Our Top Learning Resources on Human Rights
Reading books and writing expressively are very useful tools to help put issues into context.
Children's author Nicola Morgan delivered a very interesting and provocative keynote address at a conference I attended in 2012. Nicola's main points were about the idea that 'all reading is good reading', but she suggested that we had to be mindful of the particular benefits offered by fiction as opposed to non-fiction. Fiction has a greater potential to elicit empathy and sympathy from a reader, according to the research Nicola cited, and this seems perfectly feasible: by putting global issues in the context of a dramatic narrative, we're likely to leave a greater impression on a young person.
The nuances of Nicola's argument are better captured in the blog post which I wrote at the time, but the important issue remains that reading books and writing expressively are very useful tools to help put issues into context. In the lead up to Human Rights Day on Saturday, I wanted to gather together some of our resources and book lists which facilitate discussion and understanding of human rights issues like bullying, discrimination and freedom of expression. So have a look through the list below and see what's on offer - and remember, these are just a small part of our huge stock of resources for teachers and librarians!
Book lists on bullying and prejudice
Pupils have both the right to life free from intolerance and the responsibility to practice tolerance themselves. We've got a wide range of themed book lists for all ages - try our lists on bullying for ages 3-7 and 8-11, and our list of books about prejudice for teens. For the 3-7s, we've also got a book list celebrating difference and a list about resolving conflicts. Our list of dystopian fiction for teens might be useful too. There are more than we can mention here, so head to the book lists section to get the full picture.
Like all our book-based resources, we try to make sure you don't actually need to own a class set of the book to make use of at least some of the activities. Alan Gibbons' novel Hate is a powerful look at the dangers of saying nothing after witnessing intolerance and prejudice - have a browse through and see if there's an activity to inspire you. You can also check out our blog about other novels on this subject!
We hope that our Authors Live event with Chris Hoy and Joanna Nadin inspires children to pursue the things they enjoy. This is one of the rights they have as part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in the resource we produced to support Chris and Joanna's event you'll find ideas to help children discuss and explore this right.
Resources to explore the right to adequate support
Under the UNCRC, children have the right to receive the proper support in the event of trauma, and I think it's also important for them to understand how they can be supportive too. Our Being a Teenager activity pack by teacher Phil Beadle is a perfect tool to explore issues surrounding mental health, bullying and tricky things like crushes, and explores how we can give and receive the right support. Looking further afield, our learning resource for Phil Earle's novels Being Billy and Heroic looks at Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Lari Don's novel Drawing a Veil explores the right to practice religion, and how in the case of two teenage girls it puts strain on a friendship. The novel is a quick and powerful read, and our activity pack gives ideas to help approach the issues it raises.
Loved this best of SBT resources blog post on human rights? You may also be interested in our Authors Live event with Juno Dawson, which deals with mental health and sexuality, or our event with Steve Backshall which encompasses global citizenship and sustainability.