Dear Colleagues, I would like to take this opportunity to share some thoughts on the topic of measurement and evaluation of HRE at primary and secondary schools. As a starting point for my thoughts, I would like to refer to the "Report of Workshop on HRE issues in Human Rights NGOs (available on the HREA listserv archive, Mon, 22 Jul 2002)". In the section on "HRE in the Formal School Education System" the idea of pre- and posttest results of student attitudes and behaviours is presented as a focus for evaluation. While this approach is important, there are a number of challenges that present themselves in terms of implementation. For example: What attitudes and behaviours (and skills) should be focused on? What specific criteria should these pre- and posttests measure? What scales are best for measuring changes in attitudes, behaviours and skills? How will these assessments be constructed and validated? Instead of offering possible answers to these questions, I would like to present a possible approach to answering these questions: create a continuing dialogue between HRE practitioners and researchers. One way of viewing this collaboration would be Donald Schön's idea that practitioners "give their practical problems to the university, and the university, the unique source of research, is to give back to the professions the new scientific knowledge which it will be their business to apply and test." This may seem somewhat divisive, drawing a strong distinction between the two groups, but I interpret it as an illustration of the strengths of both. Each has a role to play in measurement and evaluation, where the practitioners typically have extensive field experience, while the researchers typically have extensive academic experience. The contribution and involvement of researchers may help shed some light on the questions raised above, and provide some direction to move in regarding evaluation in the field of HRE. That being said, I also believe that good evaluation work can be undertaken without extensive research experience. The most important point in terms of evaluation in the field of HRE is to simply document the processes and outcomes of initiatives. While pre- and posttests may be seen as a traditional approach to evaluation, there are many other alternative and interesting approaches to draw from: teacher/student journals, photography, poetry, narratives, collage, song-writing and theatre, to name a few. These are all ways to collect valuable data that can be used as evidence for changes in attitudes, behaviours, and skills. I have learned that the creativity and passion of the HRE community is boundless, and trust that innovative ways of influencing the area of evaluation can develop out of our efforts. Of course, it is imperative to share all evaluation results with the HRE community is essential in moving the evaluation agenda forward. Key to any discussion about evaluation is the concept of follow-up. The context of primary and secondary schools is excellent in allowing long-term follow-up with individuals. It is in this way that: 1) individuals are given enough time to show changes, and 2) any developmental paths can be demonstrated and described. Following students in HRE curricula over a period of 5 years can provide interesting information about changes in attitudes, behaviours, and skills. For example, it may be possible over time to see an increasing sophistication in terms of students' critical thinking and reasoning when faced with various human rights situations. Following teachers who have gone through HRE training over a period of time can also provide information useful in refining future teacher training sessions. In order have deeper discussions on the topic of measurement and evaluation of HRE at the primary and secondary schools, I suggest two ideas for the World Programme. The first suggestion would be the formal establishment of long-term partnerships between practitioners and researchers in the field of HRE. For example, partnerships between NGOs and universities can result in a combination of knowledge and experience that can help: 1) establish targeted indicators for use in measurement and evaluation, and 2) improve the design and development of HRE programming. An initiative to identify academic organizations (or individuals, such as professors and/or graduate students) that are interested in working on this topic can be undertaken. A similar initiative can be carried out with interested local/regional NGOs and/or CBOs. Networking among these organizations and individuals can result in many benefits for the HRE community. The second idea would be the establishment of a virtual research and evaluation repository, with different foci on educational policies, curriculum, textbooks, learning materials, teacher training, extracurricular activities, and the learning environment in schools. This repository would be: 1) a hub for the collection and dissemination of various evaluation processes taking place around the world, as well as 2) an informational resource for practitioners and researchers who are interested in exchanging ideas. With the current state of ICTs, it would be relatively simple to create a space for individuals and organizations to create a learning community centred on HRE research and evaluation. If a culture of "learning as a collective effort" and knowledge-sharing is fostered, such a community would be able to make great contributions to evaluation in the field of HRE. I would be extremely interested in hearing from colleagues about these two suggestions, as well as any others, in regards to evaluation. I believe that the field of HRE deserves our full attention on this important topic, and I know that this community has the motivation and commitment to make future dialogues lively, interesting, creative and valuable. Kevin Chin Educational Psychology, Ph.D. student McGill University, Montreal, Quebec Canada ======== Global Human Rights Education listserv ======== Send mail intended for the list to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education/markup/maillist.php If you have problems (un)subscribing, contact <email@example.com>. **You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please retain the original and listserv source.
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