Why Humanistic Teacher Education Still Matters

Aug. 01, 2012

Source: Action in Teacher Education, Volume 34, Issue 3, 2012, pages 204-220.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The debate concerning who teachers are and what they are supposed to do has a long history of deep and enduring differences in perspective about the purpose of schools in our society.
In this article, the authors review literature on humanistic teacher education.
They described humanistic characteristics for today's teachers.
Selected humanistic dispositions, or the action components that rise from humanistic beliefs, are particularly important for today's teachers and current trends in education.


Pedagogies that instill humanistic dispositions may help teachers develop competencies that are effective in addressing these critical personal and social contexts.
The authors group these dispositions and accompanying pedagogies into three categories: individual, relational, and contextual.

In this category, the teachers bring best congruent self into the classroom and Apply self-care and stress management skills.

This category emphasizes that teachers will develop and sustain effective peer relationships. This includes not only relationships with self, students, and their families, but also with other educators.
Furthermore, teachers should increase their skills in problem solving.
Classroom interactions present teachers with hundreds of opportunities each day to respond to various issues and problems that range from physical issues such as interruptions or room temperature to student behavior, and so on to teacher behavior choices.

In addition, teachers and other helpers often work with students and parents who are perceived to be difficult to deal with.
Humanistic teacher education, with an emphasis on a strong sense of self and the appropriate communication and problem-solving skills to address the daily tasks of teaching, as well as conflict resolution, has a place here as well.
Furthermore, teachers should increasing teacher effectiveness through positive relationships with diverse students.

In this category, teachers should move from teacher-directed to student-led classrooms. Educators should emphasize specific communications skills for fostering student-led learning.
Furthermore, educators should create and sustain effective home-school partnerships.


The authors recommend that Schools of Education should hire and retain faculty and staff who can teach and assess the humanistic dispositions of teacher candidates accurately and knowledgeably because of possessing the same skills themselves.
Additionally, programs and graduate degrees for in-service teachers should emphasize the teaching and assessing of humanistic dispositions.

Updated: Mar. 22, 2015