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The International Journal of Humane Education (IJHE) is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal. This issue of IJHE includes scholar practitioner articles and an invitational essay on various aspects of humane education in practice and theory.


  1. Letter from the Editor

  2. Editorial Review Board


A Proposal for a Humane Pedagogy

Stephanie Itle-Clark and Erin Comaskey, Academy of Prosocial Learning
​IJHE Volume 1, Issue 1 - 2020

A review of prevalent education movements critical pedagogy and ecopedagogy, demonstrates a lack of a pedagogy that is equally inclusive of human, ecological, and animal literacy within teaching and learning. As such, this inclusive approach has been omitted from educator professional learning, leading to an oft fractured model of practice. Therefore, a signature pedagogy must be adopted to provide the humane education field a compass for sustainability and development. This paper introduces the elements of a humane pedagogy, including recognition of positive and negative power systems, inclusive welfare, and the non-human animal perspective. In addition, suggestions for professional practice and curriculum development are provided. This paper concludes with author recommendations for the future of humane education, specifically through research focused on building and testing theoretical and practical frameworks to guide advancement of humane pedagogy.   ​

A World of Good: A Humane Education Program’s Effects on Lower-Elementary Students’ Environmental Behaviors

William Samuels, City University of New York
​​IJHE Volume 1, Issue 1 - 2020


​Most research on humane education has focused its effects on concern for animals or other people. We instead investigated the effect of a humane education program on self-reported behaviors addressing environmental issues. The program was conducted with urban first graders in four cities in eastern China across an entire academic year; a randomly-chosen subset of children from participating (n = 338) and closely-matched, non-participating schools (n = 293) completed the Children’s Environmental Attitude and Knowledge Scale’s (CHEAKS) Actual Commitment Subscale at both the beginning and end of the academic year. Students who participated in the humane education program showed significantly stronger increases in their total behaviors addressing environmental issues. In addition, program participants also showed significantly changed behaviors concerning four of six specific environmental issues: water, energy, animals, and recycling; behaviors towards pollution and “general” issues did not significantly change. These results support the role humane education can play in helping a global audience change their behaviors about several global issues.

Teaching Process Over Content: Addressing Underlying Psychological Processes and Biases in Learners When Including Non-Human Animals in Education and Social Justice Discourse

Kimberly Spanjol, Iona College
​​IJHE Volume 1, Issue 1 - 2020

It can be difficult for people to see their connection to non-human animals – or for humans to see themselves as animals at all. Research demonstrates that children from a variety of cultures have difficulty accepting that humans are animals even when they are taught this explicitly in school (Carey, 1985). Regardless, humans are of course animals and deeply interconnected with other species. This paper advocates for moving toward a Humane Pedagogy (Itle-Clark & Comaskey, in press) in educational settings that addresses non-human animal issues and our deep interconnection with them. The paper explores why including non-human animal perspectives when educating learners and addressing the intersectionality of social justice is imperative for optimal human, animal, and environmental health and wellbeing. However, inherent psychological processes and biases should be considered when addressing these topics in educational and social justice discourse to maximize student learning, growth, and development. Guidelines for best practices to optimize and support critical thinking, attitudinal shifts, and behavioral change when teaching learners about non-human animal issues in education settings are explored and offered.

Animals and The Humboldtian University, or Why The Research University Needs Epistemic Habitat Restoration

Sean Kelly, University of Texas at San Antonio
​​IJHE Volume 1, Issue 1 - 2020



The research university has had a contentious relationship with animal activists. That is well known. The rise of humanism and the resultant obsession with medical science created a culture in the research university that overtly pits progress against empathy for animals. Moreover, the call for “objectivity” has devalued the role that virtues and emotions play in the search for knowledge. Mistakenly, the attitude of many researchers is that kindness, care, and empathy are incompatible with rigor, considered treatment, and education. While we remain comfortable giving our children “character” education at the lower ranks, the idea that humane education in the academy, in a rich way that extends beyond teaching people how to be humane educators, remains out of bounds.

Though bound to the history of the institution in real and material ways, the university offers the keys to unlock the chains of our past. Though the university claims that it is always in crisis or under attack, new buildings continue to rise, states continue to open new campuses, and the volume of academic scholarship has grown so large that dissemination, even in the Internet age, is less an issue than any one scholar’s ability to consume the available information. The university remains a vibrant, creative fixture in our lives; and one that can effect real change. This change can include how the university thinks about itself, and especially its historical and epistemological structure, in relation to animals. By examining the philosophical roots of the research university in German Idealism, this paper suggests that the course of the institution actually intended a deep-seated anthropomorphism. In recognizing this, it is the responsibility of a critical institution like the university to reexamine its own epistemic biases and blind spots, and in doing so open up a space for new lines of questions, knowledges, and aims.

​State of Humane Education in the United States: 2018-2019

Sarah M. Bexell, Maggie Lantzy, Julia E. Senecal, Anna Buckman, Emilie MacInnis, Hannah Lee, University of Denver
​​IJHE Volume 1, Issue 1 - 2020

This study explored the state of knowledge and practice of humane education in pre-K-12 schools in the United States. Humane education is a pedagogy that takes a systems approach to creating a citizenry able to build a more just, compassionate, and sustainable world for the health and well-being of people, other animals, and the natural environment. Currently, 18 states have mandates that could support the teaching of humane education in their schools, however, each of these states has different guiding language for what humane education is and how it is taught, and no standardized way to train teachers. Through an online survey completed by 829 pre-K-12 formal educators, support staff, and administrators, a baseline understanding of the state of humane education in the 2018-2019 school year was created. It will serve as reference in the future about the status of knowledge and practice of humane education in U.S. formal education settings. Stated barriers to implementation of humane education are discussed. Additionally, findings support a call to the profession of humane education to acquire knowledge and practice skills in trauma-informed teaching.

Conference Proceedings

Conference Proceedings from the International Society for Anthrozoology’s (ISAZ) Special Symposium on Humane Education

Brian Ogle, Beacon College
​​IJHE Volume 1, Issue 1 - 2020

Seven workshops, representing a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, discussed humane education in a special day-long symposium at ISAZ. The presenters explored the contemporary changes in societal expectations regarding the relationship and interactions with the multitude of nonhuman animals with whom we share our lives and how this impacts instruction.

Invitational Essay

The World Becomes What We Teach: Humane Education for a Peaceful, Just, and Healthy World

Zoe Weil, Institute for Humane Education
​​IJHE Volume 1, Issue 1 - 2020

Zoe Weil, co-founder of the Institute for Humane Education, offers a commentary on humane
education experiences she has had with learners, as well as a unit of study and ways it has been
used to help students think critically.

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