Teach Your Students About the Evolution of Human Rights with Gale In Context

5 min read

| By Gale Staff|

Teaching high school students about human rights can be a challenge. Not only is the topic complicated, but it can also become controversial. However, introducing your students to human rights concepts helps them better understand the history and develop more informed opinions on current social issues. Encourage your students to research and think critically about human rights history and its impact on the world by connecting them to authoritative content found in Gale In Context.

What is Human Rights Day?

Human Rights Day occurs each year on December 10th—the day the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The United Nations identified several fundamental rights in this declaration, including the right to life, health, free speech, education, social security, and privacy. While the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not international law, it serves as an important symbol of global cooperation and has influenced monumental acts against discrimination and violence.

If you’re looking for an approachable introduction to human rights topics and Human Rights Day in your classroom, look no further than Gale In Context: High School. With a quick keyword search, your students can discover well-organized articles that offer previews in bite-sized summaries. As your students explore these sources further, key concepts and terms are hyperlinked, guiding them through the research process with background information and content on related topics.

Classroom Activity Idea: Did you know the Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains 30 articles? Take the opportunity to assign each of your students a different article to research and develop a more in-depth analysis.

How Can You Recognize Human Rights Day in Your Classroom?

Human Rights Day isn’t a traditional holiday—rather than closing schools and government buildings for celebrations, Human Rights Day is meant to inspire activism.

Each year, the United Nations assigns a theme to the holiday, garnering support for an important global issue. For instance, 2022 is “The Year of Unity and Renewal: Protecting and Preserving our Human Rights Gains.” Organizations may hold rallies or protests to bring attention to a cause on Human Rights Day. Additionally, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded on the holiday.

Classroom Activity Idea: Start your Human Rights Day lesson plan with one of Gale In Context‘s critical-thinking questions, such as asking students how human rights can be prioritized in the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, have students explore engaging news articles, academic journals, videos, and other media in Gale In Context databases to discover relevant topics and develop informed answers.

How Can Teachers Turn Politics into Education?

Even in the context of Human Rights Day, leading a discussion about human rights can be daunting. While bringing politics into the classroom is considered controversial, allowing students to question the hot-button social topics of today helps them learn more about multiple perspectives and develop their own opinions.

Connect your students to a curated collection of resources that present both sides of modern political topics in Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints. With resources covering transgender athletes, abortion rights, the U.S. prison system, and more, Opposing Viewpoints presents accurate, up-to-date content for your students to explore and think critically about the different sides of today’s social issues.

Classroom Activity Idea: It’s time for a debate! Assign students to two different sides of a topic covered in Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints and hold an informed classroom debate citing primary sources from the platform.

Introduce Global Perspectives

Human Rights Day is a global observance, and with Gale In Context: Global Issues, there’s no need to limit your students to U.S. perspectives. With a quick search, Global Issues delivers thousands of resources, including news and magazine articles, from publications around the world. Encourage students to explore a topic from a global perspective, comparing how multiple countries address various human rights issues.

Filters and advanced search tools in Gale In Context: Global Issues allow students to easily find and navigate global sources. Global Issues also provides related articles—once a student finds a relevant source for their topic, a handful of recommended readings are just a click away.

Classroom Activity Idea: Have students research a human rights issue that’s important to them and track how it has evolved in various countries throughout history. For example, students could create a timeline of the legalization of same-sex marriage across the globe.

Celebrate Human Rights Month

Why limit human rights discussions to one day when December is recognized as Universal Human Rights Month? With an abundance of human-rights-related content in Gale In Context resources, you can keep your students immersed in the topic throughout December and provide enriching learning experiences.

Encourage critical thinking outside of the classroom as well by empowering students to independently research human rights topics that spark their interest using Gale in Context resources.

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