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In its most general sense, humane education refers to all those activities designed to encourage children to “be kind.” Its goal is to help children develop empathy and compassion for other people and animals, respect for the environment, and the ability to make decisions based on the welfare of others as well as themselves.
Fostering in children compassion toward animals is important for the well-being of both animals and children.
Furthermore, the link between cruelty to animals and violence toward people has been well established. There is now overwhelming evidence that cruelty to animals is a symptom of deep psychological problems. It’s a clear indicator of a potential for violence and abuse toward people as well. In children and adolescents, a pattern of recurrent cruelty to animals is a predictor of later aggression toward people.
Everything. The research supports the need for humane education and suggests what its content should be. You know your students and influence them on a daily basis.
Properly conceived and executed, humane education programs improve the treatment of both animals and people. Humane education not only provides knowledge about animals and their care but develops empathy, respect, sensitivity, responsibility, self control and self-esteem. Including humane education as part of the regular school curriculum ensures that all children learn appropriate behaviours, not just those fortunate enough to come from stable, caring home environments.
Dr. David Selby is a professor at the International Institute for Global Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, at the University of Toronto. His book Earthkind: A Teacher’s Handbook on Humane Education (Trentham, 1995) belongs in every school’s professional library. According to Dr. Selby, there are basically four goals of humane education.
We have tried to list some of the very best humane education links here.
If there are other websites that you find particularly useful and you would like to share them with other educators, by all means contact us and let us know. We would be very happy to post them here!Print this page