EDUCATORS CALL UNITED FOR HUMAN RIGHTS “A TEACHER’S BEST FRIEND”
Charged with preparing students to be citizens of a diverse democracy, social studies teachers rely on United for Human Rights.
One out of every four students enrolled in an American school is regularly subjected to bullying. The result: 160,000 U.S. teens every day end up skipping school in order to avoid their tormentors. One out of every ten students drops out of school entirely.
It is no surprise that social studies teachers say they are in search of ways to stop bullying—their classrooms are an ideal place in which to address this problem in the context of human rights.
Social studies teachers are further charged by the National Council for Social Studies with the task of helping young people “make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society.”
But many teachers wonder where to begin in executing that responsibility.
To answer those questions and assist educators facing the need for curriculum materials, Youth for Human Rights (YHR) and its parent organization, United for Human Rights (UHR), put together an exhibit at the 2015 National Council for Social Studies Annual Conference in New Orleans. Here, both organizations offered teachers professional and engaging materials to tackle bullying and the broader subject of human rights.
The materials were an immediate and sweeping success. One teacher, upon first encountering the Youth for Human Rights educator kit presented at the conference, called the contents a “dream-come-true.” Another referred to them as “a social studies teacher’s best friend.”
The Youth for Human Rights Education Package includes a step-by-step educator’s guide, 24 What Are Human Rights? booklets, a succinct and powerful documentary and 30 PSAs bringing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to life. One teacher summed up the thoughts expressed by several of his colleagues saying, “This curriculum will be 100% effective and useful in my classroom.”
The specific human rights explored in this program include “Don’t Discriminate” and “No Torture” with impacting PSAs covering social dynamics amongst young people. They examine bullying and violence as well.
Several educators enthusiastically jumped in and immediately incorporated the human rights materials into their presentations at the conference.
Teachers were further delighted to learn that Youth for Human Rights is not only an effective tool, it is provided to them at no cost and they may adapt the materials to suit their specific classroom and student needs. Several educators enthusiastically jumped in and immediately incorporated the human rights materials into their presentations at the conference.
Those already familiar with the program were eager to share their successes. One teacher said he appreciates that human rights are presented in the program as a “set of core values for humanity,” allowing youth to put them into action. His colleague added, “the videos were awesome. My students really enjoyed it!”
Teachers using the Youth for Human Rights program were also pleased to discover they could graduate to United for Human Rights, with its in-depth curriculum for more mature audiences.
While the programs provide built-in curriculums, there is always room for creativity. One teacher of social studies and Spanish opted for materials in both Spanish and English, and plans to use the materials to teach Spanish, while students also learn their human rights.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Help make human rights a reality. Join the international human rights movement by becoming a member of United for Human Rights (UHR). Assist individuals, educators, organizations and governmental bodies in all parts of the world to raise awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by member nations of the United Nations in 1948. More than 60 years after that agreement, its promise is far from fulfilled.