The Humanisation of Higher Education: It is easy if you try

Authors: Devis-Rozental

Start date: 29 June 2017

Background We experience the world with our feelings and emotions and this in turn affects our social interactions and social understanding of the world. However, in a higher education environment where more value is placed to scoring systems and outcomes (NSS scores, TEF, REF for example), it may be difficult for students and staff not to feel objectified, isolated or dislocated.

Aim Explore how Todres et al. (2009)’s humanisation framework can be applied to Higher education to develop a more humanised teaching and learning experience.

Key points Findings from a qualitative doctoral study with ten students and four academics exploring ways to improve provision to support students to develop their socio-emotional intelligence in higher education highlighted the need for academics to encourage, support and engage students in a way that is caring, nurturing and compassionate. Consequently I propose the integration of Todres et al. (2009)’s humanisation framework. This framework consists of eight dimensions for humanization and dehumanization within the context of caring professions. I argue that these dimensions can be applied to the context of teaching and learning in higher education, as it is clear that there is a need to do so, especially in the current climate. Using examples from my practice and research findings I will explore these dimensions accounting for an embodied relational understanding, enabling us to practice with our “head, hand and heart”. This would go towards developing practice and instigating a conscious effort to go towards the humanisation of higher education.

Conclusion: Applying Todres et al. (2009)’s humanisation framework to HE practice will support us in developing our socio-emotional intelligence and enable us to work more effectively with an embodied relational understanding. This can increase the well-being of our students as well as our well-being and will therefore have a positive impact on our lives.

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