Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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  Workshop 6: Civic Engagement  
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Workshop 6

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Teacher Perspectives: Affective domain

Bill Mittlefehldt: The affective domain is not just what you know, it’s how you use it and how you’re motivated and induced to actually show your talents and demonstrate your civic concern. I’ve taught government, which tends to be a ninth-grade class in this neck of the woods, and the stuff that kids get that’s cognitive, that’s not tied to affective, deeper levels of motivation, will drop off their monitors after they’re out of school for a while. When you pair it up with something they’ve been invited to display, demonstrate, care, create--that’s where you build bigger circuitry in their neural networks, as if their brains and the way their psyches work mattered to their community. We think the brainpower they demonstrate is an extraordinary resource available in every American community. If they’ve initiated that, they may trigger what’s called autonomous learning, where they think they’re in control and they can be more responsible. They can be better stewards, and they can be more active citizens. That’s what we’re after. I don’t think you can get to the best part of the human nervous system, certainly not in adolescent Americans, unless you give them the respect of pausing and waiting for them to initiate a response.


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