Celebrating Diversity, Upholding Human Rights
Susana Nunez, Education Officer, Educate Together
In this edition which focuses on our Educate Together motto, “Learn together to live together,” our Ethos Guidance feature delves into the thought-provoking interplay of Rights versus Beliefs.
In Educate Together, our commitment extends beyond providing spaces where everyone feels welcome, heard and respected, we actively champion the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its counterpart the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Our Learn Together and Ethical Education curricula are informed and built upon this human rights bedrock.
In Educate Together schools, we actively promote environments that foster respect for diversity, encourage critical thinking, and facilitate safe and open discussions where differences in opinion are welcomed. Such teaching and learning takes place within a human rights framework. The role of the teacher is to facilitate exploration and learning within this framework and to discourage discourse and actions that may encroach upon the human rights of others.
Achieving this balance is challenging. This becomes particularly relevant when teaching or managing controversial issues, emphasizing the importance of keeping our commitment to rights at the forefront.
Listed below are some resources which will help create safe classrooms spaces and prompt informed discussion:
E-learning – explore Educate Together’s LITTLE course. Start with module 1 which provides Guidance on creating a classroom climate conductive to Ethical Education before delving into module 5 “Managing conflict and facilitating dialogue on controversial issues”. The aim of this module is to:
- Develop your skills and confidence in discussing potentially contentious or controversial issues with students in class
- Facilitate safe and respectful discussions of controversial issues with students in your classroom
- Prepare you to use a range of teaching methodologies and strategies to help facilitate respectful discussion and debate
- Enable you to apply a number of strategies to help develop students’ listening and communication skills
Here are links to useful resources on the Educate Together ethos guidance platform:
- ‘Some people believe’ poster
- Teaching Ethical Education
- Ethical Education Classroom
- Tackling Controversial Issues – CDVEC Curriculum Development Unit
- Teaching Controversial Issues – Council of Europe publication
- Teaching controversial issues – Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment
- External Resources from Solutions Not Sides provide an education programme that focuses on providing humanising encounters, diverse narratives and critical-thinking tools in order to empower young people with the knowledge, empathy and skills to promote dialogue and conflict resolution, and to challenge prejudice. Linked here are excellent teaching resources for addressing the war in Israel-Palestine.