The “affective turn” in the humanities and social sciences has developed some of the most innovative and productive theoretical ideas in recent years, bringing together psychoanalytically informed theories of subjectivity and subjection, theories of the body and embodiment, and political theories and critical analysis. Although there are clearly different approaches in the affective turn that range from psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, (post-)Deleuzian perspectives, theories of the body, and embodiment to affective politics, there is a substantial turn to the intersections of the social, cultural, and political with the psychic and the unconscious. The affective turn, then, marks a shift in thought in critical theory through an exploration of the complex interrelations of discursive practices, the human body, social and cultural forces, and individually experienced but historically situated affects and emotions. Work in this area has become known as “critical emotion studies” or “critical affect studies.” Just as in other disciplinary areas, there has been a huge surge of interest in education concerning the study of affect and emotion. Affect and emotion have appeared and reappeared in educational theory and practice over the past several decades through a variety of theoretical lenses. For psychologists working with theories of cognition, for example, the meaning of these terms is very different compared to that of a sociologist or philosopher using social or political theories of power. In general, psychologists investigate emotional states and their impact on the body and mind/cognition, whereas “affect” is a much broader term denoting modes of influence, movement, intensity, and change. Within these two meanings—a more psychologized notion focused on the “emotions” as these are usually understood and a more wider perspective on “affect” highlighting difference, process, and force—the affective turn in education expands our thinking and research by attempting to enrich our understanding of how teachers and students are moved, what inspires or pains them, how feelings and memories play into teaching and learning. The affective turn, then, is a particular and particularly focused set of ideas well worth considering, especially because it enables power critiques of various kinds. What the affective turn contributes to education and other disciplines is that it draws attention to the entanglement of affects and emotions with everyday life in new ways. More importantly, the affective turn creates important ethical, political, and pedagogical openings in educators’ efforts to make transformative interventions in educational spaces.
Paul A. Schutz, Sharon L. Nichols, and Sofia Bahena
After two decades of research on emotions in education we have come to understand little about the relationship of teachers and their instructional decision-making and students and their motivation and learning. Most of what we know about emotions stems from studies that look specifically at students and their approach to learning tasks as well as teachers and how they grapple with the stress of teaching and the emotional experiences of working with students. However, we know less about how emotions manifest in varying social-historical educational contexts. When it comes to students, we know that emotions can influence students’ adoption of self-regulation strategies and their subsequent learning outcomes. For example, pleasant emotions tend to be related with effective learning strategies, whereas unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and boredom can reduce motivation and academic achievement. Importantly, these relationships are not consistent throughout the literature, and evidence suggests that, in some cases, anxiety can be motivating for some students. When it comes to teachers, there are two types of research areas. First are studies about how teachers handle unpleasant experiences in an effort to better understand teacher burnout. Second are studies that try to understand the role of emotions and pleasant and unpleasant experiences for newer teachers and how they inform emergent professional identities. More research is needed to understand how emotions play out in the classroom so that we can better support teachers and students and create effective intervention programs aimed at reducing the emotional stress of teaching and learning.
Art is a significant source of expression for people with a disability and it also represents them in important ways. The work of artists with a disability can augment viewer’s feelings about them, or, to put this another way, the work of artists with a disability can create social change. Not all of the artwork made by artists with a disability is “about” disability, and this separation between being an artist with a disability who makes art, and making artwork examining disability, is often a crucial distinction to make for those involved in the development of disability arts as a social movement. In light of this distinction, art of all kinds can provide us with powerful knowledge about disability, while also facilitating an important professional career trajectory. When art is made by an artist with a disability, and is about disability-related issues, the work created is usually called disability arts. When the work is made by someone with a disability but is not about disability, it may not necessarily be considered disability arts. This collection of work that is less concerned with identity politics is important, and is also worthy of independent consideration.
Barbara S. Stengel
Sex/gender and affect/emotion mutually implicate one another in any theory, research, or practice with respect to education. It is important to examine these two elements together because the emergent focus on affect since the early 1970s is not an accident of thought but tracks the interest in sex/gender as an object of study and tracks as well the increased and increasing visibility of scholars who are not male, cisgendered, and heterosexual. Two overlapping but distinguishable approaches to the study of affect and emotion—affect theory and the feminist politics of emotion—have contributed to changing conceptions of sexuality and gender with respect to educational purposes and pedagogies. Affect theory begins and ends in lived experience; a feminist politics of emotion begins and ends in the press for active response that accompanies that lived experience. Nonetheless, there is a common concern with how power circulates through feeling and how ways of being and knowing come to be through affective relations and discourses. Moreover, there is a shared commitment to understanding affects not as constraints on rationality and hurdles to ethical action, but as the potential to think, act, and live differently.
