Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Humane education (HE) is a specialized niche in higher education and adult learning. HE provides a curricular framework positioning environmental ethics, animal protection, human rights, media literacy, culture, and change processes as the nexus for understanding and inspiring social change. Research-derived experiences illuminating how educators conceptualize and implement HE in U.S. schools are absent from the scholarly literature. Facing this gap, practitioners and administrators of HE programs cannot access nor apply research-derived practices to inform instruction. To address this gap, a conceptual framework was advanced weaving together HE teaching experience, Freirean philosophy, hyphenated selves, reflection-in-action, transformative learning, and transformative education to explore and understand what it means to be a practitioner teaching through the lens of HE in U.S. primary, secondary, and post secondary classrooms. A qualitative, multi case study was designed wherein purposeful and maximum variation sampling resulted in the recruitment of 9 practitioners working in Kindergarten to post secondary contexts. Eight practitioners were alumni of HE programming, and 1 practitioner engaged self-study of HE pedagogy. Each bounded system included the HE practitioner, his or her classroom context, and local school community. Interviews, document review, within-case analysis, and cross-case analysis resulted in key themes illuminating the need to design a comprehensive system of field-based learning and ongoing professional support to benefit HE practitioners. A policy recommendation is provided to shape programming, policy development, and resource allocation to improve and sustain HE as a field of study and professional practice.