Making Education Value-Added: Using a Humanity Model to Move Beyond Knowledge
It often seems that American education is designed to be value-free. As such, it is challenging to teach process courses, such as a course on hatred, because the content model does not apply. To move away from the content model in an interdisciplinary course on the Politics and Psychology of Hatred, we utilized a humanity model. This four-step model requires students to move from: (1) recitation = state known facts or opinions to, (2) exploration = state a fact or opinion and analyze its roots to, (3) understand = an awareness of other viewpoints and having an active dialogue over differences and, (4) appreciation = to be fully aware of differences and the importance of and nature of those differences. For our purposes, "understanding" did not mean "accept". It meant to realize the circumstances and motivations that lead to difference and causes the individual to be different in ways that are meaningful. By structuring all assignments using this model, we believe we were able to avoid the pitfall of focusing on content at the expense of process. By using this model, we feel we were able to utilize content as part of the process of learning and not as an end in itself. We believe this allows us to use knowledge courses to promote thinking by students and faculty alike that makes for a more humane society. Indeed, we believe it modelled the conference theme of "The Humanities on a Knowledge Society". Sample assignments, and sample student responses utilizing this model will be discussed as part of this presentation.
Keywords: diversity, tolerance, knowledge, content, value-added learning
Dr. Randall E. Osborne
Associate Professor and Department Chair, Psychology Department College of Liberal Arts, Texas State University-San Marcos
Associate Professor, Political Science Behavioral and Social Science Division, Indiana University-East