Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What is Humane Education?

Humane education makes the acquisition of relevant knowledge, skills, and commitment to living ethically, sustainably, and peaceably on this planet the very purpose of education. It does this by infusing the curricula at all levels of education with meaningful information, inspiration, and tools for creating a safe and humane world for all.

Humane education examines the challenges facing our planet, from human oppression and animal exploitation to materialism and ecological degradation. It explores how we might live with compassion and respect for everyone: not just our friends and neighbors, but all people; not just our own dogs and cats, but all animals; not just our own homes, but also the earth itself, our ultimate home.

Humane education helps raise a generation that cares, that realizes that what we do matters, not just to ourselves but also to everyone our lives touch; a generation that understands the connections between both our personal and cultural choices and the fate of other people, other species, and the Earth, and takes responsibility for creating a better world. Humane education achieves these goals by inspiring people to identify the values that will guide them through life and by teaching them the process of embodying these values in the face of complex problems and needs.

The birth of humane education as a national effort dates back to 1915. In that year, “Be Kind to Animals Week” was inspired Dr. William O’Stillman, leader of the American Humane Association. AHA’s primary goals were: visiting local schools to promote the development of humane education and publicizing the good works of the nation’s humane societies.

Quality humane education uses a four-element approach that includes:

• Providing accurate information about the interrelated issues of human rights, environmental preservation, animal protection, and culture.

• Teaching critical thinking so students can discern fact from opinion and resist forms of manipulation, whether from advertising, media, peers, or social norms.

• Inspiring the 3 Rs of reverence, respect, and responsibility so students will have both the passion for, and the commitment to, bringing about positive change.

• Offering choices for both individual decision-making and group problem-solving so that students can become part of a growing effort to develop sustainable, peaceful, and humane systems by which to live.

Bookmark and Share Add to Technorati Favorites

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Dave, for featuring the importance of humane education in helping create a compassionate, just, sustainable world. Humane education is truly a powerful and necessary tool in helping people (especially young people) gain the tools, knowledge and motivation to make choices that do the most good and least harm for all, and learn how best to support and create positive systems, rather than destructive ones.

    We need more humane educators out there. I hope that some of your readers will be inspired to find out more about how they can use their passion and skills to manifest humane education and humane living in their own lives.


    Web Content/Community Manager
    Institute for Humane Education