Working for a better life: A peer teaching action about human rights and development
St Dominic’s College, Cabra, Dublin 7, Ireland
12-13 years old (1st year students) and 15-16 year olds (4th year students)
4th year students were the primary target group – 3 separate classes of 4th year students participated in the entire TLU, whereas the 1st year students engage only for 1 class period, i.e. they were the learners in the peer teaching sessions facilitated by the 4th year students at the conclusion of the TLU.
Overview of the TLU
The aim of this Teaching and Learning Unit is to encourage students to question the sources of generalisations about ‘developing countries,’ and use a human rights framework when engaging with case studies about people who are working to lift themselves out of situations of poverty and inequality.
Towards the end of the Unit students undertake a peer teaching action project. Drawing on their learning from the Unit they work in small group to prepare a session and teach a group of peers (or younger students) using an active methodology. This is a very effective methodology as students must understand a topic in order to teach it to their peers. They learn a great deal by explaining their ideas to others, and by participating in activities in which they can learn from their peers. They develop skills in information management, organizing and planning learning activities, working collaboratively with others, communication, giving and receiving feedback and reflection on their own learning.
Quote from teacher:
The TLU uses a range of methodologies in activities so students experience a good spread, and then they look back at how effective and enjoyable these have been in the planning of their peer teaching session. It is interesting that the first time I tested the draft TLU lessons with a 4th year group (at the start of 2014) they said that the methodology that worked best for them was the use of video. Another 4th year group favor creative writing and case studies. But they know that what works for them may not work with the 1st years. They know they have to consider the age of the 1st years and different learning styles, and how they can teach these students (like their little sisters or cousins) about human rights and development.
Quotes from 4th year students:
I’ve learned about the UDHR, the different sections [article]… I’ve learned about Ethiopia as a country as well as the issue of Ethiopian housemaids and the rights they are denied. I’ve developed my skills of creativity. I really enjoyed finding out about an issue I hadn’t known about. It makes you realise how much you don’t know about issues around the world.
I think peer teaching is really good because you learn more about human rights through teaching others. When I had to research what case study I could do with the first years I saw many current news stories which I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. The peer teaching part really helped me to improve my organizational skills because I had to arrange activities. I really enjoyed but I wish I could do it again with a clearer lesson plan this time.
I learned different techniques of teaching and what was the most effective. I found that the younger junior classes were interactive and alert. To my surprise they were quite knowledgeable [about current events].
I have learned that I am well able to talk to big groups. I can remember stuff off the top of my head.
ABSTRACT 1: APA (Ireland)
Title: Working for a better life: A peer teaching action about Human Rights and Development
Subject: Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE)
Age: 12-15 years old
Section Two: Overview
Aim: The aim of this Teaching and Learning Unit is to encourage students to question the sources of generalisations about ‘developing countries,’ and use a human rights framework when engaging with case studies about people who are working to lift themselves out of situations of poverty and inequality.
Rationale: Despite some positive developments in the portrayal of the realities for people living in developing world contexts, the Irish public are predominately consumers of generalised and even stereotypical information and images on the subject. This resource was developed as a way for post-primary students to develop the key skills necessary to question the ‘single story’ or perspective which is often presented in the media and elsewhere.
Unit Structure: The Teaching and Learning Unit consists of six lessons. The first five lessons engage students in activities relating to content encompassing the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and leading to a video case study about housemaids in Ethiopia. Following Lesson Five students engage in project work which will involve approximately 2 hours of independent work, including the delivery of their peer teaching session. The concluding lesson focuses on facilitating student evaluation and reflection on learning.
Project work and reflection: Drawing on their learning from the Unit students will work in small groups to prepare a teaching session for peers (or younger students) using an active methodology. Students learn a great deal by explaining their ideas to others and by participating in activities in which they can learn from their peers. They develop skills in organizing and planning learning activities, working collaboratively with others, giving and receiving feedback and evaluating their own learning. Students are expected to complete a final reflection on learning related to both their classwork and their project work. Both assessment elements (project and reflection task) are designed to support students with their CSPE assessment for certification tasks.
Section Three: Link to national curriculum
This Unit is designed to meet a number of the learning outcomes articulated in the junior cycle Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) short course specification as follows:
Strand 1: Rights and Responsibilities - 1.9, 1.11 and 1.12
Strand 2: Global Citizenship – 2.5 and 2.12
Strand 3: Exploring Democracy - 3.11 and 3.13
In relation to the 70-hour CSPE programme, learning is linked to the concepts of Human Rights and Responsibility, and Development.
Section Four: Learning outcomes
Through engagment with the teaching and learning processes outlined in this Unit students should be able to:
Section Five: Key Skills
This Teaching and Learning Unit contributes to the achievement of competencies, or the key skills, outlined in the junior cycle framework (2015) as follows:
Working with others:
Managing information and thinking
GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION IN THE HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL DISCIPLINES
EXAMPLES OF TEACHING AND LEARNING UNITS from AUSTRIA, CZECH REPUBLIC, IRELAND, ITALY, NETHERLANDS
“Critical review of the historical and social disciplines for a formal education suited to the global society”
ABSTRACT 1: APA (Ireland)
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