• Virtual schools and the affective domain

      Tucker, Kimberly J.
      The intent of this qualitative study was to explore the following research questions: Does online instruction differ from traditional classroom instruction in regard to the development of affective learning? What emphasis is placed on developing a ffective skills in the traditional versus the virtual classroom? What instructional techniques are common or different toward developing affective learning in comparison of the traditional and virtual classroom? What specific types of lessons, activities , and assessments do teachers in each format use to ensure affective learning? What perceptions do teachers in the traditional and virtual classroom have with regard to affective learning and the implications with present and future learning in the affect ive domain through online instruction? Purposeful sampling was utilized to select five traditional classroom teachers and five virtual classroom teachers from Illinois. The state of Illinois was selected because in addition to academic learning standards , the Illinois Department of Education provides specific standards for social and emotional learning (SELS) in all grades. Three themes identified within the data include d : acknowledg ment and valu e of the impact of teacher immediacy on student learning, c ommitment to providing affective learning opportunities within the curriculum, and teacher perceptions about affective learning in online education. The responses showed that teachers in both settings acknowledged that affective learning was highly valued in their instructional program s . Interview analysis showed that teachers in the traditional and virtual settings were aware of the importance of providing affective support and developing affective skills in the classroom. Interview analysis show ed that there were many similarities between traditional and virtual curriculum in the development of instructional methodology to develop affective learning . The perspectives about online v er s us traditional education were sharply divided along the lines of teac her experience within the virtual platform. Traditional teachers did not believe that the virtual teacher or the virtual classroom could provide the necessary supports to build affective learning. Virtual teachers were much more amenable to online learni ng. Their perceptions were based on their described successes in the virtual classroom. They reflected on their efforts to build in affective supports and to implement instructional methodology which they believed were successful in developing their stud ents in terms of the academic and affective domains. Overall, the study showed that virtual schools and virtual teachers do place significant emphasis on affective learning and that their overall pedagogy is similar to that of traditional classrooms and t raditional teachers. Virtual schools have the capacity to impact student affective learning. Research into the impact that virtual schools have on K - 12 students and the affective domain will provide parents with the information needed to place their chil d ren in the best - suited learning environment. It will also provide educators with the data to inform and reform instruction to better meet the needs of all K - 12 learners.