The preamble to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights document has been recognized by historian Paul Kennedy for its “breathtaking vision, boldness, and expansiveness.” The Declaration acknowledges the inherent dignity, and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.
In identifying the human family in such a manner, the Declaration also proclaims that education is a right, and that the process of educating “should aim to develop the full human personality, and inculcate a spirit of understanding, tolerance, and friendship.” (Article 26, section 2)
What does it take for this human rights educational decree to be fulfilled? First and foremost, every human being should be provided an equal opportunity to obtain the best quality education possible. Every citizen of the world should be afforded the chance to achieve his or her intellectual potential and be self-supporting, peaceful, contributing citizens of our global society.
But to be truly effective, there is another critical aspect of education that must be added to the educational process of every student. All students should be provided the latest research available about the brain and how it learns.
Children have the right to be the recipients of proven, quality, current research on the brain and learning — because understanding the brain and how it works enhances children’s learning potential. Being educated with the brain in mind gives children the opportunity to better understand themselves, their behavior, and emotions. They become aware that they are born with a powerful set of human capabilities, that they have the power of compassion, love, peace, empathy, and of their unlimited potential.
Furthermore, children can learn that they are not born with hatred toward others in their minds; that this is learned from one’s environment and experiences. It is a human right for children to know that they have the ability to access their unique set of human capabilities. Teachers should be trained to help students understand and tap these abilities.
Brain-based holistic education is a powerful and innovative educational process that every school system in the world can implement. Schools can begin by teaching students about their brains and the ability they have to choose to use their brains well for creating peace, health, and happiness.
Children will learn through “brain education” that they have the ability to always practice love and tolerance. They will learn they have the power to think critically and disregard information that disrespects the human rights of others. They will learn to choose, as individuals, to live a respectful and peaceful life.
This article was first published in the print edition of Brain World Magazine.
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