Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Sarah M. Ginsberg
The term humanistic education has been interpreted by various educators and philosophers over many centuries. Though specific definitions vary widely, several characteristics are commonly agreed upon. Education that is humanistic in nature cultivates the individuals for their own and society's good, promotes respect for human dignity, and seeks to help learners attain the highest goals possible. The roots of humanistic education can be traced to Plato, whose educational principles included improving human beings' self-awareness and nurturing the expansion of knowledge and critical thinking abilities. By providing these learning opportunities, Plato believed students would become lifelong learners, allowing them to able to live and learn to their full potential, as well as to contribute to a strong and cultured society. This became a theme that appeared in many forms as humanistic education evolved over the centuries. During the Renaissance period, humanistic educators attempted to cultivate ...