As a qualitative researcher, with a particular interest in case study methods, I set out to investigate children’s realities and lived experiences in school concerning their understanding, perspectives and actualities of children’s rights. This knowledge will be formed and generated through qualitative approaches which are situated in the realm of human science as it aims to investigate and interpret lived experiences.
What are the differing perspectives and experiences of school-based human rights education for children, young people and teachers in schools in the UK?
The end of the last decade (2019) marks the 30th Anniversary of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC); a legally binding treaty that addresses the need to protect, promote and educate children of all ages and their fundamental rights (Save the Children, 2019). Yet, what knowledge, understanding and perspectives of children's rights do teachers in the UK have and how far is this knowledge a priority in the agenda of education policy in the UK? My research interest is in investigating how far school-based rights education is a reality for children in education in the UK.
In a modern society, which is politically fueled, and a media-centred culture where young people are being exposed regularly to humanitarianism issues and ethically challenging political agendas around the world, the need for a pedagogical foundation of human rights education (HRE) seems paramount for the development of students’ understanding of the world around them (Chonghaile, 2014; Tibbitts, 2002). As educators, our aim should not therefore primarily be to educate students in the knowledge of our own subject but also, we should bear our duty of care for the young people we teach to recognise their rights, respect the rights of others and become global citizens (UNICEF, 2016). As Article 29 of the UNCRC (United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child) states, the goals of education are to ‘develop each child’s respect for others, human rights, their own and other cultures’ (UNCRC). Furthermore, Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general once said:
No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts itself off from its youth severs its lifeline; it is condemned to bleed to death. (cited in Bandilli, 2016)
Therefore, our role as educators includes the teaching of the rights of the child and having a deep-centred knowledge of the rights to be able to convey to students how they have a “useful role to play in the [wider] global community” (UNICEF, 2017). So that students develop their own moral growth and understanding to be conscious advocates for human rights and social justice.
Master, School of Education
Assistant Leader of English (KS4) and Leader of Media Studies
- LB2361 Curriculum
- Children’s Rights
- Education Policy
- LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
- Experiences of rights
- Children’s rights pedagogy
- Rights Respecting