Past Features

April 6, 2009 (Vol. 9, No. 6)

New Book Examines Benefits of Intellectual and Emotional Learning

Christy Folsom
Professor Christy Folsom

Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning
Professor Christy Folsom (Early Childhood and Childhood Education) has developed a new method of teaching that balances the need to teach skills and content with a focus on students' intellectual and social development. Her goal is to enlarge their ability to actually think and to use ethical reasoning to reach conclusions.

Her newly published book, Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL): A Model for Creating Powerful Curriculum, provides a guide for developing curriculum that exceeds today's standards in these areas. It relates the experiences of real teachers who changed their teaching methods to help their students learn more effectively and improve their skills of self-direction and collaboration.

"There is a great lack of ability to think in our world and a great lack of ethical reasoning," said Professor Folsom. "Intellectual and emotional learning refers to the conscious teaching of thinking skills and helping children develop positive social emotional characteristics. We need to prepare our students to understand how to be more self-directed and how to make ethical decisions."

She adds that the TIEL model, which consists of five thinking processes corresponding to qualities of character, uses project work to help educators teach students decision-making, planning, self-evaluation, and cooperation. Professor Folsom believes it can be successfully applied to teaching students whether they happen to be placed in gifted, special, or general education.

In a social studies classroom, for example, students might create a poster that shares information about a geographic location through pictures, maps, and writing. Educators could use this project to help students learn how to make ethical decisions that are fair and respectful to all members of the group, to plan cooperatively, and to work together to evaluate finished projects. Said one third grader, whose class progress is documented in the book, "What happens is you get past your goal like I did yesterday, you feel really proud…you feel as though you've gotten a lot done. And it's amazing!"

A member of the Lehman faculty since 2001, Professor Folsom has a broad background in education that spans all ages, grade levels, and education fields. She began her career teaching the hearing-impaired. After directing her own preschool, she established and taught in gifted programs in Oregon school districts and has also worked as a consultant in education both nationally and internationally.

Professor Folsom received a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University, a master's from Oregon College of Education (now Western Oregon University), and a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University. Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL): A Model for Creating Powerful Curriculum was published earlier this year by Rowman and Littlefield Education and is available on rowmanlittlefield.com, amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and in Barnes & Noble bookstores.