Rights and wrongs;Secondary;Reviews;General

26th June 1998 at 01:00
DEVELOPING RIGHTS: Teaching Rights and Responsibilities for ages 11 to 14. By Sheila Harding and Bob Unwin. Oxfam, co BEBC, PO Box 1496, Parkstone, Dorset BH12 3YD. pound;11 + pound;2.20 postage

It's 50 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was formulated by the United Nations and signed by virtually every sovereign state. Though often honoured more in the breach than in the observance, it's nevertheless an enduring yardstick by which we can measure the quality of life around the world.

It is appropriate that Oxfam (slightly older than the declaration) should enhance its impressive education catalogue by publishing this handbook. The authors set out to demonstrate how the concepts of rights and responsibilities can supply a unifying key stage 3 framework for that sometimes amorphous entity, "personal and social education".

While the book's layout isconventional - background information, clear recipes for teaching sequences, appropriate copiable worksheets - there are several distinctive features. There's a welcome emphasis on assessment, "traditionally one of the weakest aspects of PSE teaching". A learning outcomes grid with four (non-national curriculum) base levels is provided, as well as regular pupil self-assessment sheets.

The exploration of rights is given an international context. The right to education, for instance, has material from a South African township, as well as a "select your own teacher" exercise. The right to physical security, linking the plight of Brazilian street children to the problem of bullying in school, is one of several which will help pupils to put their own problems into a sobering global perspective.

'One World Many Issues': The general editor of this book, reviewed in 'Friday', May 15, is Bernard Williams

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