Humanistic Strategies in the Classroom

The humanistic classroom provides a holistic approach to learning by keeping the focus on the child. The student is respected as an individual and is responsible for making decisions about his learning. Humanistic lessons are not rigidly prescribed, but flow according to the needs and inquiries of the student. This open approach helps provide emotional support for the student in a humanistic classroom.

1 Student-Centered Learning

Student-centered learning takes place when the teacher becomes a facilitator, taking the focus from herself as the bearer of knowledge. The student takes on an important role in this type of classroom. Lessons originate and develop from the interests of the student. The child is able to showcase his creativity in this type of open classroom, which increases self-esteem and a willingness to learn.

2 Emotional Support

A humanistic classroom is inclusive of everyone. This type of class seeks to support both individuality and diversity by finding the similarities among children. Lessons are developed not for the group, but for the individual. Diversified lessons give each child a chance to succeed and receive positive reinforcement. Each child knows how it feels to succeed, and stratification of students is eliminated. Each child learns at an individual pace without labels and stereotypes that can stigmatize.

3 Open Seminars

Open seminars provide a chance for the student's voice to be heard. Situating desks in a circle, with the teacher joining the circle, gives everyone an equal voice. There should be rules for the open seminar, such as respect of opinions and giving each person a chance to speak without interruption. The seminar may focus on a question from a student, a piece of literature, a current event or anything the class is studying.

4 Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning lets children work together to find solutions to problems. Each child may have a specific role within the group to make use of his talents. The teacher supervises each group of about three or four students to answer questions and provide support. This type of learning allows the student to learn how to foster peer relationships, an important skill to carry throughout life.

5 Discovery Education

In discovery education, the teacher introduces a concept and gives the student freedom to discover her own path to learning more about the concept. This strategy supports the concept of multiple intelligences and intellectual diversity. Abstract learners may seek books and computers to research the concept. The interpersonal personality may seek out others to question for information on the topic.

Based in North Carolina, Victoria Thompson has taught middle school for the past 15 years. She holds a Masters of Education in middle school instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She teaches English daily to English as a second language students.