One of the questions that I’m frequently asked is: How can humane education –- which explores the interconnected issues of human rights, animal protection, environmental preservation, and culture, providing students with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to become solutionaries for a better world –- be added to an already overburdened curricula? There is so much students must already learn, people say, and we have not even succeeded in providing them all with the basics of verbal, mathematical, technological and scientific literacy.
My answer has been twofold. First, I believe that learning how to become solutionaries for a better world should be the highest goal for education, and thus we should allocate time for this through courses, clubs, and teams in school. And I’ve also suggested that humane education can infuse all subjects, creating relevancy and meaning no matter what basics we’re acquiring. While I believe integrating humane education into various disciplines can be done, it’s true that there are some topics that lend themselves more easily to humane education than others. There are also subjects that demand a great deal of basic knowledge and skill prior to understanding how they can be used toward solutions to global problems.
Having just watched the TED talk of Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, I find myself so excited to imagine a new way of learning, studying, and gaining knowledge and skills that enables people to master both basic and advanced knowledge in subject areas more quickly and efficiently than is likely to be achieved in our typical classrooms, that I now see a third way in which humane education can infuse our schools. If students (of all ages and in any setting) were to learn subjects through Khan Academy’s videos and practice software (subjects that are expanding all the time on Khan Academy’s website), the time left to collaborate, work with teachers, problem-solve for a better world, and become informed changemakers would grow substantially.
I am so excited by Khan Academy and its potential to revolutionize how we learn.
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk