Effective Practices for Infusing Human Rights and Peace Education Middle School and High School Level
1. Complete the Needs Assessment: Take the Human Rights Temperature of Your School. A handy tool, developed and distributed by the Human Rights Resource Center at the University of Minnesota, allows students and teachers to discover human rights strengths and pinpoint areas that need a more comfortable temperature. Available in Topic Book 1: Economic & Social Justice on pp. 67-72 or on-line at http://www.hrusa.org/hrmaterials/temperature/interactive.php.
2. Familiarize Yourself with State-of-the-Art Pedagogy and Facilitation Skills. Create a Human Rights Learning Community with your peers to develop a common vision, shared language, and unified practices. To aid you in this process, The Human Rights Education Handbook sets out working definitions of human rights education, gives an overview of the field, differentiates between the goals of learning about human rights (e.g. cognitive learning), and learning for human rights (i.e., personal responsibility and skills for advocacy). It also addresses personal challenges human rights educators may face. If you don’t feel confident as a facilitator already, you sure will after learning the myriad of ways to keep students engaged and asking for more. The Developmental Conceptual Framework on page 14 will help prepare you for the different age groups in your setting - http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/hreduseries/hrhandbook/part1Cextra.html.
3. Introduce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to Your Students. Use the Amnesty Animated UDHR Video and/or America Needs Human Rights Video. Give each student the UDHR Passport for classroom study and personal use. Human Beings/Human Rights pp. 38-40 from Human Rights Here and Now leads participants to define what it means to be human and to relate human rights to human needs - http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/hreduseries/hereandnow/Part-3/Activity1.htm. Students can learn that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most translated document in the Guiness Book of World Records and explore all the different languages at http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/index.htm. For additional introduction activities, see The Amnesty International Resource Notebooks -- Introducing Human Rights in the Middle School or Introducing Human Rights in the High School. To order the videos or Resource Notebooks, go to http://www.humanrightsandpeacestore.org. Please note: All italicized resources below are also available at the on-line store.
4. Create a Human Rights Culture in Your School/Classroom. Expose students to self-governing tools in addition to Robert’s Rules of Order. The goal is to create a safe container where everyone’s voice is heard and needs are taken into consideration. A Way of Council and Calling the Circle are highly recommended. Spend the first six weeks of school developing students’ ability to resolve conflict with Conflict Resolution Skills for Teens and Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom.
Compare your School Student Handbook to the UDHR. What rights are supported and protected with the school discipline policy? What areas need further development? Discipline with Dignity, Motivating Students Who Don’t Care and Power Struggles will help teachers and administrators create a school climate where human rights can thrive and flourish. The Bully Prevention Handbook is an excellent resource for administrators, counselors, and teachers and provides a school-wide approach to bully-prevention in K-12 schools. This approach can be infused in your school discipline policy.
Design the environment with posters such as the UDHR Poster, How to Build Community, posters of accomplished peacemakers and human rights workers, Earth Flag, Peace Flag, and classroom Peace Poles. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Poster Series and Teacher’s...