Things I Know 309 of 365: Practice should be guided by relationships

We believe that ‘humanity of scale’ and the ‘primacy of relationships’ should not only inform the design of our schools but should also influence our public sector services.

– Human Scale Education Movement

Earlier in the semester, as I was working on my argument for collaboration as a key principle in the design of my theory of learning, Chris MacIntosh hit me up with a link to this wonderful paper from Human Scale Education in the UK.

I hadn’t the time to delve too deeply into the people at HSE as I was writing the paper, but I’ve since gone back, and I’ve got to say, I am really digging the work they do.

In the paper, HSE Director James Wetz frames his argument around the following themes:

  1. The need to see schooling as more than just an educational project but one which integrates the education and the care of our children on their journey from early childhood to young adulthood.
  2. The need for our schools to have an explicit theoretical framework, based in relationships, that informs policy and practice.
  3. The need to make the task of creating emotional and social capital in our schools a key educational process.

Certainly, these theories aren’t new. The relational aspect of education was appreciated by everyone from John Dewey to Ivan Illich. What struck me as contemporarily important about Wetz’s work was the practical applications. He writes about interviewing Linda Nathan at the Boston Arts Academy and Ann Cook at Urban Academy in New York as people putting these theories into practice.

The paper is a brief 11 pages, and well worth reading. Also worth looking after is HSE’s first free school opening in Dorset in 2013.