Celebrating Human Rights – Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All!

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Classroom Application
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My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

– Desmond Tutu, South African Theologian and Human Activist

In December, we celebrate Universal Human Rights Month, which honors the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), an international document adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948. The Universal Declaration states basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. This year’s Human Rights Day also launched a year-long campaign to celebrate the upcoming 75th anniversary of the UDHR on December 10, 2023.

Discussing and teaching students about human rights can feel challenging. These are tough conversations, but they are also important. Your classroom provides a valuable opportunity to build a community that will instill a sense of safety and belonging in all students.

Celebrating Universal Human Rights Month is just as important as any other holiday. So how do we teach human rights to students? Here are a few starting points:

Explore the Universal Declaration

The Universal Declaration, written 74 years ago, isn’t usually reviewed in schools, but the following resources can help you and your students dive into it.

Use Books to Explore the Issues of Human Rights Around the World

Let Your Students Take the Lead

There’s no one way to teach this challenging subject. Some of you may have done a single lesson plan on December 10, while others might be completing a month-long unit. Regardless of your approach, I invite you to let your students take the reins. Provide them with a foundation on the subject and then see where they would like to go with this topic. You can guide them as you encourage them to lead with curiosity. You might even encourage them to learn what steps they can take to help protect the rights of all humans on this planet.

I hope you’ll bring this vital topic to the forefront of your classroom this December. Be sure to let us know what you and your students learn in the comments below!

About the author: Erica De Los Santos

Erica De Los Santos is a Learning Experience Designer with a wide range of experiences in education. From her work in the Peace Corps, to helping teachers as a SEL and Cultural Proficiency and Inclusiveness Specialist, she has developed a deep understanding of pedagogical practices that help teachers to propel all students to academic success. When she’s not working on classroom applications, Erica enjoys running and works to develop inclusive environments for other runners.

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