The World We Want (LS-PT-535)

Class debate on Human Rights. Are you up for a role-play?

The context

A class debate on Human Rights was the challenge I gave my 11th graders during English lessons. The UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 were our inspiration, hence the title of the LS. Europeana and Historiana were the ideal platforms to take the students on a journey through the past. That way, they learned how hard the fight for human rights has been. Group work was engaging and the class debate was the best way to exchange different opinions. They had to play the role of activists standing for a civic movement/institution. Each team had to know who they would represent, how this originated, and what they stand for. My 17-year-old students are very autonomous and tech-savvy, so the online research was rather accessible and provided them with the chance of expanding their knowledge on such important matters. They loved it!

Learning Outcomes of the Class Debate on Human Rights

Firstly, the group work made students work as a team, divide tasks, conduct research on the suggested links, and get to know all about the movement/institution they would stand for.

Secondly, students were also able to expand their knowledge of the hardships of the process of standing for human rights. Throughout the process, they have developed their digital competencies by doing research work on the Europeana and Historiana platforms. Moreover, they had the opportunity to enhance their critical thinking competencies in group work discussions and class debates. The feedback activity after the debate was essential for students to develop their critical thinking competencies as well.

Students during the online debate

Students’ feedback

To be completely honest, I got really surprised when I started the research with my group. I loved my group’s involvement. We were all motivated to search for this cause and know everything about it. We had a lot to say about it, and the questions deprived us to show further knowledge. Still, it is always good to learn more about such an important movement.

The next time we should have a little bit more time to discuss with the team.

More questions to discuss between the teams.

I really liked this activity because we could practice speaking in a more spontaneous way, without having the phrases memorized and also because we learn more about serious problems in our society.

It was a lovely activity, there was so much teamwork and everyone was doing great.

If we did this in a classroom environment, it would have gone way better.

It was a “challenge” to do this online debate, despite the difficulties and the time I think everyone did well.

I would like to do more works like this!

Students during the online debate

Teaching Outcomes of the Class Debate on Human Rights

Resorting to Europeana and Historiana is a good strategy to guide students into safe platforms with diversified factual content which they can use in all the subjects. Project-based learning and group working are the best strategies to make students learn by doing and feel more confident as they are working with their peers. To do this kind of work, you may set the rules and even assessment rubrics.

Europeana and Historiana are exceptional platforms, and unique on the account of the quality of resources included. Nonetheless, there is so much diversity and quantity of resources that I feel that, even though the platforms are well organized, the students need some kind of guidance on where to find what they need or how to include them in their work. Not all the students feel motivated in digging up the past. My students had no problems in using the platforms as they were given links to explore due to the limited time for research.

All in all, this was an engaging activity, although I would adjust the discussion issues so that more students could take part in the discussion.

During the online lesson

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Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the International Institute of Social History.

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