Three domains are commonly accepted in the learning process: cognitive (thinking), affective (feelings and emotions), and psychomotor (physical skills). These domains interact with each other forming the perception of ourselves and our capacities to achieve our goals, directly affecting our behavior in relationship with environmental stimuli. The interrelationship also includes influential interaction between the environment and the domains. These interactions create a battle between what we think, how we feel, and what we are physically capable of, how we perceive and interpret our environment, how we perceive ourselves, and how we behave and react in response. I am entertaining the idea that spirituality is being neglected as a domain in itself and diluted within the cognitive and the affective domain. What if spirituality is, as the other three domains are, a domain in itself? How much or our lives is influenced by spirituality? What if spirituality is neither logic or emotions? What if neglecting spirituality as a domain in itself is like driving a car with three wheels when it should have four?
Spirituality has been linked to every culture since the beginning of time. Many civilizations based their existence on their spiritual practices. Daily living, politics, laws, art, and architecture are some examples. In modern and contemporary society, even though many claim an absolute separation from spiritual principles, it is possible to observe an awakening of spirituality. It is important to understand and differentiate spirituality from ritualistic practices. On one way or another, the influence of spirituality is as strong as the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains in developing a perception of the self and our capabilities, and how we respond to our environment. Therefore, I propose an inclusion of the spiritual domain as an active component of the interactions between the self and the environment, and an influencer in the learning process.
The plan for my paper is to develop a relationship between the elements comprising this idea. I want to define the characteristics of each one of the domains and how, while different from each other, they are interdependent. It is my intention to differentiate between abstract functions and those that are tangible and measurable. This differentiation includes separating environmental stimuli and how they are perceived. Moreover, I want to use these definitions and relationships to develop understanding how these elements, by themselves and in combination, influence behavior and specifically our attitude and aptitudes towards learning. Understanding will lead to practical and theoretical considerations to develop awareness of our own processes, as well as strategies for modification and balancing of the influences of the domains. It is my expectation that through the exploration of this idea of spirituality as the fourth domain can shed insights in addressing people and their learning processes with a holistic approach.