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Building Blocks for Improving Human Rights Education within Initial Teacher Education in Scotland A Report by the Centre for Human Rights in Practice, University of Warwick January 2015 written by Alison
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Building Blocks for Improving Human Rights Education within Initial Teacher Education in Scotland A Report by the Centre for Human Rights in Practice, University of Warwick January 2015 written by Alison Struthers Building Blocks for Improving Human Rights Education within Initial Teacher Education in Scotland 1 Acknowledgements The author would like to thank Dr James Harrison, Associate Professor, School of Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Human Rights in Practice for his assistance with carrying out this project and for his helpful comments and feedback on earlier drafts of this report. Thanks also to Shivaun Chandiramani and Natalie Threlfall for their dedicated research assistance during the early stages of the project. Advisory Committee The author wishes to thank the members of the project s Advisory Committee for their feedback and recommendations on earlier drafts of this report: Cathy Begley (Participation and Education Officer, Scotland s Commissioner for Children and Young People); Alan Britton (Senior University Teacher, University of Glasgow); Claire Cassidy (Senior Lecturer & Deputy Head of School, University of Strathclyde); Linsey Crooks (independent rights consultant); Elizabeth Curtis (Lecturer & College Co-ordinator, University of Aberdeen); Charlotte Dwyer (Global Education Advisor, Scotdec); Rami Ousta (Chief Executive Officer, Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure in Scotland); Tanveer Parnez (Director of National Development, Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure in Scotland); and Elaine Watts (Teaching Fellow, University of Strathclyde) Interviewees The author additionally wishes to extend further thanks to those members of the Advisory Committee who were interviewed as part of the research process (Alan Britton, Claire Cassidy and Elizabeth Curtis), together with additional thanks to John I Anson (Director of ITE, University of Stirling), Henry Maitles (Assistant Dean (Education), University of the West of Scotland), Teresa Moran (Senior Lecturer & Depute Dean, University of Dundee) and Hamish Ross (Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh) for their helpful comments and suggestions during the interviews. Thanks also to Morag Redford (ITE Programme Leader, University of the Highlands and Islands) for providing information on the new ITE programme at the University. 2 Building Blocks for Improving Human Rights Education within Initial Teacher Education in Scotland Table of Contents Executive Summary...4 Chapter 1: Introduction...6 Chapter 2: Human Rights Education in Initial Teacher Education in Scotland...9 Chapter 3: Current HRE Practice in Scottish Higher Education Institutions...14 Chapter 4: What is Needed to Improve HRE in ITE in Scotland?...19 Chapter 5: Recommendations for Reform...22 Appendix I: HRE in ITE as Required by International Human Rights Law...24 Appendix II: HRE within ITE in Other Countries...27 List of Abbreviations BEd Bachelor of Education BEMIS Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure in Scotland CfE Curriculum for Excellence CPD Continuing Professional Development DECs Development Education Centres EAL English as an Additional Language E&Os Experiences and Outcomes GTCS General Teaching Council for Scotland GTCS Standards GTCS Standards for Provisional Registration HRE Human Rights Education HEI Higher Education Institution ICESCR International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights IDEAS International Development Education Association of Scotland ITE Initial Teacher Education PGDE Professional Graduate Diploma in Education RME Religious and Moral Education RRSA Rights Respecting Schools Award SCCYP Scotland s Commissioner for Children and Young People UDHR Universal Declaration of Human Rights UNCRC United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child UNDHRET United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training UNWPHRE United Nations World Programme for Human Rights Education Building Blocks for Improving Human Rights Education within Initial Teacher Education in Scotland 3 Executive Summary Introduction The provision of Human Rights Education (HRE) within formal schooling is considered to be necessary not only for enabling children to recognise human rights issues in their own lives, but also for empowering them to stand up for their rights and for the rights of others, and to feel that it is within their power to take action to promote and defend human rights. The provision of HRE within formal education is therefore an important obligation upon states under the international legal framework. For teachers to be able to provide effective HRE in their classrooms, they must themselves receive adequate instruction in HRE within their own teacher education or training programmes. In accordance with the provisions of various international instruments and initiatives, therefore, states are additionally required to promote adequate training in human rights for teachers, trainers and other educators. HRE must constitute a compulsory element of domestic Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes in order to meet international obligations in this area. It is the case, however, that education or training in HRE is sparse or inconsistent within current programmes of ITE in Scotland, 1 which in turn translates into fragmented HRE provision in classroom teaching. This project addressed this issue by engaging with those universities in Scotland that currently offer programmes of ITE to determine the most effective means of improving HRE training within their courses, and by providing recommendations for reform based upon these findings. Methodology Following an initial desk-based scoping exercise establishing the extent of HRE within programmes of ITE in Scotland, semistructured interviews were carried out with a relevant staff member from each of the Scottish Higher Education Institutions currently offering ITE: the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highlands and Islands, Stirling, Strathclyde and the West of Scotland. These members of staff offered suggestions on the most effective means for increasing HRE provision and identified some of the potential problems to be avoided. An Advisory Committee with a wealth of expertise in the field then provided feedback and input on the report and its recommendations. The