In HCE, feedback is an integral part of the student’s learning and developmental process. It is vital that the Mentors, Facilitators, Coaches and Tutors not only reflect with the student on their progress but also liaise with each other so as to give the student consistent feedback.

Feedback for students has four essential features.

  1. It exemplifies the idea that students are responsible for their own learning.
  2. It embodies the principle that such learning consists in the student’s holistic development.
  3. It requires that the student understands the relevant standards well. That is to say that the process of providing feedback is one of helping the student understand better what counts as good and better, and why. However, what counts as improvement depends in part on the student’s own goals which are defined in collaboration with the Mentor, and such improvement must be holistic. It cannot be merely academic in the normal sense of the word. It will include the development of character, disposition and other personal qualities.
  4. It is non-judgemental. It ought to be loving, generous and usually gentle because such qualities are fundamental for the student to improve him or herself and his or her learning. Such feedback doesn’t consist in a grade that encourages the student to compare herself to others. It is different from a grade in that what is important is the content of the feedback. It is a set of messages. Furthermore, it encourages the student to improve relative to his or her own past (relative to a set of standards or criteria) rather than to become better than someone else. In this way, it should embody and require critical self-reflection.

It may be helpful to think of such feedback as being addressed at four levels.

(a) There is feedback pertaining to specific projects or tasks. Such task-based feedback should be timely, focusing on giving very practical advice in terms of the strengths of the student’s work, and suggestions with regard to the ways she might improve the quality of her project or task. Some feedback is immediate and can take place during the class conversation or be given in the form of written comments about the student’s work. It is not judgemental and is more informative than a grade, and can help the student improve the quality of her work.

(b) Feedback should be given to the student on her learning processes and approach to learning. This feedback is based on an overview of the student’s learning journey over a period of time, and the ways that he is able to take responsibility and care for her learning experience. The emphasis of such feedback is on enhancing the student’s abilities and approaches to understanding.

Feedback at these two levels will often come from a Project Supervisor, or Tutor.

(c) The young person will receive feedback on her commitment, self-control and confidence. Such feedback is connected to how learning supports the cultivation of personal qualities and caring dispositions and, therefore, will most likely be provided by the Mentor.

(d) The student needs feedback on the overall development of herself as a person. Once again, such advice is often provided by a Mentor who knows the student well, including her interests, priorities and personal trajectories.

Human-Centred Education radically rethinks the aims of education, the nature of learning, and the relationship between individuals in schools. This accessible guide presents a HCE approach to schooling and includes a variety of rich pedagogical examples.

It provides practical suggestions as to how the approach might be adopted as a whole-school initiative, or else woven into particular aspects of existing school life, including the curriculum, classroom culture and feedback for learning. This handbook also illustrates how holistic educational practices, found in some alternative schools, can be introduced fruitfully into the state educational system with step-by-step guidance on how to integrate HCE into teacher training and school governance.

HCE is more than a set of inflexible pedagogical prescriptions or a recipe of lesson plans. It originates from the fundamental values of care, positive relationships and well-being. National education policies tend to ignore deeper educational processes, such as the cultivation of qualities that are central to living meaningfully and well, because they focus on measured, high-stakes academic performance. HCE is an effective antidote to this, and brings to the fore a more human-centred approach without sacrificing academic standards.

Current secondary teachers, members of school management and leadership teams, as well as those currently undertaking teacher training will all benefit from reading this important book.


Book Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781138210837
published: 2017-01-10

Hardback: 9781138210820
published: 2017-01-10

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Could we have a system of secondary education that provides alternatives to the current mainstream schooling and its emphasis on exams, learning outcomes and the delivery of a fixed curriculum? How could such a system focus on both human and educational values? How could secondary education combine the personal development of students with good academic standards? In response to these questions, Gill and Thomson have written a new, cutting-edge text aimed at all those involved in the study of education or teacher training.

Rethinking Secondary Education explores, debates and critiques new and alternative approaches to teaching young people today. The book discusses a ‘human-centred’ approach to curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and the culture of schools and colleges. It is grounded in theory and empirical research, discussing the need for a curriculum for the future, bridging a gap between mainstream and alternative education. It also offers practical guidance on how these ideas can be put into practice, making it an ideal resource for trainee teachers, experienced practitioners and students of education alike. Key features of the text: A balanced approach, comparing and contrasting both traditional and alternative approaches to education Strong grounding in theory and research The inclusion of young people’s perspectives and ‘voices’ on their education and on being an adolescent Links to practice – showing how the theory and research can actually be put into practice to bring about change

At a time when secondary education is so impoverished by the deadly weight of testing and league tables, by performance indicators and targets, it is important to have reasserted the aims of education in terms of personal development, human flourishing and enriching community. ‘Rethinking Secondary Education’ does this admirably. It offers the insights of alternative approaches to education, and does so with a philosophical depth that is rarely seen. This book is a welcome antidote to the impersonal nature of much educational theory and practice. It should be on the reading list of both trainee teachers and those teachers who need to be refreshed in their further professional development.” – Professor Richard Pring, Department of Education, University of Oxford

This is a timely, accessible and engaging book of considerable intellectual stature, bold imagination and practical wisdom. Not only does it develop penetrating, elegant analyses of what is wrong with current state controlled and alternative approaches to contemporary education, it also offers imaginative, practical suggestions for a more fulfilling, human centred alternative.
Professor Michael Fielding, Institute of Education, University of London, UK.

With great sensitivity and force, and in wonderfully clear prose, Scherto Gill and Garrett Thomson explore some fundamental questions about what we want from our education system and what we can expect from it. […] It is highly recommended for all who are interested in education, whether from a more theoretical point of view or from a more practical point of view.
Professor Adrian W. Moore, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, UK.


Book Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781408284780
published: 2012-06-07

Hardback: 9781138145429
published: 2016-08-08