Part IV
A. Methods for Human Rights Education

Because it assumes that everyone has the right to an opinion and respects individual differences, participatory methodologies have proven especially effective for human rights education. Going beyond factual content to include skills, attitudes, values, and action requires an educational structure that is "horizontal" rather than "hierarchical." Its democratic structure engages each individual and empowers her or him to think and interpret independently. It encourages critical analysis of real-life situations and can lead to thoughtful and appropriate action to promote and protect human rights.

The methodologies described below are used in a great variety of learning environments, both formal and informal, for a limitless number of topics. However, they have in common certain features that make them especially appropriate for people of all ages to learn about human rights:

• Promotion of personal enrichment, self-esteem, and respect for the individual;

• Empowerment of participants to define what they want to know and to seek information for themselves;

• Active engagement of all participants in their own learning and a minimum of passive listening;

• Encouragement of non-hierarchical, democratic, collaborative learning environments;

• Respect for the experience of participants and recognition of a variety of points of view;

• Encouragement of reflection, analysis, and critical thinking;

• Engagement of subjective and emotional responses, as well as cognitive learning;

• Encouragement of behavioral and attitudinal change;

• Encouragement of risk taking and using mistakes as a source of learning;

• Emphasis on skill building and practical application of learning;

• Recognition of the importance of humor, fun, and creative play for learning.

Most educators combine a variety of methods and techniques such as those described in this section. When selecting methods, educators should always be aware that some methods may be culturally inappropriate for some groups (e.g., physical contact, graphic arts) or require unfamiliar or unavailable resources (e.g., access to internet or library resources).


Following each methodology described on the following pages are examples of how it can be applied drawn from The Human Rights Education Handbook or from the following manuals available on the Internet:

• Amnesty International, First Steps: A Manual for Starting Human Rights Education

• Claude, Richard, The Bells of Freedom

• Flowers, Nancy, ed., Human Rights Here and Now: Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Here and Now).

• Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, The ABC of Human Rights Education (ABC).


METHOD 1: Brainstorming

METHOD 2: Case Studies

METHOD 3: Closings

METHOD 5: Debates and Negotiations

METHOD 6: Discussion

METHOD 7: Dramatizations

METHOD 8: Energizers

METHOD 9: Films and Videos

METHOD 10: Field Trips

METHOD 11: Games

METHOD 12: Hearings and Tribunals

METHOD 13: Icebreakers and Introductions

METHOD 14: Interpretation of Images

METHOD 15: Interviews

METHOD 16: Jigsaw Activities

METHOD 17: Journal Writing

METHOD 18: Media

METHOD 19: Mock Trials

METHOD 20: Open-Ended Stimulus

METHOD 21: Presentations

METHOD 22: Research Projects

METHOD 23: Ranking and Defining Exercises

METHOD 24: Simulations

METHOD 25: Storytelling

METHOD 26: Surveying Opinion and Information Gathering

METHOD 27: Webbing Activities