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Teaching human rights? 'All hell will break loose!'

Cassidy, Claire and Brunner, Richard and Webster, Elaine (2014) Teaching human rights? 'All hell will break loose!'. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 9 (1). pp. 19-33. ISSN 1746-1979

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Abstract

Human rights education is a prominent concern of a number of international organisations and has been dominant on the United Nations’ agenda for the past 20 years. The UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995–2004) has been followed by the World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005–ongoing) and the recently adopted UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. This article shares findings from a project that aimed to gauge the knowledge of human rights education of students undertaking initial teacher education and childhood practice programmes at one university in Scotland. Students were invited to share their experiences of and attitudes towards human rights education. While some students were confident in their approach to human rights education, others identified barriers, including their own knowledge and the structures acting upon them as teachers. Initial conclusions suggest that education students feel ill-equipped to engage with human rights education and that this issue must be addressed in initial teacher education courses.