Humanistic Approach to Curriculum

Education is a social process…Education is growth…Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself.           

-John Dewey

I agree with educators when they say that education is the building blocks of society. I believe in an education that believes that all children are capable of learning. My philosophy of education is that every child has the right to receive the best quality of education, regardless of race or social status. Furthermore, curriculum should allow for students to maintain a pride of their heritage and to develop an appreciation for cultural differences. More specifically, my approach is that of a progressive teacher. “A curriculum derived from a humanistic approach considers the whole child, not only the cognitive dimension.” (Ornstein, A. & Hunkins, F., 2013) 

Effective educational curriculum will allow for cooperative learning, independent learning, small-group learning, and social activities (Ornstein, A. & Hunkins, F., 2013). Therefore, activities should encourage group work and classroom discussions, and most importantly, activities should be “based on life experiences” (2013). Teachers need to build on students’ background knowledge and develop more opportunities for authentic learning, since most students learn best when they participate in activities that are perceived to be useful in real-life situations. Additionally, teachers need to show enthusiasm. They need to be able to motivate their students and to provide an environment where the students feel comfortable. If a child does not feel comfortable in their environment, the child might not learn to its fullest potential. Furthermore, teachers should be flexible and adjust based on their students’ interests, abilities, skills, and knowledge. 

A successful curriculum allows teachers to feel some autonomy in the classroom, as well as the students. Teachers should have in input while developing curriculum, since they will be the ones planning and implementing the curriculum in the classroom. I agree with Olivia and Doll (Ornstein, A. & Hunkins, F, 2013), teachers should play a major role in the development of the curriculum. They should be involved in the “planning of specific goals, materials, content, and method” (2013). This means that teachers, administrators and supervisors need to work together in order to create a curriculum that will meet the needs of their students. Furthermore, since the curriculum is based on the needs of the students, teachers should be involved in the planning. I agree with Doll: students should be “consulted at least informally in classroom and school activities since they offer important clues about actions to be taken” (2013). In my classroom we recently finished a unit on recycling; most of the lessons and activities were created by the students’ suggestions and ideas. Since the students chose what they wanted to learn about recycling, that made it more meaningful and authentic. 

Finally, based on the plethora of personalities that walk into our classrooms, teachers need to provide them with a supportive environment that encourages flexibility. I also believe that they should have the skills to effectively teach students from racially-, ethnically- and socioeconomically-diverse backgrounds. Not only are teachers an important factor in the success of our students, but also the community. In order for students to be successful in the classroom, schools need to make sure that they are involving the parents as much as possible, as well as providing the parents with resources that will enable the parents to help their child at home. I strongly believe in education and its importance, and I hope to instill this into my students.


Ornstein, A. & Hunkins, F. (2013). Curriculum: Foundations, Principles, and Issues (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.