What are Human Values?
Human Values cannot be obtained or even measured in a simple text, nor provided by just any company. They cannot be given as a gift by friends or bought in the market. They are in fact an experience to be lived, as a tasty fruit of a natural attitude, which comes from the heart. As a basic concept, these are principles present in us all, but which become repressed by the model of formal education, when in fact the opposite should happen, and they should be developed. They are founded on the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba (November 23, 1926 - April 24, 2011), educator, philosopher and Indian spiritual leader, according to whom “the body and the mind are intimately related, and both are sustained by nutrition. For this reason, food has considerable impact on the character and destiny of the individual. As with food, so with the mind, and as with the mind, so with thoughts; as with the thoughts, so with the act. All that which is perceived by the feelings constitutes nourishment."
What is the Institute’s Mission?
To propagate the ideas of Education in Human Values, which is to establish the character or human excellence as the main objective of teaching in all schools, colleges and universities. To be a center for training of teachers and educators. To study and continually develop techniques, methodology, course content and class plans for teaching children. To disseminate transforming practices of conviviality in businesses and government bodies, having as a basis the philosophy of harmonious coexistence, which characterizes EHV.
What does education mean?
"Education is not merely knowledge, it is action. It signifies the practice of human values in daily life, and not just the words Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-Violence. Perfect harmony is needed between thought, word and action. There must be unity between the heart, the head and the hands: these are the true Human Values”. Starting with this premise, the course in Education in Human Values proposes to work with all participants in the schools – teachers, students and even family members – using defining values. Five essential words that transcend theory and gain true application, and prove their fire-power in harmonization of relations. ‘Truth’ becomes always present, ready to attend to conscience. ‘Righteousness’ becomes visible in all acts practiced. The young start to do unto others as they would like other to do unto them, that is – good. ‘Peace’ fills the minds of the whole school community. Thanks to this, ‘Love’ finds the ideal space to expand within minds and hearts. The final result is that ‘Non- Violence’ is manifested in the renewed conduct of teachers and pupils, in an example of what we can and should be fully, as human beings.
Why bet on EHV?
It has been said that education is ‘for life’ and not just to ‘make a living’. Education is the process of sculpting the human personality – one hopes always for the good, for the better. Never to make man bad, or worse. We believe that all individuals should become masters of themselves, and king of their environment. Unfortunately, nowadays this is not happening. We see complete chaos and disintegration of the world. The root of the problem is the constant absence of man’s unity of thought, words and actions. To restore his greatness, education has an important role to fulfill. It is the bank where the nation cashes its check every time it needs talented and honest citizens. However, education today has made man a slave to his feelings, incapable of self-control. Lost in a chaos of thoughts. Thus, the man of today can develop techniques that permit him the illusion of mastering his environment, but he is far from becoming master of himself, because our educational system cares only for the development of the mind and the body, completely ignoring the spirit. We need, therefore, to redirect the goals of education so that man can be seen and shaped as an integrated whole. To minimally understand the world and the other it is necessary, before anything, to profoundly understand yourself.
Yes, it is possible to transform!
To consider that redirecting the aims of education is a task within our reach, bearing in mind the adverse circumstances and the accelerated environment of life today, with its supposed lack of time, could appear a mite utopian. An unattainable target. Some teachers, when presented with EHV, manifest understandable apprehension. But to us, these fears are mistaken, a result of the lack of information or wrong information regarding the Program of Human Values. The overall principle is more than simple: focus attention on the correct educational targets. The teachers just need to change their perspective and correct the view of the act of educating. This done, and the challenge accepted, a new teaching dimension immediately opens up.
Understanding the five key-words
The objective of this program is the comprehension of human personality as a whole. It is fundamental to understand the basic energy of ‘Love’, which is the underlying current in all Human Values. When this energy of ‘Love’ is translated into thoughts, we have the ‘Truth’. ‘Love’ in action takes us to ‘Correct Action’. ‘Love’ as a sentiment gives origin to ‘Peace’. ‘Love’ as comprehension is ‘Non-Violence’. ‘Non-Violence is the expression of combined excellences of all the values of ‘Truth’, ‘Correct Action’ and ‘Peace’. In fact it determines the unity of all existence. The human personality is therefore the manifestation of this unity in thoughts, words and actions.
