Trinidad and Tobago Humanist Association

tt.humanist :: views :: education

Education and Schools

"Teach philosophy in schools, perhaps from as early as Standard Five but certainly no later than Form Three. The subject must be taught, not to provide answers to students about any of the large questions of existence and life, but to tell them what answers have been offered by the world's great minds and, more importantly, to guide students to seek answers for themselves."

Our view...

We see education as the main device by which Trinidad and Tobago can be transformed for the better. However, the imparting of skills and knowledge will not be sufficient for this task. Educators must also teach young people how to think for themselves. The principles of rationality and the rules of ethical behaviour must inform every subject.

From our Leaflet 285K

"But good ideas are useless unless translated into action and, as in so many other areas of national life, implementation and attitude are our stumbling blocks. It is here that the education system must become the agent of its own change. Indeed, such a change, if effectively implemented, must within one generation lead to significant transformation of the entire society. So the challenge, in the first instance, is not pedagogical but political. It is up to the Education Ministry to implement those key changes which can lead to a transformation in attitude among both educators and their charges."

See: TT Humanist : Forum : Commentary : Education

Global extracts...

"... since the American high school or common school was founded in 1890 the average age of physical maturity has dropped an average of three to four months per decade. Students who entered high school in 1860 were by and large unable to conceive or bear children. Today most students entering high school have this capability"

Teaching Humanities in New Ways - and Teaching New Humanities

Children entering high school are physically adult. They seek adult knowledge and, regardless how their families or schools treat them, they are biologically driven to gain that adult knowledge—primarily about sex but also about such adult concerns as violence, money, knowledge, power, and death. What is the result? The students consume knowledge from popular culture. They buy the knowledge they feel they need and aren't getting in school.

Sources: www.thehumanist.org

"Humanists support the moral education of pupils across the curriculum, both formal and informal, and want an end to the still widespread assumption that morality depends on religious belief."Page Top

Humanists value education that recognises shared human values should be part of Citizenship Education, Personal, Social and Health Education, and Sex and Relationships Education. Schools should develop their pupils' thinking skills through teaching critical thinking and philosophy. They should provide opportunities for non-religious "spiritual development" and for creativity, culture and the arts.

Religion in Schools

Schools are where many people – parents, children and teachers – first encounter religion and religious privilege. The BHA has campaigned and lobbied for many years for the rights and interests of humanists and other non-religious people, for non-religious beliefs to be respected in schools, and for a genuinely inclusive school system where all pupils are educated together, not separately according to the beliefs of their parents.

BHA Education Policy in a Nutshell

The British Humanist Association advocates a genuinely inclusive school system in which all pupils are educated together, not separately according to the beliefs of their parents. We believe that the rights and entitlements of both the religious and the non-religious can be respected within community schools. Our education policies arise out of humanist principles and our concern for the common good and social cohesion, as well as our awareness of the needs of non-religious people and experience of working with members of faith groups. Our objectives, described in more detail below, are:

Sources: www.humanism.org.uk

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