Human Needs

An exciting new unit has been added to the Human Studies Website.

It is designed to give young people an opportunity to think about the essential needs of human beings; those things which help us to survive and lead a “fulfilled life”. It is based on the work of the psychologist, Abraham Maslow. Maslow’s principles are applied to understanding: (a) how well human needs were met in the lives of early Ugandans, represented by the forest dwelling Twa people, (b) how well they are being met in the lives of people living in Uganda now, and (c) what changes the current generation would like to see to better meet the life goals of future Ugandans. Here is the link to it:

Uganda Art and Culture in Living History

Contributed by Juma Siriwayo…

As Ugandans, when we consider Living History, we must also consider the legacy we are handing to future generations in terms of the Arts and Culture.

When we teach Art in our schools we need to go beyond simply painting and drawing and give our students an insight into the role of art in society.

One organisation is working hard to develop an understanding this heritage, and also to promote artistic endeavours, is Kampala Arts Trust:

Their online journal is a very good source for schools on all aspects of Uganda’s and Africa’s  Arts Scene.

They recently published an interesting article on the role of public monuments, starting with an appraisal of the Independence Statue in Kampala.

Please pass this information on to your art teachers and to arts students.

Thoughts on Humanistic Education

Choice and control:
I suggest that the humanist approach should place a great deal of
emphasis on students’ choice and control over the course of their
education. Students should be  encouraged to make choices that range
from day-to-day activities to periodically setting future life goals.
This allows for students to focus on a specific subject of interest
for any amount of time they choose, within reason. Humanistic teachers
should  believe  that it is important for students to be motivated and
engaged in the material they are learning, and this happens when the
topic is something the students need and want to know.

Felt concerns:
Humanistic education should  focus on the felt concerns and interests
of the students intertwining with the intellect. It is believed that
the overall mood and feeling of the students can either hinder or
foster the process of learning.

The whole person:
Humanistic educators should believe that both feelings and knowledge
are important to the learning process. Unlike traditional educators,
humanistic teachers do not separate the cognitive and effective
domains. This aspect also relates to the curriculum in the sense that
lessons and activities provide focus on various aspects of the student
and not just rote memorization through note taking and lecturing.

Self evaluation:
Humanistic educators should believe that grades are irrelevant and
that only self-evaluation is meaningful. Grading encourages students
to work for a grade and not for intrinsic satisfaction. Humanistic
educators disagree with routine testing because they teach students
rote memorization as opposed to meaningful learning . They should also
believe that testing doesn’t provide sufficient educational feedback
to the teacher.

Teacher as a facilitator:
The teacher should be more supportive than critical, more
understanding than judgmental, more genuine than playing a role.
Their job is to foster an engaging environment for the students and
ask inquiry-based questions that promote meaningful learning .

Environment of Learning:
The environment in the  school which focuses their practice on
humanistic education  should  have a very different setting than a
traditional school. It  should consist of both indoor and outdoor
environments with a majority of time being spent outdoors. The indoor
setting may contain a few tables and chairs, bean bags for quiet
reading and relaxation, book shelves, hide-aways, kitchens, lots of
color and art posted on the walls. The outdoor environment is very
engaging for students. You might find tree houses, outdoor kitchens,
sand boxes, play sets, natural materials, sporting activities etc. The
wide range of activities should be offered for students allowing for
free choices of interest.

Other Suggestions
Creativity,more student thinking and interactivity, less violence, and
both teacher and student satisfaction .
Effective teachers being empathetic, caring for or prizing their
students, and being authentic or genuine in their classroom presence.
Best regards
Juma Irumba Siriwayo, Katumba Parents’ Humanist School, Bundibugyo District.

Principles of Humanistic Education

Thank you for the progress in developing the Human Studies website

I should like to add, for us all to consider, the following 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 learning process. Unlike traditional educators,
humanistic teachers do not separate the cognitive and effective

5) Humanistic educators insist that schools need to provide students
with a non threatening environment so that they will feel secure to
learn. Once students feel secure, learning becomes easier and more

The five basic principles of humanistic education can be summarized as follows:
1) Students’ learning should be self-directed.
2) Schools should produce students who want and know how to learn.
3) The only form of meaningful evaluation is self-evaluation.
4) Feelings, as well as knowledge, are important in the learning process.
5) Students learn best in a non threatening environment.

Agnes Katusabe, Headteacher, Star Classic Humanist Nursery School, Bundibugyo District

Trees for Life

Thanks for the Trees for Life document. Its a good one with  lots of helpful information about trees and citing the different types of trees we have in the world. I am happy that you have sighted some examples of indigenous trees here in Uganda as well.
I am sending in a write up about the tree initiatives I currently work on at my schools. Perhaps you can pass it on to other schools, I know they will find it useful. My tree initiatives are ongoing.
In the “Trees for life” document, you can also mention about palm trees that they can provide palm oil, sweeping brooms and the excess oils to provide raw materials to make soap and the residue is used for manure.
All in all, looking forward for contributions from other colleagues.
Best regards,
Bwambale M Robert
School Director
Kasese Humanist School (Rukoki / Muhokya/ Kahendero)
P.O.Box 58  Kasese  –  Uganda

Pandemics: Learning outcomes

It is very important to give children in Humanist Schools a deep understanding pandemics and epidemics.

The challenge is to reduce as much as possible the negative impact
this pandemic will have on learning and schooling and build on this
experience to get back on a path of faster improvement in learning.

As education systems cope with this crisis, we must also be thinking of
how we can recover stronger, with a renewed sense of responsibility of
all actors and with a better understanding and sense of urgency of the
need to close the gap in opportunities and assuring that all children
have the same chances for a quality education.

The good news is that many of the improvements, initiatives, and
investments that our school systems will have to make might have a
positive long-lasting effect.

There is need to prioritise and increase teachers’ digital skills.
Those schools with internet-enabled computers have not been deeply
affected by the lock down. Their students have been accessing lessons
online, especially the top primary, P7 candidates who will be sitting their primary-leaving examination (P.L.E) who have access to learning packages for all subjects.
Best regards
Juma Irumba Siriwayo, Chair of Katumba Parents’ Humanist Primary & Nursery School, Bundibugyo District

Pandemic: First topic for Human Studies website

Thanks for this fine work.

There is widespread teaching here in churches and mosques that covid-19 is god’s punishment for people’s sins. However, the history of epidemics and their scientific cause demystifies such lame thinking. In my lifetime, there was an outbreak of leprosy and tsetse flies in this part of Uganda and the same belief was perpetuated. I think these were bacterial  but nonetheless a topic like the one you have formulated helps to grow the scientific understanding of children as well as equipping them with skills to overcome epidemics.

I think it would be a good idea to add targeted learning outcomes to each topic.

Thanks once again.Regards.

Moses Kamya, Director/Headteacher, Mustard Seed Secondary School, Busota, Kamuli District.