Basic Values in Communication
Approaches to independent learning, peaceful communication, and democratic dialogue have their roots in humanist thinking. They represent our current image of humanity, which is the result of many lengthy processes. Religions, eschatological theories, and other meta-theories have all shaped our contemporary vision of humanity and the universe.
 Human Equality
Appreciation, the ability to give and receive both love and respect, and the recognition of individual freedoms form some of the core ideas in humanist principles. This moral undertone is based on work by Carl Rogers, Marshall Rosenberg (“Nonviolent Communication”), Jacques Salomé (“Relational Hygiene”), and in the axioms of “Theme Centered Interaction” (Ruth Cohn).
 Constructive Solutions
Finding constructive ways to deal with irritation, feelings, and needs are other aspects of a humanist approach. Working constructively takes into account that communication is very subject to ambiguity and involves interpretation by all the people involved. If I realize that other people have valid perspectives, then I understand that I am not simply right or wrong. I also understand that it is not really possible to partake in completely unambiguous communication. Rather, the solutions I come up with are the result of a dialogue among all people involved in my communication process. So constructive communication does not just mean focusing on a solution, but also being open to alternatives: “Do you think you could come on time in the future? Or should we find another way of setting up our meetings?"
Dialogic communication places importance on feedback. In a black-box-communication act, feedback occurs when the recipient reacts to a signal or impulse. The recipient reacts – not only linguistically, but also with physical reactions like blushing or smiling. He or she sends a signal back to the sender. You can send a signal with words: “Yes, I understand, you are going to the movies.” This helps us to gain clarity and efficiency. But feedback also plays an important role in building relationships among the people involved. It reveals how we see others in relation to ourselves. Democratic communication involves expressing appreciation through the style and quality of feedback.
 The Bigger Picture
What do we mean by using a word like Human Rights, politics, or democracy? We can prevent misunderstanding by referencing to other sources, such as...
- Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Beutelsbach Consence on the common standards in civic education in Germany (more to the background in German).