What to do When Seeking a Humanistic Student-Centered Approach in a Fixed Notion Environment


For long I thought I might add Engage to the 5 E’s. But there was no room. Explore, Experience, Examine, Elevate and Express worked so well. And 5 is such a good number. So, I usually wrote Engage students with the 5 E’s. But now I have a candidate for a 6th E. One that might help you.


This E is Example. You see, we really cannot change how others see things. Teachers intertwine with so many: The principal, the superintendent, other teachers, the parents, the students. The only thing we can do is set an example. When they will see our approach works, helps, and grows, they will join in. I suggest therefore: Engage with the 5 E’s to set an Example.

Check out this illustration. Isn’t a diamond a great metaphor for such teaching? A diamond is multifaceted and endurable. It attracts brightness and shines back. All these connecting lines withing the diamond represent communications. Maintaining all in a productive mode is exceedingly difficult. This is a model to live by.

A lifelong challenge. We will never be perfect because we are human. But it is also our greatest advantage because being humane we care and share. If we do our best every day, the esteem people will feel for us will be immense.


To communicate with school leadership, colleagues, students, and the community, first puzzle out your own feelings. What is the gap between the now and what is wished for? Begin with asking how they feel about things and listen. How would they achieve the desired outcome? Adapt your message, so they see it corresponds with their attitude. Make it sound like change is no big deal. Communicate simply.


Channel all frustration into a proactive endeavor. Provide a key: a way out of the entanglement. See the person in front of you. We want both of us to be better off. We must work with this person at least for the next school year. But even if we never met them again this is the right way to act upon, to set an example and to feel whole tomorrow.


As whole teachers we are apt to deliver education that sees the whole child. For that we need to fill ourselves with enriching and uplifting content. Here is an idea that will help you feel filled to be fulfilled. Before going to sleep read a magazine. Disengaging with digital devices will bring your calm and the articles will enrich you. I especially like the special editions, like Women by Scientific American or History by National Geographic. The plus will be those wise remarks for which students and colleagues will respect you.


You’re most welcome to check out my Raising Creative Thinkers Guidebook. What I write today is much more academic. But that is the beauty of this inspirational book. My paintings serve to ignite. I have another book that you might find empowering: Revitalizing Creativity by Reading, Writing and Coloring. It offers heartwarming stories, poems, paintings, and creative coloring.


My website offers online teacher tools. Share them with colleagues and students to help them see the benefits of a student-centered humanistic approach, and to see how to implement it for a more communicative climate. The Raising Creative Thinkers Academy offers 3 plans. The SEL & PBL by 5 E’s Basic and Prime provide a workshop replay and tools. The Teach Best 2020 is a subscription to exclusive research-based blog posts helping meet challenges at uncertain times.


I hope these books, tools, and training help you be at your best under the current circumstances. If each of us contributes even slightly to make sure change is for the good, we will prepare children and youth more thoroughly for their futures.


To sum up, for long focus was on what to teach. Now we need to nurture the how, firstly adopting constructive communication. The benefit is the social-emotional learning we will model.

For productive developments,


Michelle Korenfeld

PBL, SEL and STEAM books, online teacher tools, and training



#socialemotionallearning #PBL #SEL #STEAM #studentcenteredlearning #humanistic

© 2017 by Michelle Korenfeld, Raising Creative Thinkers.