Lorin W. Anderson
Benjamin Bloom’s vision of a taxonomy of educational objectives was very ambitious; it could bring order out of chaos, facilitate meaningful descriptions of educational programs and experiences, enable the development of theories and research studies, and improve teacher training in part by “orienting [teachers] to the varied possibilities of education” (emphasis by the author). Since the 1950s, numerous taxonomies have been developed, most in the cognitive domain, but also a few in the affective and psychomotor domains. During these seven decades the relationship between taxonomies of educational objectives and curriculum scholars and curriculum workers has been quite complex and, often, difficult. Claims have been made for both the potential of taxonomies for curriculum development and for the harm that taxonomies, particularly cognitive taxonomies, can do (and, some would say, have done) to curriculum theory and practice.
Paul M. Wright, Barrie Gordon, and Shirley Gray
Physical education as a subject area simultaneously addresses psychomotor, cognitive, and affective learning objectives. Despite the recognized potential of physical education to promote affective learning objectives, these have been ill-defined in the curriculum and often neglected in practice. However, with a growing interest in social and emotional learning across the curriculum, physical education is now expected to better articulate and demonstrate its contributions in this area. While the framework may be new, social and emotional learning competencies (e.g., self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making) can be seamlessly integrated into quality, student-centered physical education. Given the growing policy support and existing best practice for teaching personal and social skills, it seems clear that with continued advocacy and teacher education, social and emotional learning competencies can be integrated into the physical education curriculum in a much more intentional and coherent way.
Arts-based research encompasses a range of research approaches and strategies that utilize one or more of the arts in investigation. Such approaches have evolved from understandings that life and experiences of the world are multifaceted, and that art offers ways of knowing the world that involve sensory perceptions and emotion as well as intellectual responses. Researchers have used arts for various stages of research. It may be to collect or create data, to interpret or analyze it, to present their findings, or some combination of these. Sometimes arts-based research is used to investigate art making or teaching in or through the arts. Sometimes it is used to explore issues in the wider social sciences. The field is a constantly evolving one, and researchers have evolved diverse ways of using the communicative and interpretative tools that processes with the arts allow. These include ways to initially bypass the need for verbal expression, to explore problems in physically embodied as well as discursive ways, to capture and express ambiguities, liminalities, and complexities, to collaborate in the refining of ideas, to transform audience perceptions, and to create surprise and engage audiences emotionally as well as critically. A common feature within the wide range of approaches is that they involve aesthetic responses. The richness of the opportunities created by the use of arts in conducting and/or reporting research brings accompanying challenges. Among these are the political as well as the epistemological expectations placed on research, the need for audiences of research, and perhaps participants in research, to evolve ways of critically assessing the affect of as well as the information in presentations, the need to develop relevant and useful strategies for peer review of the research as well as the art, and the need to evolve ethical awareness that is consistent with the intentions and power of the arts.
Anastasia Efklides and Panayiota Metallidou
Self-regulated learning (SRL) refers to students being responsible for their learning. It involves goal setting as well as regulation of cognition, emotions (affect), motivation, and behavior (e.g., through management of the learning environment). A critical component of SRL is metacognition, whose function is to monitor and control cognitive processing. Metacognition has three facets, namely metacognitive experiences, metacognitive knowledge, and metacognitive control. Each of them contributes in different ways to the regulation of learning. Specifically, metacognitive experiences and metacognitive knowledge serve the monitoring of cognition and provide information necessary for control decisions such as allocation of study time or strategy use. Metacognitive control comprises metacognitive strategies (or skills) such as orientation, planning, checking, and evaluation. It is worth noting, however, that there are interactions between metacognition and affect, so that metacognitive control decisions are based not only on task demands and features of cognitive processing but also on students’ affective experiences and motivation during task processing. Interventions using metacognitive constructs show how metacognition can be applied in the classroom to increase the efficiency of learning. However, it is possible to develop alternative interventions that take advantage of the interactions between metacognition and affect. This gives new directions in the way SRL is promoted in the classroom. Research on metacognition and SRL provides a rich theoretical ground upon which to build classroom interventions. Meta-analytic evidence suggests that SRL can be cultivated in educational contexts already from preschool and primary education. Most of interventions aimed at fostering metacognitive knowledge, strategies, and skills in school settings resulted in significant overall effects on academic performance. The magnitude, though, of the effect sizes in these interventions is moderated by various student, training, and context-related factors. A new direction in the way SRL is promoted in the classroom is to develop interventions that take advantage of the interactions between metacognition and affect. Specifically, applying metacognitive skills on learning-related subjective experiences and emotions to increase self-awareness can facilitate learning. Given that students substantially benefit from direct instruction of SRL skills, future studies should focus on training teachers how to teach them.
Learning strategies comprise the application of overt and covert metacognitive, cognitive, affective/motivational, social, and behavioral/environmental/management learning tools to enhance the successfulness of surface and deep learning, as well as transfer of learning. The most effective learning strategies for the acquisition and manipulation of information combine the limited use of a behavioristic, teacher-directed transmission approach to teaching with a powerful cognitive and constructivist approach where students take control of their own learning and construct meaning of information.