Part 2: The Right to Know Your Rights

Methodologies: Workshop Strategies for Human Rights Education

Because human rights education is relatively new, people with even a little experience in the field are frequently called upon to teach others. The following recommendations for an effective human rights training could be applied to many different settings: a seminar for students, a training for social justice advocates, an in-service program for teachers, a staff-development presentation for an organization, a training-of-trainers for future human rights educators.

Components for an Effective Workshop

1) Build the workshop with a FUNNEL-LIKE DESIGN, starting broadly in a manner which engages participants personally and becoming increasingly focused on specific human rights issues as you approach the end. The workshop should move towards commitment and action with participants addressing the following questions:

What do I want to accomplish in my community?

What do I need now to move me towards that goal?

2) Promote PARTICIPANT OWNERSHIP of the workshop by:

a) seeking consensus in decisions regarding the direction the workshop should move;

b) returning periodically to the agenda to be sure you are on the right path for the participants.

3) Choose activities that are SENSITIVE TO THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PARTICIPANTS. Factors to be considered include participants’ age, education level, race, ethnicity, age, gender, income class, and geographic location. Also important are the human rights concerns participants and their community consider important.

4) Help participants to feel PART OF SOMETHING LARGER than the workshop itself and to appreciate that human rights education efforts are being undertaken by people all over the nation and world.

5) Encourage participants to ARTICULATE WHAT THEY HAVE LEARNED.

6) Provide participants with some kind of FOLLOW-UP SUPPORT as they begin to introduce human rights into their work.

1) Involve participants in a WARM-UP ACTIVITY. Select the activity based on a particular workshop goal: a) introducing each other, b) presenting a core theme, c) sharpening understanding of concept of human rights, d) creating rapport and climate for co-operation and sharing, e) identifying how a human rights perspective can be applied to participants work.

2) Involve participants in a variety of ACTIVITIES during the course of the workshop. Participants need actually to do activities and not just talk about how to do them with others. Especially when training educators, provide adequate time to discuss an activity after its completion: its purpose, its value, its adaptability to different groups and settings, and how it might have been done differently.

Select activities that include different learning styles (e.g., reading, discussion, problem solving, acting, artistic expression, listening, viewing, and physical movement).

3) Involve participants in an ACTIVITY THAT DIRECTLY RELATES TO THEIR WORK. This might –

a) help participants recognize that they probably are already engaged in some human rights education

b) provide participants with an opportunity to indicate what they have been doing in the area of human rights

c) enable participants to identify human rights issues of particular importance to them which have not yet found a place in their work

d) help participants identify places in their existing work where human rights activities and themes might be integrated

e) help participants identify strategies likely to be successful in overcoming obstacles to the implementation of human rights education. Encourage them to identify potential obstacles, allies, and networks of support

      Source: Nancy Flowers and David Shiman, Human Rights Educators’ Network, Amnesty International USA.


I can't respect the teacher who doesn't dream of a certain kind of society that he would like to live in, and would like the new generation to live in. [Educators should pursue] a dream of a society less ugly than those we have today.

-Paulo Freire



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  Human Rights Fundamentals The Right to Know Your Rights Activities Taking Action for Human Rights Appendices