London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Who cares? Students’ understanding of human rights

Author(s) Heldt, I.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2013  
Editor P. Cunningham (ed.) Identities and Citizenship Education: Controversy, crisis and challenges  
Age group -  
A substantial and large body of findings across disciplines supports the constructivist claim that learners enter the classroom with a diverse set of intuitive ideas about the world around them, and that learners can only make sense of new information in terms of their existing understanding. In light of current evidence that prior knowledge is a major factor influencing learning, it is striking that there is almost no research on how young people perceive key concepts and processes related to democratic citizenship and human rights. This paper seeks to address that gap in the literature by reporting on an ongoing German research project focusing on grade nine students’ understanding of human rights. It represents a shift from past research, which has focused solely on attitudes towards or knowledge of human rights without investigating the views that informs an individual’s mind-set. Keywords: Human Rights Education, Prior Knowledge, Qualitative Research

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