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University of Wyoming


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Educational Implications

Five Basic Principles | Implication for Instruction | Student's Role | Teacher's Role

Basic principles of humanistic education:

  1. Students should be able to choose what they want to learn. Humanistic teachers believe that students will be motivated to learn a subject if it's something they need and want to know.
  2. The goal of education should be to foster students' desire to learn and teach them how to learn. Students should be self-motivated in their studies and desire to learn on their own.
  3. Humanistic educators believe that grades are irrelevant and that only self evaluation is meaningful. Grading encourages students to work for a grade and not for personal satisfaction. In addition, humanistic educators are opposed to objective tests because they test a student's ability to memorize and do not provide sufficient educational feedback to the teacher and student.
  4. Humanistic educators believe that both feelings and knowledge are important to the leaming process. Unlike traditional educators, humanistic teachers do not separate the cognitive and affective domains.
  5. Humanistic educators insist that schools need to provide students with a nonthreatening environment so that they will feel secure to learn. Once students feel secure, learning becomes easier and more meaningful.


The five basic principles of humanistic education can be summarized as follows:

  • Students' learning should be self-directed.
  • Schools should produce students who want and know how to learn.
  • The only form of meaningful evaluation is self-evaluation.
  • Feelings, as well as knowledge, are important in the learning process.
  • Students learn best in a nonthreatening environment.

Implication for Instruction

  • Instruction should be intrinsic rather than extrinsic; instructional design should be student centered.
  • Students should learn about their cultural heritage as part of self-discovery and self-esteem.
  • Curriculum should promote experimentation and discovery; open-ended activities. .
  • Curriculum should be designed to solicit students' personal knowledge and experience. This shows they are valuable contributors to a nonthreatening and participatory educational environment.
  • Learned knowledge should be applicable and appropriate to the student's immediate needs, goals, and values.
  • Students should be part of the evaluation process in determining learning's worth to their self-actualization.
  • Instructional design should facilitate learning by discovery.
  • Objectives should be designed so students have to assign value to learned ideals, mores, and concepts.
  • Take into account individual learning styles, needs and interests by designing many optional learning/discovery experiences.
  • Students should have the freedom to select appropriate learning from many available options in the curriculum.
  • Allow students input in instructional objectives.
  • Instruction should facilitate personal growth.


  • The student must take responsibility in initiating learning; the student must value learning.
  • Learners actively choose experiences for learning.
  • Through critical self-reflection, discover the gap between one's real and ideal self.
  • Be truthful about one's own values, attitudes and emotions, and accept their value and worth.
  • Improve one's interpersonal communication skill.
  • Become empathetic for the values, concerns and needs of others.
  • Value the opinions of other members of the group, even when they are oppositional.
  • Discover how to fit one's values and beliefs into a societal role.
  • Be open to differing viewpoints.


  • Be a facilitator and a participating member of the group.
  • Accept and value students as viable members of society.
  • Accept their values and beliefs.
  • Make learning student centered.
  • Guide the student in discovering the gap between the real and the ideal self, facilitate the student in bridging this gap.
  • Maximize individualized instruction.
  • To facilitate independent learning, give students the opportunity to learn on their own ~ promote open-ended leaming and discovery.
  • Promote creativity, insight and initiative.