AFFECTIVE EDUCATION IN EUROPE

There is little documentation for affective teaching in Europe; the primary resource is information that was collected by Lang, Katz, and Menezes (1998). The work of Lang et al. (1998) presents many expert opinions from a host of countries by senior education leaders from their area of the world. Some language and concepts are very difficult to translate into Western educational thinking, and that discussion will not be delved into, but one example of a European educational concept will be pointed out, as it relates to SEL. Wychowanie in Polish literature means “purposeful activity of some people aiming to cause permanent changes in the other people's personalities through interaction” (Muszynski, 1977 in Lang, Katz, & Menezes, p. 11). Wychowanie is an interesting way to phrase how one might attempt to impact the personality development of another person, or to even have a responsibility to do so through affective education. This is an obvious risk for how one might use affective teaching methods to control a population, and do so with long-lasting results.

Lang (1998) states, “The term 'affective education' is adopted not because of its conceptual power, but because it is the term that made some sense to all the European countries involved in the collaborative work of which this book is one outcome” (p. 12). In addition to creating an understanding of affective education, Lang also clarifies that he uses a three-level model to create additional understanding of what countries are doing. The levels are:

1. Reaction/cure: “Doing something after the problem has arisen . . .” (p. 13)

2. Proaction/prevention: “Doing something before the event by preparing people to cope with anticipated situations . . .” (p. 13)

3. Enhancement: “Positive encouragement of development, not primarily driven by the desirability of prevention, but by the aim of developing the whole person . . .” (p. 13).

The first two levels do not match with previously stated definitions of affective education. However, in keeping with the goals of this text, one can look at which countries are accomplishing affective education within the enhancement level as described by Lang. The descriptions that follow examine accomplishments in Lang's third level regarding enhancement.

Germany

Much of the German educational system looks at the powerful influence of the relationship between the student and the teacher. In addition, Dreesmann (1982) focused on the classroom environment and stressed the need to explore
the ability to measure affective and subjective realities within the classroom. His conclusion was, “The personal relations between the pupils in the class and their teacher as well as pupil interrelations are of great importance for pupils while the teaching subject and its instruction play a secondary role” (p. 98). Similarly, Fess (1998) states, “There can be no doubt therefore that affective objectives are of significance, not only for the well-being of the pupils, but for their academic performance as well” (p. 31). German educators have based their educational foundation on two major themes. The first is that each child is an independent learner and can learn by being exposed to a variety of experiences and knowledge. The second theme is the idea that each child is a holistic being that is more than a vessel to fill with knowledge or facts. Both themes support the idea of social learning and primarily focus on the K–10 grades. These constructs have been the support for child-centered and holistic pedagogy using teaching methods such as team or small-group learner models that started with Germany's Koln–Holweide and Gottingen–Geismar programs as early as 1976. Contrary to what we find regarding social learning in K–10 education in Germany, there is minimal information as to the impact of this social learning on higher education or the students in higher education settings. Vocational and technical schools had a primary focus on skill development for a career and do not have any expectation of creating a relational learning environment. Thus, although there is a great deal of emphasis on social learning for younger students, the entire affective process seems to end with secondary education in Germany.

 
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