Lifelong learning, mindfulness and the affective domain of education

Hyland, Terry (2012) Lifelong learning, mindfulness and the affective domain of education. In: Aspin, D. N., Chapman, J., Evans, K. and Bagnall, R., (eds.) Second International Handbook of Lifelong Learning. Springer International Handbooks of Education (26). Springer, pp. 209-266. ISBN 978-94-007-2359-7

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Although the value of affective domain of education has been re-emphasised in recent years, this so-called 'therapeutic turn' has been criticised by several commentators on post-compulsory and adult learning. A key claim of these critics is that traditional goals of knowledge and understanding have been replaced with personal and social objectives concerned with enhancing and developing confidence and self-esteem in learners. After answering these criticisms, I suggest that there are some educationally justifiable goals underpinning what has been described as a therapeutic turn. Whilst accepting that 'self-esteem' and cognate concepts cannot provide a general end or universal aim of education, the therapeutic function - the affective domain of learning - is more valuable and significant than is generally acknowledged. This claim is justified by an examination of the concept of 'mindfulness' which, it is argued, can be an immensely powerful and valuable notion which is integrally connected with the centrally transformative and developmental nature of learning and educational activity at all levels. The incorporation of mindfulness strategies within adult learning programmes may go some way towards re-connecting the cognitive and affective dimensions of education.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is the authors own version of the chapter which appears in in Part I: History, Theory, and Philosophy, of the Second International Handbook of Lifelong Learning © Springer Press. The original publication is available at
Divisions: School of Education and Psychology > Education
Depositing User: Scott Wilson
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 12:52
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2014 16:24
Identification Number: 10.1007/978-94-007-2360-3

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