Person-Centered Schools

  • Paulo A. S. MoreiraEmail author
  • Danilo Garcia
Part of the Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience book series (CCNE)


Background: Technological and material resources are available for humans at an unprecedented level, and yet a significant percentage of the population report some degree of subjective suffering, functioning impairment, or medical ill-being associated with patterns of maladaptive psychosocial functioning/lifestyles. This suggests that there is a vital need for new approaches to promoting human development. School is one of the most powerful contexts for implementing such approaches. However, a new paradigm in education is required to help schools be more efficient at preparing their students to deal adaptively with the challenges facing humanity. Schools need to be able to promote the processes underlying human holistic development, rather than emphasizing the development of mainly logical-propositional dimensions, as is the case of materialistic-oriented conventional schools.

Aims: In this chapter, we argue for two points: (1) personality development is a core dimension of holistic development and (2) the most promising pathway for societies to promote a holistic development in youths is to shift towards person-centered schools. Although the need for person-centered schools was advocated decades ago, we argue that its relevance is more evident at present because of the availability of new research findings. We put conventional and mainstream schools in perspective; we revisit the classical concept of person-centered schools and review evidence supporting the need for person-centered approaches for contemporary and short-term future schools.

Conclusions: School is an ideal context for implementing a holistic approach to the promotion of human functioning. However, the effectiveness of any means aiming to promote positive adaptation in (person-centered) schools depends on intentionality, coordination, systematization, continuity, evaluation, and monitoring. We need to develop and test coherent frameworks that describe the common factors, and dynamics amongst them, involved in changing conventional schools to person-centered schools. This process is in its embryonic phase and is one of the current main challenges for research and practices of behavioural sciences. If done effectively, it will have substantial implications, not only for individuals’ well-being, but also for societal organization and development.


Person-centered Education Schools Personality Holistic Development 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação, Universidade Lusíada Norte (Porto), Centro de Investigação em Psicologia para o Desenvolvimento (CIPD)PortoPortugal
  2. 2.Blekinge Center for Competence, Region BlekingeKarlskronaSweden
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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