A school does not automatically become a learning community merely by having an ethos of care. It requires processes whereby leaders, staff members, students, parents and others in the community integrate and live out human-centred values and imbibe a human-centred culture. Redesigning the school involves a systemic approach to transformation, in five core areas:
A. All stakeholders must be unified around a common vision and a shared set of values. The more a school and its members live and embody the values of care and respect, the more such values become the very fabric of the community.
B. Adopting a set of HCE policies, agreed upon by the community as a whole, which will guide practice in the school. These policies must be aligned with the main aim of education as the holistic development of the students.
C. Introducing some elements (curriculum areas) of the HCE curriculum, in accordance with the school’s conditions and situation. These should be introduced in conjunction with HCE pedagogy and evaluative practices.
D. Nurturing a HCE culture, in which there is no fear (e.g. of failure, of authority, of teachers, of punishment, of speaking one’s mind). This is a starting point for the creation of a culture of caring, respect and mutuality.
E. Developing institutional processes to train and support teachers. In doing so, teachers will begin to relish newly defined activities within the HCE curriculum and welcome new opportunities for personal and professional learning.
These steps can take place simultaneously, although we suggest that the first be regarded as a precondition for the other four.
The most important training that the teachers need is in shifting the mindset from conventional subject-based and content-oriented teaching as instructing and delivering, towards teaching as dialogue, collaboration, co-creation and facilitation.
For support with integrating an HCE approach in your school, including teacher training, please do contact us.
HCE in a British Secondary School
We have just come to the close of a three-year HCE pre-pilot in a small SEND setting, within a large secondary academy in the UK. This has involved:
- Facilitated dialogue and reflection with the staff team on the process of becoming a human-centred learning community with shared values.
- The introduction of protected time, every week, for 8 students to participate in the three core curriculum areas (direction/mentoring time, cognitive development time, and emotional exploration time).
- Ongoing teacher training, staff support/mentoring in the process of becoming HCE practitioners.
The programme has had marked positive impacts on students’ attitudes and abilities to engage with learning. Staff report finding participating students more self-aware and confident, more able to think critically and communicate their thinking, and more able to relate to both peers and adults in caring, respectful and meaningful ways.
For more detail see full report.
HCE in a Colombian secondary school
70 students and a team of 8 adults at a secondary school in Colombia have just embarked upon a pilot of the 3 core HCE curriculum areas. Every student will be offered one-on-one mentoring, alongside a programme to support their cognitive development and social/emotional development and exploration.