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Working for a better life

A junior cycle Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) unit exploring human rights and development

Secondary

Description

Despite some positive developments in the portrayal of people living in poverty in developing world, the public are often exposed to generalized and even stereotypical information and images on the subject. This resource was developed to support junior cycle students to develop the skills necessary to question the one dimensional perspective which is often presented in the media and elsewhere.

In this unit, students:

  • begin by discussing learning outcomes, and setting their personal learning goals.
  • are introduced to the UDHR, categorize different types or human rights, and consider the universal and indivisible nature of these rights.
  • consider the causes and consequences of stereotyping 
  • engage with a case study about women who work as housemaids in Ethiopia and are gaining an education to improve their lives.
  • rank the various active learning methodologies experienced in the Unit and plan and carry out a teaching session with peers or younger students.

Each lesson includes a set of step-by-step instructions for teachers, with activities employing a wide range of active teaching methodologies. Student worksheets for individual, pair and small group work, and teacher resource sheets with background information are available for each lesson.

The project brief includes suggestions for the organization of the teaching sessions, and a set of success criteria to be shared with students. The unit concludes with activities to facilitate reflection, review and evaluation of learning outcomes, classwork and the peer teaching project.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The unit provides opportunities for students to develop or strengthen a number  of skills;

  • critical thinking  
  • extracting information from film footage
  • working collaboratively
  • identifying causes and consequences
  • reflecting on learning
  • planning and implementing a project

Strengths

The unit is unique in that it examines the larger topic of human rights with specific attention to the dangers of portraying individuals or communities by a "single story". The teaching strategies employed to this end are interesting and varied and the strategies included to measure student progress are well considered.

The inclusion of student reflection activities and a final student project further strengthen the unit.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The unit has application for those curriculum units that focus on citizenship in general and human rights in particular. It also has relevance for those curriculum units that seek to understand inequities in the world and the challenges faced by peoples in the developing world.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 10
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      • Social Studies
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        • Social Studies 10-1(Perspectives on Globalization) CitizensResponse to Globalization
        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Canadian Response to Globalisation?
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 11
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      • Social Studies
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        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
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      • Social Studies
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        • Social Justice: Individual worldviews shape and inform our understanding of social justice issues.
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society
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      • Social Studies
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        • Canada in the Contemporary World:Diversity and Pluralism in Canada
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      • Social Studies
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        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Social Justice and Human Rights
        • Global Issues
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        • Canadian Identities: Social Responsibility
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      • English/Language Arts
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        • Media Studies 120: Film, Television, and Video
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        • World Issues 120: Humanity
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      • Social Studies
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        • Social Studies 1201: Individual Rights and the Common Good
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    • Grade 9
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      • Social Studies
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        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Human Rights in the Global Community
        • Citizenship 9: Global Citizenship
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      • Social Studies
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        • Social Studies 10-1(Perspectives on Globalization) CitizensResponse to Globalization
        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Canadian Response to Globalisation?
  • Ontario
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    • Grade 10
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      • Civic Studies
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        • Civics and Citizenship (Open): Civic Awareness
        • Civics and Citizenship (Open): Civic Engagement and Action
    • Grade 11
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        • Media Studies (Open) Media and Society
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        • Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice (Workplace Pre.) Foundations
        • Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice (Workplace Prep.) Promoting Equity and Social Justice
    • Grade 12
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Challenge and Change in Society (Univ. Prep.) Global Social Challenges
        • Equity and Social Justice: From Theory to Practice (Univ./College Prep.) :Personal and Social Action
  • Prince Edward Island
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    • Grade 9
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      • Social Studies
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        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Human Rights in the Global Community
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        • Media Studies 20: Media & Cultural Studies Project
      • Social Studies
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        • Social Studies 20: World Issues -Human Rights
  • Yukon Territory
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    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Justice: Individual worldviews shape and inform our understanding of social justice issues.
        • Social Justice: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems

Themes Addressed

  • Human Rights (3)

    • Gender Equality
    • Poverty
    • Social Justice

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

A major goal of the teaching is to help students understand the concept of stereotyping as it applies to individuals and groups and to consider the dangers of making assumptions about others, particularly as it relates to our acceptance of the human rights of  "the other". The unit characterizes this tendency as the danger of a single story. 

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

The unit includes a lesson designed to have students acknowledge the indivisibility and interdependence of human rights and the need to see the relationship among economic, cultural, social and environmental rights.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

The unit moves from introductory lessons that examine the concept of human rights to consideration of the different categories of human rights, the indivisibility of those rights and concludes with examples of the challenges presented in recognizing the human rights of particular individuals or groups.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Very Good

Lesson five draws on the student's learning acquired from the unit and asks students to prepare and teach peers (or younger students) about human rights with reference to the experience of housemaids in Ethiopia. 

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is a statement of values and student exploration of the rights therein may be expected to encourage reflection on the merits of these rights and the students obligations to support and encourage their realization.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

The focus of the unit is on the human condition and the importance of human rights and in particular the challenges faced by women in the developing world.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Satisfactory

One of the goals of the unit is to have students understand that human rights are universal but the lesson seeks to underline this point by having students first consider how they would be affected if they were denied particular human rights.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

The unit is designed in part to make students change agents; to recognize that the current situation for many people is challenging and that the wider attention to and application of human rights is central to creating a better future.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

The lessons allow for considerable student input. The introductory lessons ask students to consider their learning goals with respect to the topic of the unit and to identify what they need to do to achieve these goals. The concluding lesson requires students, through a process of review, evaluation and reflection, to assess whether or not the unit outcomes have been achieved

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

An investigation of the topic of human rights may draw upon a number of disciplines. In this unit students are invited to consider the historical record and the current situation with respect to the struggle for human rights, the role of gender in realizing those rights, the inequalities between the developing and developed world, and the responsibility of the media in promoting stereotypes that hinder the process of human rights. 

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Very Good

The methodology adopted in the unit relies on the principles of Development Education (DE). DE is an educational process aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the rapidly changing, interdependent and unequal world in which we live and uses methodologies which are learner-centered and participatory 

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Very Good

Lesson five has students consider the various learning methodologies experienced in the unit and to work together in evaluating the methodologies used. These include art, creative writing, drama, peer teaching, structured discussion, worksheets and film footage.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

The unit moves from an examination of the meaning and implications of  human rights to an investigation of their application in real world situations involving individuals and organizations in the developing world.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Very Good

The lessons include a number of opportunities for pair-share, small and large groups exchanges and concludes with a peer teaching activity that includes student consideration of various  teaching methodologies and their effectiveness.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Very Good

Each of the lessons include time given to have students reflect on what they have learned in the previous lesson. The final lesson invites students to decide whether the unit outcomes have been achieved. Teachers may also assess student progress by evaluating the number  or student worksheets that are submitted. Finally, the unit includes specific criteria by which to evaluate the students' peer teaching efforts.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Very Good

Lesson five requires students to plan and execute a peer teaching session. The lesson provides direction in terms of teaching methodologies for student consideration, practical planning tips, and criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of their work.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

Lesson three focuses on the dangers of a "single story" that contributes to stereotyping, which in turns makes it more difficult for some to extend human rights to certain groups. The lesson illustrates this tendency by having students examine the case study of two individuals from Nigeria, Chimamanda's and Fide

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

Students are invited to comment on the methodologies adopted by the unit and to make suggestions as to other possibilities.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.