provides the major taxonomy domains for building a language of affective pedagogy based on my study. It provides what I used in 1998 in my original classroom investigation and offers a few more categories that I would add today based on my study in writing this text.
The sections that follow provide a detailed look at how we can use the affective taxonomy from Table 6.1 in studying affective teaching in the classroom.
Proxemics and Five Instructional Pedagogies
Based on the work of Davis (1993), the first page of the tool included sections to note information regarding classroom proxemics and if the instructor managed the room or became victim to the setup already in place. Did the instructor move classes outside or have breakout sessions and then bring them back to discuss what they were learning? Did the instructor alter the classroom space to encourage greater interaction with or between students?
Davis presents five instructional pedagogies regarding classroom proxemics, and these are useful to examine in terms of affective teaching. Davis's five instructional pedagogies appeared to have four that would support teaching methods aimed at affective literacy. The first instructional method seemed to be totally cognitive.
Lecturing and explaining is an instructional method seen in traditional
teaching environments. I can easily imagine it being used exclusively with PowerPoint presentations and being very unidirectional.
Major Taxonomy Domains of Affective Pedagogy
• Instructional pedagogies
• Immediacy theory
• Care theory
• Gestalt practices
• Empathetic interviews
• Role plays
• Interactive dialogue
Additional Major Taxonomy Domains for Affective Pedagogy (2012)
• Critical reflective strategies
• Simulation and debriefing
• Case studies
• Quantum exercises
Source: Ondrejka (1998).
Training and coaching is a teaching method that is more interactive as the instructor is involved in training activities and then coaching the participants in how to use the knowledge. This teaching method can be used as either cognitive or affective, but it is extensively used in nursing in the psychomotor realm of nursing practice, such as a clinical laboratory course. Inquiry and discovery is a teaching method that allows the students to deepen their involvement in the learning process by going into the material and finding out for themselves what really needs to be learned. This creates “ah-ha” moments that are called discovery and can be affective learning experiences identified for oneself. Experience and reflection teaching methods set a high expectation that it will be an affective learning experience. We see simulation, case studies, aesthetic methods, role plays, Gestalt methods, and psychodrama all being powerful experiences that typically use reflection for building internal awareness. Groups and teams are also a way to utilize affective teaching methods, but they can stay cognitive or just be fun without a sense of inner growth. If there is no debriefing or reflective element to this method, groups and teams may never be an affective pedagogy.