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Humane Education and the Clinton Global Initiative: Directions for K-12 Schooling and Higher Education

Thu, Oct 17, 2013

Distance Learning, Uncategorized

By Dr. Kathleen Tate
Program Director, Teaching at American Public University

I have already blogged here about humane education. See my posts Humane Education: Who, What, and Why? and Humane Education: What’s Your Mission? In this post, I want to examine humane education in relation to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), including the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U).

Humane Education Review

The Institute of Humane Education (IHE) (n.d.) views humane education as a “lens, body of knowledge, and set of tools and strategies for teaching about human rights, animal protection, environmental stewardship, and cultural issues as interconnected and integral dimensions of a just, healthy society” (para. 2). IHE states there are four elements of humane education:

1. Providing accurate information

2. Fostering the 3 Cs (curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking)

3. Instilling the 3 Rs (reverence, respect, and responsibility)

4. Offering positive choices and tools for problem solving

It is time for systemic change. This should start at all levels of education from K-12 schools to universities and extend to include communities and other organizations as well. Children, teens, and adults can all become better informed about issues in their local or global communities and contribute small or large solutions as they become what IHE President and Co-Founder Zoe Weil refers to as solutionaries.

We need society members who solve problems rather than ignore or add to them. Starting in kindergarten or earlier, children should receive opportunities to view curriculum through a larger lens that connects learning to their world. This should continue throughout schooling so that students later become citizens, professional workers, and community members who operate in more thoughtful, humane, and transformative ways in all of their daily contexts.

Clinton Global Initiative

Related, President Bill Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in 2005. CGI convenes global leaders “to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges” (CGI, n.d., para. 2). CGI also brings together leaders through CGI America to address economic recovery and job creation in the United States and, through CGI U established in 2007, to bring together “the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world” (CGI U, n.d.a, para. 1). CGI U hosts annual meetings where students, youth organizations, experts, and celebrities gather to focus on making a difference across CGI U’s five focus areas:

1. Education

2. Environment and Climate Change

3. Peace and Human Rights

4. Poverty Alleviation

5. Public Health

These categories intersect with Tobias’ (2012) reporting of Weil’s vision of every child learning about global issues; underlying problems with agricultural, transportation, energy, and other such systems; sustainability; social justice; animal welfare; and media literacy. CGI U makes sure to point out that their initiative is not just about events, but rather a growing community of young leaders who go beyond discussion to take action steps to address global challenges.

As a prerequisite to attending CGI U meetings, students have to develop Commitments to Action, which, according to CGI U (n.d.b):

translate practical goals into meaningful and measurable results. Commitments are new, specific, and measurable initiatives that address social or environmental challenges on campuses, in communities, or in different parts of the world. Varying in scope and duration, many commitments are the result of new and diverse partnerships between students, universities, nonprofits, and national youth organizations, with members combining efforts to expand the impact of new ideas (para. 1).

According to CGI U, since its inaugural meeting in 2008, more than 4,000 commitments have been made. Examples of commitments include manufacturing wheelchairs for developing countries, establishing campus bike share programs, creating free vision clinics, and developing e-learning applications for mobile phones (CGI U, n.d.a, para. 3). This kind of action serves to intertwine knowledge, issues, solutions, students, and larger collaborations.

Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP)

Humane education and CGI are in alignment with a focus in higher education to shift toward “more global understanding and recognition of competencies” (Lumina Foundation, 2013). To guide this shift, a Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) is currently used by some universities, including the American Public University System.

The DQP (2011) attends to civic learning and purports the need for preparing college students for responsible citizenship through an approach that integrates knowledge, skills, and practice. The idea is to develop global citizens with civic competence, who through exposure to diverse perspectives, “develop their own responses to social, environmental and economic challenges at the local, national, and global levels” (p. 9).

It is becoming increasingly important to develop partnerships with K-12 schools, across universities, and on an international scale (Zhao, 2010). Simply, in “the age of globalization, considerations related to global competence, awareness, and community can no longer be ignored” (Tate, 2011, p. 301). Humane education is one paradigm for these needed shifts in curriculum and experiences across K-12 schools and universities.

References

Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). (n.d.). About us. Retrieved from
http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org/aboutus/

Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). (n.d.a). About us. Retrieved from
http://www.cgiu.org/about/

Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). (n.d.b). Commitments. Retrieved from
http://www.cgiu.org/commitments/

Institute for Humane Education (IHE). (n.d.). What is humane education? Retrieved from
http://humaneeducation.org/become-a-humane-educator/what-is-humane-education/

Lumina Foundation. (2011). The degree qualifications profile. Retrieved from
http://degreeprofile.org/advantage/publication/The_Degree_Qualifications_Profile.pdf

Lumina Foundation. (2013). Quality education in a global context: What we are all learning about learning. Retrieved from http://www.luminafoundation.org/about_us/president/speeches/2013-03-11.html

Tate, K. J. (2011). Integrating humane education into teacher education: Meeting our civic and social responsibilities. Teacher Education & Practice, 24(3), 301-315.

Tate, K. J. (2012, November 1). Humane education: What’s your mission? [Blog article].
Retrieved from http://edutrendsonline.com/humane-education-whats-your-mission/

Tate, K. J. (2012, April 25). Humane education: Who, what, and why? [Blog article].
Retrieved from http://edutrendsonline.com/humane-education-who-what-and-why/

Tobias, M.C. (2012). The heart of education: A discussion with Zoe Weil. Forbes.com. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltobias/2012/04/25/the-heart-of-education-a-discussion-withzoe-weil/

Zhao, Y. (2010). Preparing globally competent teachers: A new imperative for teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(5), 422-431.

 

Resources

CGI U 2013 Event Webcasts http://www.cgiu.org/multimedia/webcasts/2013/

Institute of Humane Education President Zoe Weil’s Tedx Talks on Humane Education and Becoming a Solutionary http://humaneeducation.org/blog/2012/06/05/the-world-becomes-what-you-teach-2/

About the Author:
Dr. Tate holds a Ph.D. in Elementary Education, M.Ed. in Special Education, and B.A. in Soviet & East European Studies. She has been with APUS since July, 2011, and is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Teaching. She has over 16 years of experience as an elementary special education teacher and professor at both brick and mortar and online universities.

 

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