Wednesday, June 21

How does Krathwohl’s Affective Taxonomy relate to attitude or worldview change?

It is said that it takes 21 days to form or break a habit. But what does it take to form or break a worldview? Krathwohl’s Taxonomy of the Affective Domain is an extraordinary process outlook on how worldviews and attitudes are changed. This process institutes change by impacting an individual’s assumptions, values, and commitments. The affective taxonomy is powerfully effecting to all worldviews regardless of whether it leads to healthy or destructive attitudes. I believe a fair amount of questioning is good at every stage to be sure that one is not adopting a destructive or false worldview.

From the time of birth our minds begin to develop our worldviews. Our initial worldviews are shaped by the assumptions about the world we make throughout life. These views are heavily impacted by your environment and experiences. What you are told by what you deem a reliable source, your personal experiences, and your observations of how your community operates all help form your views about the world. Some of these assumptions will be truthful and others will be false. Holding false assumptions can be destructive to how an individual perceives and participates in the world. For example, foster children often develop the view that they cannot trust adults because that is what their experience with their parents led them to assume. Even when these children are placed in wonderful foster or adoptive homes with very caring and providing adults, the foster children will frequently still resort to stealing, sneaking, and cheating the adults in their lives. These children are still operating on the false assumption that all adults cannot be trusted. Krathwohl’s Affective Process works by changing these attitudes. A foster child is told countless times that they are safe now and are promised the love and care they may not have received before. They receive this information, and as with every change of assumption, a stage of questioning and testing begins for the individual to determine whether their old or their new assumption is the true one. The testing stage could be identified as part of the responding stage of the Affective Taxonomy Process. These first two stages surround assumptions and knowledge. It is vital to test all new knowledge before accepting it as truth and thus beginning to change one’s worldview.

A person’s value system is comprised of the assumptions and views a person holds most important to their lives. Examples would be the assumption that honesty is the best policy and that one should treat others how they would like to be treated. Your values impact your participation in the world. Returning to our case scenario, it is often found that the values of foster children are mostly self-centered. Their value systems tilt this way based on the assumption that they can only depend upon themselves. Krathwohl’s valuing stage of the process is when commitment or involvement occurs. Perhaps, the foster child may stop stealing food in the faith that they will not go without their next meal. Their habits change to incorporate trusting their caregivers. This trial run of trust is part of valuing their change in worldview.

Our commitments and allegiances involve much investment to which it is wise to be sure our investments are secure. A secure foundation has been proven at this point in the process as the new assumption has been received, responded to with questioning and testing, and then given a trial run through valuing. In the Affective Taxonomy’s next stage of organizing, the assumption is given a long-term commitment. A foster child may step out of the safety of their self-centered world to invest love and commitment to others. They may feel safe forming attachments to caregivers and others tested and proven stable and reliable. They may conform to being part of a family or a community and begin to seek the good of the whole rather than just what is good for them. Giving love and investing emotion is the greatest currency of commitment a foster child has to offer. Through this process, the child reverses their original assumption that all adults cannot be trusted. Their new assumption is that some adults can be trusted and relied on. This stage in Krathwohl’s process is called characterizing. Their identity in the world changes to incorporate the belief. They assume the identity of family member, neighbor, and global citizen rather than solo entity.

Taking much more than the 21 days to form or break a habit, a worldview takes an extreme growing process. Krathwohl outlined this process in this Affective Taxonomy as receiving, responding, valuing, organizing and characterizing. This process starts by affecting an individual’s assumptions, then their values, followed lastly by their commitments. As shown with our scenario of the foster child, not all assumptions, values, and commitments are healthy. Worldviews should be questioned and put to test when possible to be sure they are worthy of belief and commitment. Unhealthy worldviews can damage not only one’s self, but also their environment, and the worldviews of others around them. No one person should assume that their set of assumptions is exempt from falsity. We should never be closed minded to the idea that we may be wrong in our views. Not everything we know, hear, read or see will be truth. It is a lifelong process to test our assumptions, and as a result, our worldviews are ever changing and always taking new shape. It is our responsibility to strive to turn assumptions into facts by way of seeking Truth.


Blogger Lisa said...

I tried to leave a comment earlier, but experienced some difficulties with the server.

As a former foster child and current child advocate, I would say that for adopted children, yes, reassurance can be offered.

However, if the child is still in foster care, that placement is temporary and tenuous. This causes them to focus on self in order to survive.

Foster children can and often do bond with the families that they are placed with - however, you must realize that these bonds can be broken quite easily.

So, before questioning their worldview, please examine their situation. False hope is, by nature, false. Their suspicions might be correct.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Hi Liz,
I like what you said about Krawthol's affective taxonomy. I am a Professor of Education and would like to use what you said as an example of application of the taxonomy for my students.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Sure John. I'm honored. Go right ahead.

8:26 AM  

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