By Kim Korona, Coalition Board Member
HEART has worked with educators in Italy, China, and the Galapagos Islands who were all interested in bringing HEART’s programs to the youth with whom they work. Even though a program’s content might need some modifications to be culturally relevant, at its core, humane education is relevant to everyone.
Comprehensive humane education is about promoting empathy and compassion, critical thinking, and creating solutions to build a more just and sustainable world for all. No matter where someone lives, those are universally valuable skills, and humane education is the tool anyone can utilize to teach them.
Humane education is a growing movement, and it is spreading globally because more and more people believe that, in addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, education is about teaching youth what it means to live according to our most humane values.
Humane education is not only growing, though. It is bringing our global community together. Most recently, we connected with Marien Yolanda Correa Corredor, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, who cares deeply about animals and wants to help educate young people on animal protection issues. She was excited about the lessons we created in our Animal Resource Guide and believed our guide would be the tool she needed to bring humane education to high school students in her community.
With Marien’s help coordinating trainings, we were able to provide a three-day program for students and faculty at the university to discuss the concept of humane education, demonstrate five lessons, and provide opportunities to practice humane classroom communication strategies. The lessons covered topics relating to companion animal homelessness, puppy mills, analyzing when animal use becomes animal abuse, and strategies for creating change.
While the lessons needed to be translated into Spanish, the message within the lessons remained the same. We also encouraged participants to make any modifications they felt were necessary to make the lessons appropriate for their community because culturally sensitive alterations do not change the heart of humane education programs - compassion is an educational message that is pertinent to all youth.
When these university students pilot what they’ve learned at local high schools early next year, the universal message of humane education, which is to promote care and consideration for all living beings and the planet, will reach even more young people.
If you are interested in sharing humane education with your own children or students, you can start today by downloading our free resource guide. Together, we can discover what it means, for each of us, to put humane values into action for a kinder, more sustainable world.
About the Author: Kim Korona serves on the board of the Humane Education Coalition. She earned her M.Ed from Cambridge College in affiliation with the Institute for Humane Education, and has worked in the humane education field for over 12 years, first with the Michigan Humane Society, and currently with HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers). She has taught K - 12 youth directly, developed summer camp programs, co-created humane education curriculum, and facilitated numerous professional development workshops for educators and social justice advocates.
This article originally appeared in HEART's Blog.
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