Wager on true education
Every educator, since time immemorial, has emphasized that true education must lead to the building of the student’s character. In truth, it declares that “the aim of education is character". The word “character" has been defined in various ways, by various specialists, philosophers and educators. In the philosophy of EHV, the character is seen as the “unity of thought, word and action”. There can be no doubt, then, that the end of the educational process must be “the integration of man”. This fact, unfortunately, is being ignored by the planners of teaching systems. The result is a world on the edge of total disintegration. Those who can’t speak to themselves do not communicate well with others. Neither do they collaborate towards a harmonious coexistence.
The strategic role of the teacher
The teacher is the lighthouse that should guide and lead. If he fails in his task of illumination, the rocks will claim many shipwrecks. He must be vigilant and wise so that the tender and free hearts of the children are treated with great care and reverence. A true saying is “As is the teacher, so are the pupils”. When the teacher’s heart is full of good will, altruism and love, the pupils will express these virtues in each of their acts. “When he experiments the energy of love, the teacher feels an enormous internal joy. He awakes and passes to the student the sentiment he is feeling. When he arrives in the classroom, he gives attention, kindness, respect.... Because we are only able to give to another that we have within ourselves”, points out the director of the Institute of Education in Human Values, Gonçalo Medeiros. Teachers are like mothers. A teacher once said to his pupil: "While I’m alive, you will not be without a mother". Parents entrust their children to the teachers in the schools, believing that they are capable and interested in guiding them and teaching them abilities and customs that help them later to resist the sufferings and temptations of the world. The burden on educators is, therefore, very heavy. When a child needs help, it runs to its parents; when the parents need help, they run to the teacher. For this reason he must be more than a father to the child. He must go beyond the mere educational content, meaning the child’s physical, mental and moral health.
The fundamental role of the parents
It is important to first consider their role. Each child is a blank page, on which the parents and teachers must sculpt an image of what it really is, a seed that must be helped to blossom in all its glory. To nourish values of humility and loving service to the next in the minds of the children, the parents perform an extremely important role. They must have faith in the basic truths of life. The must be seen sitting in silence, pardoning others’ lapses, sympathizing with others’ pain and sadness. They should not be seen by the children as anxious, helpless and discontent, suffering and lacking in faith. If the parents are inclined to be excessively indulgent and to give undue liberty, they will be considered as the most responsible for ruining the character of their children. In fact, they should offer examples of honesty, control of feelings and discipline. The knowledge can be taught by the teacher, but discipline, rigorous control of feelings and the behavior of the child must be taught by the parents. Even when the minds are still tender and their hearts immaculate, they must be trained to purify and soften their thoughts, words and actions. Children learn by example. Thus the homes in which they grow up, in fact all homes, must be pure and with vibrations free of hate, envy, greed, spite and hypocrisy. Parents whose behavior and conduct are contrary to what is told and taught to their children, create a storm of doubt, a growing dichotomy in the minds of the children.
Methodology: how to put EHV into practice?
> Integration of HV in the Curriculum It is suggested that all subjects given in class (Languages, Maths, Sciences, Social Studies and others), the values are implicit in the various topics. The teacher is encouraged to try to extract the aspects of values of these subjects, which have something to do with our daily life. In this way, each class will become an EHV class.
> Integration of HV in the Co-curricular work Covers all activities external to the classroom, such as games, debates, drama, and many other co-curricular activities that exist in any school. The basic idea is that all these activities are guided by the values, in such a way that the principles of EHV can be taught in all of them.
> Direct Teaching Techniques EHV recommends the use of five extremely simple but very powerful teaching techniques. They are: sit in silence, citations, sing in groups, tell stories and activities in groups (games of motivation, games of make believe and attitude development tests). These five techniques can be integrated into a regular class and can be used as independent lessons for exclusive classes (once or twice per week) of Education in Human Values. The effectiveness of these actions have been evaluated in thousands of schools all over the world and it has been proven that they produce notable changes in the quality of education and the character of the students. But the basic condition for this success is the commitment and dedication of the teacher.