Brain or Heart – How to Develop High Performing and Achieving Public Education Students

Technology has created a greater opportunity for exploring the impact of the brain. This emphasis on brain development has lead to how to creatively use brain research to improve classroom performance.

However, what about the heart of each student? How much time is developing and nurturing the desire to learn, to experience the unknown, to reach beyond their comfort zone and challenge conventional knowledge?

Over 50 years ago, Dr. Benjamin Bloom with several other educational psychologists developed what is now known as Bloom’s taxonomy. This model suggests that each individual has 3 learning domains:

Cognitive Learning Domain – Knowledge or The Brain
Psychomotor Learning Domain – Physical activity and application of knowledge or the Body
Affective Learning Domain – Feelings/Emotions or The Heart

As an individual who entered the teaching profession later in life (after 25 years in small business management and sales,) my professional training did not train me as to how to effectively teach and reach the affective learning domain. And now 10 years later as I work in urban schools, I still observe very little emphasis on this crucial learning domain.

The question is not whether students know that coming to school is important, during homework on time is necessary, learning to read and comprehend what they read, because they do know these things. What we should be asking is “Do these students want to come to school?” Educators must learn how to redevelop bad attitudes into positive ones.

Recent publication of the U.S. high school drop out rates demonstrate that we are not addressing the needs of our students. The U.S. public education system is the greatest opportunity for all citizens to realize their potential. We must begin to focus on their desires, their attitudes and their beliefs as much as we focus on the knowledge. Then and only then will we begin to see sustainable performance improvement.

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