Committee consisted of representatives from the following organisations: Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure in Scotland (BEMIS); Scotdec; Scotland s Commissioner for Children and Young People (SCCYP); the University of Aberdeen; the University of Glasgow; and the University of Strathclyde. It also included an independent rights consultant employed by Local Authorities and schools to embed the UNCRC within schools in Scotland (see page 14 for full details of the Advisory Committee). Report Overview Chapter 1 of this report provides information on why the provision of HRE is important within formal schooling and why in turn it should be considered an essential component of preservice teacher education. It also highlights why the current project is necessary by identifying the absence of existing research into the full extent and sufficiency of HRE within programmes of ITE in Scottish universities. Chapter 2 provides an overview of ITE in Scotland and explores the scope for HRE provision within the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. It identifies shortcomings in the current extent and sufficiency of HRE both within the curriculum itself and within education policy governing ITE, and draws upon valuable existing research to demonstrate the paucity of HRE within current teaching practice. Chapter 3 begins by providing an overview of the research methods used in carrying out this project. It then explores in detail the extent of HRE training within current programmes of ITE offered by each of the relevant Scottish universities. The findings show that each Scottish ITE provider is delivering elements of HRE within its syllabus, but the extent to which it features within ITE programmes varies considerably between institutions. This results in fragmented HRE provision across the relevant Scottish universities. Chapter 4 summarises the key suggestions made, and potential problems identified, by the representatives from each of the Scottish universities currently offering ITE programmes. In particular, most of the representatives expressed a preference for a web-based resource, and many advised that such a resource should link expressly to the teaching requirements under Curriculum for Excellence. Chapter 5 sets out recommendations for reform based upon the findings from this report. The recommendations reflect the suggestions made by the representatives from each of the relevant Scottish universities and would therefore be likely be agreed to by the majority of ITE providers. Whilst there is potential scope for more comprehensive reform in this area in the future, the recommendations seek to reflect what is achievable and most likely to work in the current educational landscape. They should therefore be considered as building blocks for improving HRE provision within ITE. Implementation of the recommendations in this report would result in a core of required components for HRE that ITE providers could then build upon to suit the needs of their particular programmes. This core would provide a foundation of HRE within ITE that would not only increase the current scope and extent of HRE in ITE and classroom practice, but would also be likely to stimulate progression and future development in this field. The recommendations are as follows: Recommendation 1 The inclusion of HRE within ITE should be made compulsory and this change should be reflected by amendment to the GTCS Standards. Competence in HRE should be included as an express requirement of provisional registration with the GTCS and would fit naturally within the social justice element of Learning for Sustainability. 4 Building Blocks for Improving Human Rights Education within Initial Teacher Education in Scotland Recommendation 2 Given the current structure of ITE programmes within Scottish universities, the inclusion of HRE should be facilitated through the development of a flexible and nonprescriptive web-based resource that is made available to Scottish ITE providers. Footnotes 1. See e.g. BEMIS, A Review of Human Rights Education in Schools in Scotland (March 2013) at 47. The resource should: - encourage teachers to engage in critical thinking rather than seek to provide them with one-size-fits-all teaching materials; - provide general information on human rights and HRE and why they are important; - focus on practical training methodologies and advise on how human rights information can be translated into ageappropriate classroom activities; - assist teachers in recognising human rights elements within topics and provide guidance on how to embed HRE within their existing teaching practices; - help teachers to signpost their teaching practice relating to HRE; - highlight where relevant links can be made to Curriculum for Excellence; - direct teachers towards useful existing resources on human rights and HRE; - include relevant video clips; - suggest issues and questions for classroom discussion; - make recommendations for cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching to assist in the mainstreaming of HRE; and - target human rights issues that teachers are particularly likely to face in practice. Recommendation 3 The resource should be developed collaboratively with input from NGOs, policymakers, academics, teaching practitioners and children. Recommendation 4 Training on the use of the web-based resource should be offered to ITE providers to ensure that its contents are utilised to their fullest potential. This training should involve on-going engagement through the provision of support and monitoring between ITE providers and the trainers. Recommendation 5 ITE providers should continue to build upon their relationships with relevant existing networks, such as IDEAS and the Development Education Centres, in order to further expand and embed HRE and global citizenship within their programmes. Building Blocks for Improving Human Rights Education within Initial Teacher Education in Scotland 5 Chapter 1: Introduction Key Findings: HRE has a central role to play in building a universal culture of human rights and in empowering learners to stand up for their own rights and the rights of others. The provision of HRE within Initial Teacher Education is a key requirement of the international HRE framework. This project fills a gap in the existing literature as the full extent and sufficiency of HRE within ITE in Scotland has not been the subject of comprehensive study. 