The first 5 Principles listed are core Principles of Transformative Education. The following 7 Principles below them are more specific elements that are essential to the concepts of Transformative Education as it is practiced pedagogically. Together these 12 Principles of Transformative Education are intended to help define a system of education that “transforms” older, obsolete models of human learning to create a sustainable, diverse, conscientious global citizen with the ability to problem-solve complex issues for a better more equitable and viable world.

Like that world itself, the Principles of Transformative Education is a “living” document open to change and adaptability based on improved and expanding knowledge and the emerging skill sets most critical to a thriving, harmonious, sustainable world.

Principle 1: Human Rights

Transformative Education shall promote and support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to reinforce the full development of the human personality and the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. A Transformative Education acknowledges the right of all people, from all nations, all races, all ages, and economic standing–in particular for girls and women in all nations, to access a Transformative Education equal to that of men.

Principle 2: Sustainability

Transformative Education shall promote and support the practice of sustainable development, meshing economic growth, respect and protection for the environment with social equity and well-being. Humans are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.

Principle 3: The Importance of Value Systems: Morality, Ethics and Spirit

Transformative Education shall embrace the values, ethics, morality and spirit that have stood the test of time worldwide because these values recognize and honor the interconnectedness of all life. Transformative Education shall lead to a more conscientious global citizen with an emphasis on empathy and compassion and with the understanding that science, technology, engineering and mathematics, * without the underlying values of planet and human sustainability, is devoid of meaning.

Principle 4: Diversity

Transformative Education shall promote the values of diversity, welcome cultural differences and recognize heterogeneity as a gift of strength and adaptability and the critical concept in developing any viable solutions for sustainability, in a diverse and complex world.

Principle 5: Economic and Social Justice/Equity

Transformative Education shall inform, promote and support the special situations and needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed and those most environmentally vulnerable, as a special priority. Transformative education should also address the interests and needs of all countries, including developed countries where poverty and racial and economic inequities still exist, and thereby contribute to the prevention and reduction of economic global inequality.

Principle 6: Peace Education and Conflict Resolution

Transformative Education shall promote and teach the tools of peaceful conflict resolution, including alternative dispute resolution, which is defined as any process or collection of processes established to resolve disputes without trial or violence.

Principle 7: Holistic Education

Transformative Education shall be holistic and aim at education of the whole person – mind, body and animating spirit, including their emotional, social, and physical development as well as valued, multiple divergent and creative/artistic intelligences important to problem-solving in a complex world.

Principle 8: Community-Based Learning and Indigenous Wisdom

Transformative Education shall be community-based and take local needs into account as well as value indigenous wisdom and their contexts while promoting service learning, including an ability to identify community needs and the skills to address them.

Principle 9: Simulation/Experiential Learning

Transformative Education shall encourage and promote the use of simulation and experiential learning programs such as Model United Nations, Model Governments and Model Corporations to build dynamism, active complex problem-solving, emotional, social and cultural intelligences and other core elements of human capacity.

Principle 10: Incorporating New Brain Neuroscience and Skills of Critical Thinking

Transformative Education shall support the inclusion, application and integration of recent educational neuroscience findings, including integrative neurophysiology and pedagogical learning theory on how the integrated brain actually learns best. Transformative Education shall promote and incorporate transformative, pedagogical practices that develop whole brain, critical thinking/feeling abilities and capacities.

Principle 11: Use of Technology for Greater Connection not Alienation*

Transformative Education shall utilize technology in a manner that does not impede but enhances the education of children and enables Transformative Education, which cannot be delivered in any other manner. Note that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are heavily promoted in U.S. policy. TEF-US would like to instead promote necessary exploration of arts, values, ethics, morality and sustainability that would underline any such STEM focus, include more of the Principles above and thus transform that focus to “STEM+“.

Principle 12: Sanctity of Human Learning and Life

The learning environment shall be sacred, trust in the wisdom of imagination, teach the wonder and potential of every human child, the interrelationship of life and that we can no longer afford to live with privileged disregard of this planet, all its diverse and valuable species and each other.