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Affective education in the primary phase: some comparative perspectives

By Kanella Vasileiou


The aim of this work was to look at the contribution primary education makes to the affective development of students. Using the term 'affective education' to refer to all the planned learning experiences provided for this purpose, a study was conducted across two countries (England and Greece) and four schools (two in each country). This work was needed because affective education is an important yet under-researched feature of primary school life.\ud \ud The study comprised four stages. First, a brief review of the main psychological theories of affect was attempted, in order to contextualise the work as well as show that affective development is intimately connected with personal, social, and moral development, the promotion of which has been on the primary school's agenda for quite some time. This was followed by the examination of a number of publications that consider the impact of emotions on teaching and learning, and argue that it is important for schools to identify and meet the affective needs of their students, and to equip them with the knowledge, understanding, and skills they need in order to effectively manage their emotional experiences. The next stage involved a discussion of the evolution and practice of the most obvious manifestations of affective education in the two focus countries, namely pastoral care and PSE in England, and environmental, health, cultural and inter-cultural education in Greece. Finally, an empirical investigation was mounted, focusing on the affective provision of four primary schools, in order to establish how affective education is conceptualised, delivered, and monitored in the primary phase today.\ud \ud As it was not possible to fit in this thesis a comprehensive account of the area, it was only one aspect, teachers' attitudes towards and practice of the activity, that was explored. The main finding was that the affective provision in the four schools that took part in the study is generally good, and quite a large proportion of it is explicit, planned, and intentional rather than implicit and incidental, and proactive/developmental rather than reactive. Also, despite the differences between the English and Greek education systems and the avenues through which affective education has been developed in each country, striking similarities were found in the affective work these schools do

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