Affective Education: Effective?
by Trevor Hopkins on Friday, April 25th, 2014
Milton’s four-year Affective Education curriculum—consisting of Health, Values, Social Awareness, and Senior Transitions—is looked upon favorably by many independent schools. For some reason, students at Milton consider these classes a chore rather than a privilege. This negative feedback perhaps lies in the faultiness of Values and Social Awareness classes, which do not garner as many favorable responses as classes like Freshman Health and Senior Transitions. Although Values and Social Awareness both cover important topics, they can be vastly improved to make the classes more enjoyable for students.
Most students tend to agree that Values and Social Awareness cover very similar topics. Although their approaches are different–Social Awareness makes an effort to inform students on social issues while Values challenges students to consider our own opinions on these problems–these two classes discuss the same topics. Undoubtedly, these issues are pertinent year after year and these classes often bring about healthy discussion; however, their evident similarities cause the two classes to seem redundant.
The repetitive nature of the Affective Education curriculum leads to disinterest among students. What was once fresh and interesting for students becomes monotonous. As these classes rely heavily on class participation, in-class discussions begin to fall below the desired mark. Gradually, students begin to miss the messages that these courses try to pass.
Both Values and Social Awareness are extremely important classes, but unnecessarily similar. Milton should allow students to choose which class they would like to attend, instead of having kids take two years of the class. Thus, all students would have the opportunity to discuss important social issues with their classmates, without growing tired of the discussion topics. In addition, students should be grouped into classes based on their interests, whether that be racial, gender, or classism issues. As a result, students would be more energetic and productive, while actually engaging in class discussion instead of waiting idly for time to pass.
Currently, the large overlap between Social Awareness and Values leads to disinterest among the student body. While the lessons taught by each class are vital, the combination of two years of the same, redundant information is too much for some students. If Milton required only one year of either Values or Social Awareness classes and grouped classes together based on specific interests, students would receive a more effective Affective Education.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=6029