Teaching human behaviour across the curriculum

Advances in behavioural science requires a closer connection between science & interdisciplinary educational design. An open-access teaching guide for students & educators can facilitate the design of lessons on human behaviour that connect traditional subject-area boundaries ⎮1 min 45 sec read

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By Dustin Eirdosh & Susan Hanisch

The scientific fields of evolutionary anthropology and behavioural sciences have produced a wealth of new insights into the nature of human behaviour, cognition and culture, especially in the last several decades. This science offers immense opportunities for education in the 21st century, particularly considering the role of human behaviour as a driver of many sustainable development challenges.

For complex reasons,  the research questions, concepts, methods and insights of these fields have not trickled down into general education curricula and teaching practice in a manner that would allow teachers and students to gain a deeper understanding of our species, and make use of this knowledge for their own lives, and the sustainable development of society as a whole.

A new open-access Guide to Teaching Human Behavior from Global ESD and the Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology provides a brief overview of the opportunities and considerations for developing new lesson materials in this space, and opportunities for contributing to the Global ESD database of open education resources.

The guide is particularly useful for teachers and teacher educators interested in advancing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the core concepts and scientific methods that inform our understanding of what it means to be human. For practicing educators, the guide offers an overview of practical considerations for weaving concepts and examples of human behaviour into your existing teaching aims. For pre-service teachers, the guide provides a road map to potential student thesis work on the development and evaluation of novel teaching materials across a range of subject areas. 

A diversity of content anchors frame the wealth of connections possible when teaching human behavior as an interdisciplinary theme:

The possibilities for teaching human behaviour as an interdisciplinary theme are endless. Join us in growing a global resource hub for connecting students to the leading edge of scientific perspectives on the origins, causes, consequences, and future of how humans think and act!


Further resources

Related blog posts on NPJ Science of Learning:

Global ESD

Educational innovation and curriculum design, in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Global ESD works internationally to support sustainability education initiatives that connect concepts in human evolution, behavioral ecology, and sustainability science. By linking scientific perspectives on social change with students and classrooms seeking to make the world a better place, our aim is to foster a more global discussion about where we are going in the light of where we all have come from. Our work is done in close collaboration with the Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Primary contributors to this blog community are Dustin Eirdosh & Susan Hanisch

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