By Kim Korona
HEART is thrilled to announce the release of the Humane Education Coalition’s (HEC) Core Components of Humane Education (CCHE). This publication focuses on the process of teaching humane pedagogy to create a more compassionate, equitable, and regenerative world. As a HEC partner and past recipient of HEC’s Excellence in Humane Education Award, HEART had two representatives on the HEC Accreditation Committee, one of whom served as the committee chair, working alongside other HEC partners and advisors to develop these core components.
In order to offer program accreditation, we first needed to convey program expectations, and we recognized that the tool we planned to create would broadly benefit the entire field. We wanted to offer humane education practitioners a guide for best practices in the development, delivery, and assessment of humane education programs. While educators have been designing fantastic humane education programs for decades, practitioners have been looking for consistency in humane education and seeking to strengthen its legitimacy in the education field. In talking with stakeholders, we learned that many people involved in humane education experienced the absence of an agreed-upon understanding of what humane education is and lacked a cohesive approach to teaching humane education. There was an interest in establishing a concrete foundation for our field to grow within the larger education realm.
The Core Components
The core components and objectives we created provide a framework for developing high-quality humane education programs and lesson plans. These five core components are intended to serve as building blocks that practitioners can creatively utilize to generate comprehensive, engaging, inclusive, culturally responsive humane education programs. They are intended to work together as a whole to build a humane learning experience that incorporates key elements needed to support learners.
In our publication, we not only provide details about what each of these core components is, but we also offer specific objectives for how to incorporate each core component into a program. There are several objectives under each core component, and the expectation is not to address every single objective, but to look at each one and think about how it might fit into and enhance a program and support one’s ability to address the main component.
The core components might appear obscure when reading about them in the abstract, so we offer practical strategies that demonstrate what each component’s objectives might look like in practice based on our own teaching experience.
Evaluating the Learning Experience
We also included questions that humane education practitioners can ask themselves to assess how effectively each core component has been addressed in their program. These questions provide an opportunity to reflect on each core component to see how it has or has not been included in one’s program.
Accessing the Core Components
We encourage you to utilize the free CCHE publication in whatever way is of value to you. We hope that this document can support your work as a humane educator and that it can help you spread awareness about what humane education is and the benefits it offers. You can review the entire publication on the Humane Education Coalition’s website. This document is only the first phase; we plan to develop supplemental materials to provide additional context for how to employ the core components in practical ways.
For individuals or organizations who are interested in seeking accreditation, the Academy of Prosocial Learning (APL), HEC’s parent organization, is currently working on that initiative. Once it is complete, APL will oversee the accreditation process and accept submissions based on alignment to the CCHE.
A big thank-you to HEC and all the committee members for giving HEART the opportunity to collaborate on and contribute to this project!