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ERIC Number: EJ924955
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 19
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Teaching to Transform, Transforming to Teach: Exploring the Role of Teachers in Human Rights Education in India
Bajaj, Monisha
Educational Research, v53 n2 p207-221 2011
Background: Human rights education initiatives have proliferated in the past three decades and can be found in policy discussions, textbook reforms and grassroots initiatives across the globe. This article specifically explores the role of teachers in human rights education (HRE) by focusing on a case study of one non-governmental organisation's (NGO) programme operating across India. Purpose: This article argues that teachers' "own" transformation should be central to discussions of the educational reform, and presents data from an NGO-run HRE initiative in India. Additionally, while HRE teachers may be encouraged to equalise power relations within the classroom, many semi-literate communities hold teachers (and textbooks) in high regard, suggesting that their advocacy of human rights may prove instrumental for HRE to go beyond the school walls, the ultimate aim of the educational project. Evidence from India contributes to the discussion of HRE by presenting teachers' experiences with training and their use of existing hierarchies to effect change in primarily rural, semi-literate communities. Sample: Participants in this study included 118 HRE teachers, 625 students, 80 staff and policy makers of HRE, and eight parents. Observations of teacher trainings included hundreds more participants. The majority of student respondents came from "tribal" (indigenous) or Dalit (previously called "untouchable") communities, both comprising the most marginalised sections of Indian society. Design and methods: This study was primarily qualitative and was carried out from August 2008 to January 2010. Methods included semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and observations of teacher trainings in human rights and human rights camps for students. Results: The study found the following: (1) teacher training that is appropriate, contextualised and engaging incentivises participation and legitimises both the message and messengers of human rights; (2) teachers' own transformation and interest in human rights can benefit their households, schools and communities in multiple ways; and (3) teachers and textbooks can provide legitimacy for human rights and be vital community resources for intervening in abuses. Conclusions: Further attention to the role of teachers in HRE can illuminate how HRE overlays and is mediated by existing community realities and societal structures. (Contains 1 figure and 11 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: India