USIA English Language Programs

English Teaching Forum

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Preface

Introduction

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

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Civic Education Volume

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Chapter 1

Rights of the Individual


Classroom Applications


One way to keep the ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights alive and to promote their importance is to integrate them into education. Language teachers can create many different content-based lessons around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Bill of Rights, and the concepts underlying these declarations. One possible 50-minute lesson is described here.


Preliminary Lesson Planning

Materials: Create two sets of handouts, with four different versions of each. Each handout in the first set should include five provocative statements, each one related in some way to at least one of the articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The goal is to include statements that are likely to stimulate meaningful and extended discussion among students. The four sample handouts in Appendix B (Handout #1, versions A, B, C, D) could easily be adapted for different student populations by (a) changing the emphasis of the statements in response to student interests and/or issues of current relevance in one’s country and (b) adjusting the language used (so that the statements are more or less complex) in response to students’ language proficiency and language needs. (The UDHR articles tied to each statement in these sample handouts are listed in Appendix D).

The second set of handouts (Handout #2, versions A, B, C, D, in Appendix C) requires students to match UDHR articles with statements made on Handout #1. These handouts, like the first set, can be adapted for different student populations. For more advanced students, teachers might want to include the original UDHR articles; for less proficient students, even more simplified versions could be included.

Student grouping decisions: Decide on procedures for grouping students for Activities #1 and #2. If appropriate, make up tentative lists of group members for each activity. It is recommended that groups have no more than six participants each. Make last minute adjustments when it is determined which students are actually in class.

Vocabulary considerations: Consider the vocabulary that students need to know to complete the lesson successfully. Determine which vocabulary items the students already know and which items they’ll need to be introduced to. Some important terms, and their definitions, are included in a glossary in Appendix A.


Warm Up Activity (approximately 5 minutes)

Purpose:

  • To stimulate student interest in the topic of individual rights

  • To tap students’ background knowledge

  • To introduce vocabulary that will facilitate successful completion of the lesson

     

    Procedures:
  1. Write "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" on the blackboard.
  2. Ask students what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is. Put key words from students’ responses on the blackboard. If students are unfamiliar with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, be prepared to provide students with relevant background information, adding words to the blackboard as you introduce key ideas.
  3. Underline the word "Rights" on the blackboard. Ask students what "rights" might be included in the declaration. Add key words and concepts to the blackboard.

    (Do not erase the blackboard. Come back to it at the end of the lesson as a way to provide meaningful closure to the lesson.)



Transition from Warm Up to Activity #1

Tell students that the class session will be devoted to exploring aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Activity #1 (approximately 25 minutes)

Purpose:

  • To provide students with opportunities to use English in a meaningful way
  • To introduce students to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in relation to real-world situations
  • To give students the chance to use key vocabulary and concepts associated with the theme of the lesson

Procedure:

  1. Divide students into four groups (A, B, C, D) in the quickest way possible. The number of groups that you actually have will depend largely on the size of your class. For example, with a small class, all students in group A can sit together. With a large class, you can create multiple A groups, multiple B groups, multiple C groups, and multiple D groups. Distribute Handout #1; give appropriate version of the handout (A, B, C, or D) to each group.

  2. Working alone, students should read each statement on their handout and indicate with a check (check) whether they strongly agree (SA), agree (A), are uncertain (U), disagree (D), or strongly disagree (SD) with the statement. If students have never engaged in an exercise like this, put an example sentence on the blackboard to model the process in front of the entire class. Ask students to be ready to explain the reason for their responses to classmates. While students are working individually, circulate among them to make sure they understand all important vocabulary and the task at hand.

  3. Ask students to be ready to explain the reason for their responses to classmates. While students are working individually, circulate among them to make sure they understand all important vocabulary and the task at hand.

  4. Ask students to discuss their responses with members of their group (A, B, C, or D). Ask students to do the following (if necessary, write instructions on the blackboard):

    a. Compare your responses with group members.

    b. Explain your reason for each response.

    c. Ask group members questions if you do not understand their reasons.

    While students are working in groups, circulate around the classroom. Make sure students stay on task. Answer questions and/or provide clarification when needed.

  5. Distribute Handout #2; give appropriate version (A, B, C, or D) to each group. Ask students to do the following:

    a. Match each situation on Handout #1 to the appropriate Universal Declaration of Human Rights article(s).

    While students are working together, circulate and provide them with feedback on their responses, referring to the Answer Key (in Appendix D) for reference. Point out key words which might help them with the matching exercise.

  6. Ask groups to identify the situation and UDHR article which caused the most discussion (or controversy, debate, interest) among them. Tell students to be prepared to explain group selection (and reasons for the selection) to other students in class.



Activity #2 (approximately 15 minutes)

Purpose:

  • To provide students with opportunities to use English in a meaningful way
  • To reinforce key vocabulary and concepts associated with the theme of the lesson
  • To give students the opportunity to be successful in English by asking them to report information discussed earlier with other classmates

Procedures:

  1. Create new student groups--ideally with at least one representative from original groups A, B, C, and D--in the fastest way possible.
  2. Ask students to do the following in their new groups:

    a. Identify the situation and Universal Declaration of Human Rights article which caused the most discussion (controversy, debate, interest) in original group.

    b. Explain diverse opinions of classmates.

    c. Answer questions from new group members.



Cool Down Activity (approximately 5 minutes)

Purpose:

  • To provide some closure to lesson
  • To give students an opportunity to discuss relevance of lesson


Procedures:

Look back at blackboard. Ask students the following questions:

a. What words can we add to the blackboard to create a more complete picture of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Add students’ responses to the blackboard.

b. Which concepts are most controversial? (Circle students’ responses.)

c. Which concepts are most interesting? (Box students’ responses.)

d. Which concepts are most important? (Put a star next to students’ responses.)

e. Why are they important?


Possible Extensions to Lesson

  1. Ask students any of these questions to extend the lesson.

    a. Which UDHR articles do you find most interesting? Most important? Least important? Why?

    b. Are universal standards, such as those listed in the UDHR, possible in today’s world? Why? Why not?

    c. Do you think the United Nations should enforce the UDHR? Why? Why not?

    d. What would society be like if everyone followed the UDHR?

    e. Why do you think so many nations have not been able to live up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
  2. Remind students that the UDHR was written in 1948, in response to the events of World War II and the global depression of the 1930s. Ask students to consider these two questions: Which UDHR articles, if any, are no longer needed today? What new articles need to be added to the Declaration to respond to today’s life and world situation?
  3. Ask groups of students to select one article of the UDHR that they feel is important. Give groups time to plan a presentation about the UDHR article that they’ve selected, in the form of a poster, skit, song, poem, or essay. While students make their presentations, their classmates should be asked to guess which UDHR article the group is highlighting. [See http://www.mightymedia.com/edunet/result.cfm?CurriculumID=105]
  4. Ask students to work in groups to draft a "Declaration of Individual Rights for the 21st Century." Students should be prepared to defend and provide a rationale for their choices. Have students compare their drafts and generate a final "Class Declaration of Individual Rights."


Refer to the websites listed in the next section of this chapter for more information and lesson planning ideas.

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Classroom Applications Appendix Bibliography Internet Resources Background
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