Teaching human rights in schools: ‘Who am I to say that democracy is the right way? – OUP Blog

Posted April 4th, 2016 in bias, education, human rights, media, news, school children, teachers by sally

‘“What could very easily happen with teaching about human rights is indoctrination…so let’s say someone says that racism isn’t wrong. Okay, so what would happen is that ‘racism is wrong. You have to learn it’. That’s the way it would be taught… Actually, I think a debate around that is needed, because I don’t think you can say that intrinsically racism is wrong. You can say that as a society, we’ve formed a set of values that have concluded that racism is wrong.”

When a primary school teacher says something like this to you as a researcher, it makes you sit up and take notice. Whilst it would be comforting to think that this is simply the isolated perspective of one wayward teacher, my research into teachers’ perceptions of educating primary school children about human rights was punctuated by similarly troubling viewpoints. One teacher found it difficult to talk about the atrocities that happened at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp without telling the children in her classroom that “this is the most heinous crime ever imagined”, following this up with “and you can’t do that, so it’s very difficult.” Another was loathe to teach that democracy was “the right way,” because she didn’t want to influence, but rather to simply “open children’s eyes.” Her final comment on this issue being “who am I to say that democracy is the right way?”’

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OUP Blog, 4th April 2016

Source: http://blog.oup.com