Rights, Respect & Responsibilities Presentation
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- Introduce the evidence and rationale for the use of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as the basis for enhancing teaching, learning, ethos, attitudes and behaviour.
- Offer age appropriate activities to promote teaching and learning.
- Share examples of existing practice.
- Offer opportunities for reflection
- Offer supportive follow-up activities.
Why Rights, Respect & Responsibilities
- Responsibility of the Government as a consequence of ratifying the Convention. Article 42
- Evidence of impact on teaching and learning, behaviour, attitudes and values in Cape Breton, Canada and Hampshire UK.
- The potential for transforming schools & communities.
- DfES interest. They are funding this training
Rights, Respect & Responsibilities Development context
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
- Integrated rights work into existing curriculum
- Headteacher and teacher meetings
- Parental letter and handbook with FAQs
- Focus on Grade 6 10-11 year olds
Grade 8 13-14 year olds
Developed ‘First Steps’ Project
3 – 7 year olds
Family Learning programmes
Trials of CB approach in KS2 & KS3 Andover schools
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Rights Programme
- Rights knowledge
- Curriculum impact
- Perceived acceptance of others
- Perceived teacher and peer support
- Teacher evaluation
- Self-esteem scale
Research Evidence from Cape Breton, Canada
- Those that received the rights curriculum perceived their classmates to be more accepting of others. Children believed that there were greater levels of peer & teacher support.
- Adolescents showed higher self-esteem and also felt valued.
- Children were more optimistic about their future.
- Children’s increased knowledge about their rights improved behaviour and their understanding of the importance of rights for all.
- Teaching children’s rights necessitated more democratic, egalitarian styles of teaching.
- When teachers model rights the atmosphere of classrooms is perceived to be more supportive.
- Teachers reported a real impact on classroom behaviour (more time spent on teaching). Much more positive atmosphere.
- The research suggests a ‘contagion’ effect, in that learning about one’s own rights results in support for the rights of others, including adults’ and teachers’ right to teach.
- The more teachers used the rights curriculum the higher they rated it. (This included those who were instructed to use it and not just volunteers.)
- Student support for the rights of adults, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities, were significantly related to their teacher’s support for children’s rights.
- Children talk more to parents about what they do at school.
- Improvements in psychological comfort at school and achievement expectations.
Children's responses to rights knowledge interview
What do you think it means to have rights?
Freedom to do what you want
Freedom within limits
Protection from abuse and exploitation
Feeling good and safe
Being entitled to education
Having your basic needs met (family, food, shelter)
Being treated equally
Being free to play with friends
What rights do you think children should have?
To basic needs met (food, shelter, home, health)
To be protected from abuse
To have friends
To have freedom within limits
To be free to do what they want
To have a family and home life
To be respected and treated fairly
To their own identity (language, culture, religion)
To material possession
Mean scores on classroom environment and perceived support measures by class type
Minimum score = 22: Maximum score = 110
(higher score indicates greater sense of attraction to and acceptance by classmates)
Perceived teacher support
Minimum score = 5: Maximum score = 25
(higher score indicates greater perceived support from classroom teacher)
Perceived peer support
Minimum score = 15: Maximum score = 75
(higher score indicates greater perceived support from peers in class)
And in Andover
- Pupils more interested in their work, higher levels of motivation
- More ‘adult’ behaviour from Year 6 – less quarrelsome, more responsible
- Those with challenging behaviour take time out in a ‘calmer’ manner
- Improvement in class ethos, relationships
- Pupils feel they are listened to & shown more respect. More opportunities for speaking & listening
- Pupils talking more to parents about what they do at school
- Follow up their work at home – on the internet
- More wider-world awareness
- Changes in teacher style – more democratic
- Quality of literacy work higher
- Have been heard to tell other children to be quiet as they have a right to an education
Features of Effective Practice
What is so different about this approach ?
- There is explicit teaching of the UN Convention, similar to a body of knowledge.
- Children learn they have rights – now, solely because they are children. They are not earned or are awarded at a certain age.
- It appeals initially to pupils’ self-interest, through which they learn about their responsibilities - the corollary of rights.
- There is continuous reinforcement of the message in corridors and display areas.
- All adults model rights respecting behaviours and promote a culture of respect in classrooms.
- The approach is integrated into a range of subjects (not just PSHE).
- A consistent democratic, egalitarian teaching style.
- The universality of the Convention appeals to children and young people.
- It avoids the teachers’ or the schools’ values being seen as isolated examples of political correctness.
- It allows teachers to be confident about values and not to concern themselves that they are imposing theirs on children who may not have them.
- It acts as a framework for a lot of the schools’ work.
- It allows teachers, schools and children to point to an Authority that is higher than their classroom, the school, their community or their country. It is particularly appropriate in a secular world in the 21st Century
- It demonstrates that codes of conduct are not unique to each school, but come from a set of world-wide principles, informed by the moral precepts of the world religions, but not religious.