Human integration as a fundamental anthropological problem in Neo–Humanistic education
Neo-Humanistic education (or "humanistic education" in Neo-Humanist terms) is an irrationalistic educational movement which developed in the USA during the 1960s and 1970s on the basis of Progressivism, Existentialism, Humanistic Psychology, Romantic criticism and some religious movements. Neo-Humanistic Education attempts to effect human integration as the most important goal in the context of education. This research focuses on human integration as a fundamental anthropological problem in Neo-Humanistic education, and aims at a description of the nature of efforts to effect human integration in Neo-Humanistic education; attempting to analyse the fundamental (principial) shortcomings of this approach. and comparing human integration in Neo-Humanistic education with human integration in Christian education on the basis of a Scriptural approach to human integration. In order to outline a general anthropology in Neo-Humanistic education, four thinkers who stimulated and influenced humanistic education were analysed: Holt, Goodman, Rogers and Maslow. Holt and Goodman are Romantic humanists, and Rogers and Maslow are humanistic psychologists. Their generaI anthropology is characterized as follows: (1) Man is a biological-psychological organism, which has a positive tendency toward growth and unlimited potential. Man is autonomous, free from any external norms. (2) The real self is the biological (-psychical) inner nature. It integrates all human functions and needs of the organism. (3) Man is intended to become an integrated or holistic unity. However, the biological (-psychical) aspects are prepotent. The a-Iogical aspects of man are absolute preconditions for all activities of man. Human aspects are often dichotomized into the logical and the a-Iogical. Another four educationists' theories and models were analysed to present the whole picture of human integration in the context of education. These are Combs' Affective Education, Weinstein's Self Science Education, Brown's Confluent Education and Valett's Humanistic Education. The educational efforts for human integration of the four theorists were characterized as follows: (1) Man is a highly developed biological-psychical organism, who has sufficient potential toward self-actualization. (2) The human self is identified with the affective aspects of man. The self (-concept or self-functions) and the affective aspects are not distinguished from each other. (3) Human structure is composed of two domains: the cognitive and the affective. The affective domain is the most important integrating principle in personality development and education, since it plays the leading and integrating part in being human. (4) Neo-Humanistic education is an educational attempt at human integration. Its efforts aim to incorporate emotional components into conventional learning and to develop affective curricula or programmes positively. Humanistic educational objectives can be achieved by affective educational procedures and techniques. As a result, Neo-Humanistic education is an affective form of education. In a Reformational anthropology, four principles of human integration are identified: (1) religion, (2) image of God, (3) heart (the self) and (4) a living soul. From the perspective of Reformational anthropological principles, efforts at human integration by Neo-Humanistic Education amount to the following: (1) The Evolutionistic presupposition of human origin completely excludes the true God as the Creator of man in discussions of human existence. (2) Neo-Humanism has an optimistic view of man as being a selfsufficient being. Man has a positive tendency toward self-actualization and sufficient potential for self-fulfilment. (3) Man is a biological-psychological organism that is always seeking for satisfaction of his inner needs. (4) Man should be free from all the negative social influences. (5) Man is an autonomous being. The absolute norms that he should follow are his inner laws and needs. (6) Self-actualization is the ultimate goal of the human organism. It is also an important integrating principle. (7) An individual is unique on account of his own genetic history and diverse experiences. Man is a higher animal with higher needs. (8) Man's relationship with God is characterized by anthropocentrism. (9) The social function of man is often seen as reluctant or negative. Neo-Humanism is basically individualistic or subjectivistic. (10) Man is a product of the world. The world is only a womb for man, in which he was born and lives every day. (11) The motivator, director or integrator of human life and activities is the biological-psychical nature of man. The self (heart) is hidden behind or identified with the biological-affective functions of man. (12) The self-concept as a conceptual Gestalt, is dealt with either positively or negatively. In a positive sense, the self-concept functions for the sake of human integration. However, the integrating principle is not the self (heart) but the self-concept which is the affective function of man. (13) Neo-Humanism always presupposes a dualistic interpretation of man: the cognitive (logical) and affective (a-Iogical) domains. (14) The biological or affective aspect of man motivates and leads human perception, learning, behaviour and lite. It makes human learning and activities meaningful and relevant. Neo-Humanistic educators seem to suggest the affective as the most important integrating principle in education. (15) All the other aspects of man are reduced to the biological or affective aspect. (16) The relationship between the cognitive and affective aspects is indestructibly symbiotic. However, the cognitive is not dealt with to any degree of significance, even in school education. (17) Almost every aspect of man is dealt with in terms of overestimation or reduction, and not by its own law nucleus as is done in Reformational anthropology. (18) Internal developmental and hierarchical relationships among all the aspects of man are recognized. However, the direction of prepotency in the hierarchy of the aspects was often reversed in comparison with a Reformational view of man. (19) Neo-Humanistic Education is composed of various kinds of affective approaches to education. It is often manifested not as a holistic form of education but as an affective form of education in which its starting point and destination are affect. Regarding human integration, Neo-Humanistic Education has achieved more success than classicaI humanistic education. The former makes an effort at overcoming defects of the logical aspect-centred classical humanistic education, and tries to integrate the logical with a-Iogical aspects of man. However, Neo-Humanistic education does not succeed in achieving the desired balanced integration on account of its dualistic concept of man. It also overemphasizes the a-Iogical aspects as a reaction to the previous overemphasis of the logical. Furthermore, from the perspective of the integrating principles of a Reformational anthropology, the concepts of and efforts at human integration of Neo-Humanism were evaluated as being a distorted and unbalanced disintegration or an inadequate integration of human personality and education. Therefore, the findings of this research lead to the conclusion that Neo-Humanistic education does not succeed in describing and achieving true human integration of the personality and education. This research project has revealed that achieving true human integration cannot be effected without the aid of a truly balanced anthropology. Neo-Humanistic education is a case in point. Despite its shortcomings, a Reformational view of man in education seems to be able to guarantee a more balanced view of human integration, if only because it avoids all immanent contradictions such as dualistic views of human modal functions and a dualism regarding the role of basic motives, but also because it recognizes a number of fundamental principles which determine the outcome of efforts at a holistic and integrated view of man.
- Humanities