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Projects on Learning Engagements in Affective Science Education (PLEASE)
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Paper presented at the 3rd Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, Singapore, 1 - 3 June 2009
Whenever Bloom’s Taxonomy is taught in pre-service teacher training courses,
trainee teachers are introduced to a comprehensive spread of learning objectives. They are encouraged to deliver these objectives to their future students. If we, as experienced teachers, are to pause and think about how much time and effort we have put into meeting these objectives in our teaching career, it will come as no surprise that objectives in the affective domain are often overlooked or considered poor, distant cousins of those in the cognitive and psychomotor domains. Although the focus now is still on academic excellence, voices supporting a more balanced approach to educating our future generations are growing louder. It is time to seriously think about lifting the profile of the affective domain. This paper introduces a research-practice initiative on infusing affective education in Singapore science classrooms. It proposes to work on translating recommendations from research and practices in affective education into science lessons in both primary and secondary schools while keeping the focus on the cognitive and psychomotor objectives intact. This three-year long initiative aims (1) to produce curricular materials and engaged learning pedagogy for developing positive learning attitudes, values and skills (including soft skills) among students while meeting learning objectives in the cognitive and psychomotor domains; and, (2) to explore the impact of affective education in preparing students for a career in science and
technology. The approach is to co-ordinate and document short term classroom-based research projects and practice experiences by teachers in schools (hence the term “Projects” in the title). Findings and recommendations from these projects could then be used to build a case for a more structured programme to develop science students into competent Science and Technology professionals who are also compassionate, responsible and resilient citizens of the world.
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