Human Dignity Curriculum Partners With Brilla College Prep Charter Schools
“Do people who are old and sick have human dignity? Do people who have committed a crime have dignity? Do our families have dignity? Do children have dignity?” A Brilla College Prep Charter school teacher asked his students, from whom he received a resounding “yes!”
The Human Dignity Curriculum is a unique program that offers students the opportunity to learn more about themselves as human beings, and as a consequence, helps them understand and recognize the human dignity of the people around them.
“For some of them, I think initially, it’s just shock,” said one Brilla teacher, “like, wow, I’m learning about myself, I’m learning about these big ideas that can help me relate to the world and to current events.”
“I didn’t know what human dignity was or how I felt about it when I was first learning about this,” shared a Brilla student, “then, when we were starting to learn more about it, I felt elated and surprised to learn that everyone has human dignity.” she said.
The curriculum builds on the notion of human dignity–that it is universal, intrinsic, and inalienable. From a young age, students have the opportunity to delve deeply into what it means to be a human being, and the consequences of living to one’s full potential as such.
Brilla College Prep Charter school recently added the Human Dignity Curriculum to its academic course plan, an addition that teachers and students alike are excited about.
“You could hear the listening if that makes sense–,” said a Brilla teacher, “the kids are quiet and engaged when the other kids are talking on these ideas, and I think that for me, as a teacher, that was really awesome to see.”
The Human Dignity Curriculum does not simply provide information to students, it encourages them to think deeply about their personal circumstances and the people around them in the context of their dignity and intrinsic worth. This critical thinking, which the curriculum is geared to encourage, leads to action both inside and outside the classroom.
“When I heard about dignity,” said one Brilla student, “then I started to realize how I was behaving.”
Another student said, “I have changed the way I act at home because I used to always just come home, throw my stuff everywhere, and just automatically use my tablet, but now I go home, fold my clothes, clean up my room, and then I ask my mom if there’s anything she needs and if there’s anything she needs me to do for her.”
Brilla teachers are excited to work with the Human Dignity curriculum because of the classroom culture it builds–the ideas discussed promote a positive view of oneself and of other people.
“I think it’s very real,” said one Brilla teacher, “I think it helps the kids to assume the best about themselves and about each other. We’ve worked with other character programs where it’s about problem solving and getting in touch with our feelings, which is also great, but I think that this teaches the kids to recognize the good things in each other and assume the best in themselves, believe in themselves…,” she said.
Brilla’s partnership with the Human Dignity Curriculum is an exciting step that will continue to encourage students, their families, and teachers, to keep the dignity and worth of all human beings in mind, each day of the week, inside and outside the classroom.
“Acting with integrity and honoring the dignity of others,” said a Brilla teacher, “is something we should be modeling all the time because it’s something we should be living ourselves.” The Human Dignity curriculum fosters just that–living an integral life with respect for oneself and other human beings.
Original version by: Anne Mimille Guzman
Date: December 11, 2017