Felisa Tibbitts: A Primer for Selecting Democratic and Human Rights Education Teaching Materials

Citizenship Education -- Alternative Curriculum for Upper Elementary Level (ages 10-15) is an original curriculum developed by a Czech primary school teacher on the basis of several years of experience in teaching an alternative civics course. The curriculum covers one hour teaching per week for a full year.

The curriculum is written in an expository manner for teachers, with key ideas and talking points, followed by questions and exercises for students. The children often work in teams, and guest speakers are recommended for several topics. The teacher can adapt and elaborate the curriculum, depending upon local interests and needs.

The three organizing themes are: Me, Me and You, and You, Me, Us. There is a strong emphasis on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, interactive methodologies, project work, and community involvement. The curriculum also suggests whole school activities for events such as UN Day and ways to evaluate the children.

A key strength of this alternative curriculum is its comprehensiveness, covering not only the lessons in class, but also links with the whole school and local community. Moreover, the lessons are developed in such a way that the children's personal and classroom experiences are elicited as the basis for learning, moving from these to the meaning of equality, fairness, rights, responsibility and freedom. The curriculum is uniquely sensitive to the daily realities of children, and can be easily adapted to other environments. It is also a rare curriculum, since it was developed in Central and Eastern Europe, extracting the most successful ideas from abroad for teaching human rights and citizenship education.

The section presented is taken from the first theme "Me", and is the beginning of the full-year curriculum. This section gives the reader an idea about the skillful use of the children's previous knowledge in the lesson, the encouragement of empathy and sensitivity in the classroom, and links with the local community and global issues.

The other two sections in the booklet take up the remaining themes, with teacher narratives, questions, and suggestions for activities.


Title: Citizenship Education -- Alternative Curriculum for Upper Elementary Level
Author: Jana Ondrácková
Publisher: Czech Helsinki Committee
Place and date of publication: Prague, 1995
Languages: Czech and English
Total pages: 17 (English translation)
Form: booklet
Address: Pstovni Schranka c.4, 119 00 Praha 1 Jeleni CZECH REPUBLIC


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