Feel free to change any of the
questions to tailor the activity to the interests and level of
When recording people's answers to each question, only put down
key words. The point of the chart is to help with the discussion
later. After each round, deal briefly with any questions of clarification
or differences in interpretation. Highlight any points that require
more in-depth discussion and agree to return to these at the end.
It is likely that people will give examples that you yourself
may not know about, either because they are obscure or because
they are personal. This should not matter. No one can be expected
to know everything! You can ask people how they know a certain
piece of information and discuss its authenticity and reliability.
Indeed, it is a good opportunity to encourage people to think
critically about information as a matter of principle.
Some of the answers will be controversial. For example, someone
might say that abortion is a denial of the right to life. Some
people in the group may hold this view very strongly; others may
disagree equally strongly. The first learning point is that it
is important to try to understand any issue from all perspectives:
try to establish why people hold the view they do. There are always
conflicts of interests and rights (in this case between the interests
and rights of the mother and the unborn child). Whatever the difference
of opinion or interpretation of rights people should always treat
others whose opinion differs from their own with respect. They
may disagree with their point of view, but they should respect
The second learning point is that we should know about human
rights because they are controversial. It is not clear-cut and
decided once and for all how they should be interpreted and applied;
they need to be reassessed and developed continually. It is therefore
everyone's responsibility to be part of the process of promoting
and protecting human rights.
Suggestions for follow-up
Take one or two of the answers that provoked controversy and
discuss the real life dilemmas that there are when trying to develop
a culture of respect for human rights.
Another way of exploring human rights is through images. Find
out how people see human rights with the activity "What
do you see?". The activity can lead on to many discussions,
for instance, about stereotypes, how we build up our images of
the world and about discrimination.
You may like to go on and consider the ways events are reported
in the media and how the human rights aspects could be given a
higher profile. Try "Making
the news" in the all different all equal education pack.