Part IV
B. Techniques for Human Rights Education

Most of the methodologies described above can be applied, singly or in combination, using the following techniques.

TECHNIQUE 1: Carousel/Work Stations

In the carousel technique, facilitators create "stations" where different activities are presented at the same time. For example, rather than a group of forty people going through four activities for two hours, four groups of ten participants are divided among four activities. After thirty minutes at one activity, each group rotates to another station and another activity. In this way all participants are actively involved and the pace is lively (especially helpful when participants are tired). The technique works best when the different stations illustrate different methods (e.g., an artistic expression, a game, a discussion, a role play). It can also be used to present participant projects. This technique is ideal for training new facilitators, who first observe the presentation, then assist, and gradually take over as facilitators.

Example of Method:

The Human Rights Education Handbook: "Model 3: Three-day Workshop," p. 121; "Model 5: Five-day Workshop," p. 126.


Contests can stimulate creativity among participants and draw public attention to an issue. They might be based on writing, artistic expression, debate competitions, or suggestions for solving problems. Whatever the topic, be clear what the goals are and ensure that learning, not just competition, results. Awards might be for human rights related community service projects, publications, or accomplishments. Try to have winners in several categories and emphasize group efforts rather than singling out a few individuals. In a workshop, competitions might be lighthearted awards to competing teams for human rights knowledge, presentations, or task completion.

TECHNIQUE 3: Fishbowl

In this technique, which resembles a "theater in the round," a small group sits in the middle and undertakes an activity while the rest of the group observes, perhaps asking questions, making comments, or even joining the action at some point. The activity might involve a drama, a discussion, or many other methods.

Example of Method:

The Human Rights Education Handbook: "Model 3: Three-day Workshop," p. 121.

TECHNIQUE 4: Gallery Walk / Exhibition / Circus

This technique permits all participants to show or explain projects, presentations, creative expressions, or plans they have created. Most participants walk around the room moving from one "station" to another where a few participants show and/or explain their work. After a time, roles are switched and another set of participants present, and so on until everyone who wishes has had an opportunity to present.

Examples of Method:

The Human Rights Education Handbook: "Activity 4: The Body of Human Rights," p. 80; "Model 2: One-day Workshopó

Collective Summary," p. 120.

TECHNIQUE 5: Multi-media Technologies

In the past teachers and facilitators often introduced films and videos to enhance learning, but increasingly learners themselves use technology to create their own presentations. Most schools and organizations in the United States are connected to the internet, and a growing number have access to technologies like Power Point, CD Rom, and video recorders that permit participants to research and organize presentations. Where available, these technologies are powerful tools for human rights education, building useful research and advocacy skills and empowering participants to direct their own learning.

TECHNIQUE 6: Small Group Work

Dividing participants into pairs or groups provides greater opportunities for participation and cooperation. Small group work can generate ideas very quickly and encourage relating personal experience to abstract concepts.

In some cases, the facilitator may wish to set the composition of the small groups (e.g., in order to achieve gender or ethnic balance) but at other times groups might be based on participant choice or some random method (e.g., everyone born in May). Group size can range from two or three to a dozen or more.

Explain clearly the group task, the time to accomplish it, and if and how the group will report on its work. If the group must perform several steps, provide written instructions.

While groups are working, stand back, but be available. Only intervene when a group has misunderstood instructions or asks for help. Remind everyone when the time is almost up.

You may wish to assign roles for participants in the small group. For example ó

1. Resource Person, who takes responsibility to see that everyone has the needed materials;

2. Recorder, who writes down any notes, discussion, or statements resulting from the group's work;

3. Facilitator, who makes sure that everyone gets a turn to speak, keeps the group on task, and watches the time;

4. Spokesperson/Reporter, who reports to the whole group on the small group's activity.

Examples of Method:

The Human Rights Education Handbook: "Activity 3: Actors, Artists, Storytellers, and Poets," p. 80, illustrates small group

performances; "Activity 8: A Dialogue with Your Lettuce," p. 83, illustrates a "jigsaw" relationship; "Model 4: Three-day Workshopó Researching Social-Economic Rights," p. 124, illustrates groups doing research and teaching each other.

First Steps: "Advantages and Disadvantages," illustrates working groups based on gender; "Rights and Responsibilities," illustrates work in pairs.†[]

Here and Now: "Human Rights around the World and at Home" illustrates groups working in a "jigsaw" relationship, []