1.1 Project Overview The aim of this project is to identify and make recommendations for addressing the deficiencies in the scope and content of Human Rights Education (HRE) within programmes of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) at Scottish Higher Education Institutions (HEI). Current practice will be assessed and examples of good practice at the institutions will also be identified where relevant. Since the mid-1990s, there has been a marked increase in the number of international instruments and initiatives addressing HRE. Many of the most prominent and significant examples of these documents make specific reference to the importance of the inclusion of HRE within teacher education or training programmes. In particular, both the current phase of the UN World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing) (UNWPHRE) and the recently adopted UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (2011) (UNDHRET) contain express reference to the need for teachers to receive adequate training in HRE. Building upon research data that BEMIS collected during their extensive mapping exercise conducted to ascertain the level of engagement with HRE in the formal education sector in Scotland 2, this research focuses specifically on HRE within ITE in Scotland. The objectives of this report are to: Evaluate and assess the extent and scope of HRE within current programmes of ITE at Scottish HEIs, including both (i) highlighting examples of current good practice; and (ii) identifying current deficiencies that often result in teachers not incorporating HRE into their classroom teaching; Gauge interest in the development of a HRE module or resource for ITE and ascertain ITE provider preferences for the scope and content of such a module or resource; and Make recommendations for policy change in this area directed towards both ITE providers and policy makers in the field more widely. 1.2 Why is Human Rights Education Necessary in Initial Teacher Education? If we are to have real peace in this world, we shall have to begin with the children Gandhi From such ideas about children having a central role to play in the creation of a just and peaceful world has come the development of HRE in schools as the means of inculcating in learners the necessary knowledge and values to allow this to happen. With roots in the 1945 Charter of the United Nations, the concept of HRE has grown steadily in prominence and significance on the international stage, and has witnessed in the past two decades a proliferation of instruments and initiatives aiming to further its cause. HRE refers broadly to education and training that aims to contribute to the building of a universal culture of human rights through teaching about human rights and fundamental freedoms. It has historically been viewed largely as an enabling right, for logically one can only recognise and act upon a violation of their rights if one has sufficient pre-existing knowledge and understanding of those rights, though in 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) established HRE as a distinct and freestanding right. It contains a dedicated provision on HRE asserting that: Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. 3 In the intervening years, the right to HRE has been further refined and developed. Though having been described by an expert in the field as something of a slogan in search of a definition, 4 the most recent United Nations initiative to exclusively address HRE defines the concept as involving education: (a) About human rights, which includes providing knowledge and understanding of human rights norms and principles, the values that underpin them and the mechanisms for their protection; (b) Through human rights, which includes learning and teaching in a way that respects the rights of both educators and learners; (c) For human rights, which includes empowering persons to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others. 5 The UN thus requires education about, through and for human right or, as paraphrased by a leading HRE NGO, education concerning respectively what one should learn about human rights, how one should learn it, and why it is important. 6 Despite the aspirational words of the UDHR, human rights abuses are still prevalent today. News reports abound with accounts of serious human rights violations connected with war, gender-based violence, authoritarian political regimes, racism, and so on. Similarly, notwithstanding the more focused instructions for HRE within more recent UN instruments, it is likely that in our schools many of our children remain unfamiliar with the concept of human rights, and have little or no understanding of the human rights protections to which they are entitled. Some would argue that learners of school age do 6 Building Blocks for Improving Human Rights Education within Initial Teacher Education in Scotland not need to have an awareness of these concepts, but many others are resolute that the only way for a child to recognise abuses of human rights in their own lives is to be taught that they are entitled to these rights by virtue of being human, irrespective of age. HRE is arguably important on a broader scale too, for it aims to empower learners to stand up for their own rights and for the rights of others, and to feel that it is within their power to take action to promote and defend human rights. By experiencing full and active participation in an educational setting, and by learning explicitly about the significance of human rights, learners should feel that they are able to contribute to the creation of a just and peaceful world in which the rights of all human beings are respected. In this regard, it has been suggested that when instilled in learners from an early age, the values emphasised through HRE: Can contribute to both the reduction of human rights violations and the building of free, just and peaceful societies. Human rights education is also increasingly recognised as an effective strategy to prevent human rights abuses. 7 A HRE framework in schools thus enables learners to not only recognise and act upon human rights violations in their own lives, but on a broader scale also empowers them to contribute towards the building of a universal culture of human rights that upholds the ideals of peace, dignity, non-discrimination and respect. The importance of its inclusion within formal education therefore seems beyond doubt, yet it can reasonably be suggested that it is notable by its absence in many classrooms across Scotland. At a 2011 conference on HRE organised by BEMIS, 8 for example, teachers who attended showed a lack of awareness of HRE as a distinct concept and also highlighted a lack of knowledge and confidence with regards to the teaching of HRE. 9 The subsequent mapping exercise conducted by BEMIS substantiated this finding by demonstrating through survey data that
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