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ERIC Number: EJ870484
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1744-9642
Rethinking Humane Education
Horsthemke, Kai
Ethics and Education, v4 n2 p201-214 Oct 2009
The increase in violence in South African schools, as elsewhere, has been associated with a general "decline in moral values". There have been three different responses that emphasise the decline in religious teaching at schools, the loss of traditional values like "ubuntu," communalism and the like; and humankind's increasing alienation from nature. In other words, in terms of teaching and learning initiatives, we should turn to religion, community and the common good and nature (the natural environment and nonhuman animals) in order to feel the force of morality and, consequently, to counteract human violence and cruelty. After critically examining these responses, the present article focusses on the third as the most promising, albeit one that is in need of re-conceptualisation. We need to teach not "as if" nature mattered but "that" it matters. Concepts and principles like justice, equality and rights have worked in the past. They have been useful in governing and regulating relations between human individuals. Indeed, it is the recognition of and respect for rights that best exemplifies the transculturality of values. Taking these concepts and principles seriously requires extending and employing them beyond the human realm. This may well be the most reliable way of halting the rapid deterioration of the world. Humane education, insofar as it incorporates guidance in moral reasoning and critical thinking--over and above nurture of appropriate feelings in individuals--and engages both rationality and individual responsibility, consists of transmission as well as in transcendence of our moral and cultural heritage. "Decline in moral values", then, is counteracted by an approach that combines caring with respect for rights, in order to contribute towards erasing what has been called "the ultimate evil", namely human violence and abuse. Environmental education and humane education, so re-conceived, arguably have long-term benefits for both humans and nonhumans. (Contains 10 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa