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Magazine Issue 2: Values, Rights, Responsibilities
August 2010

This month: Thoughts about Values, Rights, Responsibilities

Article: Values, Rights & Responsibilities
New Resources
Additional Resources
Wise Words

This Month's Article:

Values, Rights & Responsibilities

Values, Rights & Responsibilities An Article looking at the principles that should infuse all our work in school. Also shows where children's rights originated.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Curriculum, PSHE, RE & Philosophy, All Ages

Tags: Rights Responsibilities Values
The History of Children's Rights

On 5th August 1942 Polish doctor and orphanage director Janusz Korkcak was given a simple choice. As his Jewish orphans waited, frightened and alone, on a train bound for Treblinka, he was recognised by an SS guard as the author of one of his children's favourite books. The guard offered to help him escape. Korczak refused, boarded the train, and remained with his orphans as they died in the gas chambers. He chose death, refusing to abandon the children he loved when they needed him most.

Korczak was a remarkable man who lived uncompromisingly by his values and who wrote extensively for and about children. He dedicated his life to their health and welfare. His most influential work was the Declaration of Children's Rights, a text that inspired the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  

Article 13.1

This part of the UN Convention has direct relevance to the design of education at national and classroom level. It goes like this:

The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice

194 countries including those of the UK have signed up to and ratified the convention. Somalia and the US have signed up but have yet to ratify.

UNICEF rose from the ashes of WW2 to provide long-term humanitarian and developmental support for children and mothers in developing countries. Its work is driven by the values embedded in the Rights of the Child and in recent years UNICEF-inspired programmes have been enthusiastically adopted by schools of the developed world.

Rights Respecting Schools

A pioneering UK project is the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award lead by a handful of local authorities including Hampshire. It provides a values framework in which learning, behaviour, thinking and citizenship can flourish. Rather than a values-initiative or a bolt-on fix, this programme underpins all aspects of school life, leadership and decision making. It offers an environment in which self-esteem, morality, respect and global awareness can flourish.

Values and Beliefs

It can be interesting to distinguish between these two ideas. As a rule of thumb think about your reaction when someone criticises or contradicts you. If they are attacking one of your beliefs then you'll probably react in a rational, analytic way. If they attack your values, your response is more likely to be emotional and heart-felt.

For example, if I believe that it's wrong to steal but then someone proposes exceptions (such as theft by a starving child) then I'll probably engage in a debate about the legal issues around theft. But if someone challenges my honesty or trustworthiness I'll probably become angry and indignant.

Values, Rights and Responsibilities

Rights and Responsibilities are the guardians of our values. If we truly value something then we protect it by setting up appropriate and acceptable behaviours - actions that will demonstrate and maintain the value. Let's say we choose to value honesty. This would lead to a right to be told the truth and a responsibility to tell it. If we value human potential, then we have a right to learning and responsibility to let others teach.

Problems come when different people and groups of people value different things. This leads to contradictory rights and responsibilities and  conflicting behaviours. 

In the Classroom

Shared and agreed values, rights and responsibilities in the classroom lay the foundation for effective learning and high academic/non-academic standards. They prepare children for a shrinking world in which they will meet and work with people who value different things to them.

An effective way to embed values and their rights and responsibilities into your practice is simple: model them; bring them to life in who you are, how you teach and how you build effective learning relationships in the classroom.

New Resources:

Use this idea to help groups work together to connect and develop subject themes.

Spiral Thinking

Spiral Thinking A collaborative Thinking Skills Tool helping pupils to make and extend connections between ideas and objects.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Collaborative Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Junior

Tags: Collaboration
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Spiral Thinking Powerpoint

Spiral Thinking Powerpoint A Thinking Tool Templates in Powerpoint, for groups of 4,5 and 6 pupils.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Collaborative Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Junior

Tags: Collaboration
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This month we have part 2 of 190 Ways to Start a Lesson. Starters 21 to 34 are short Fun Games activities that can be adapted to different ages and different subjects. Next time 35-70, Use Your Senses
(May 14: The Ebook is no longer available in parts)

190 Ways To Start A Lesson

190 Ways To Start A Lesson An EBook featuring over 190 diverse ways to begin a lesson. Arranged into 10 sections you'll find a host of simple methods for engaging pupils with their thinking and learning.

Categories: Book & EBook, Teaching & Learning, Curriculum, Any Subject, Educators

Tags: Lesson Starters
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When I wrote stories for surprising stories I got a bit carried away. Corin, my valued editor, had to point out that some of the content might not be suitable for sensitive KS1 and 2 children. But I went ahead anyway. Some I might put together a KS4 Critical Thinking Storybook but for now here's one that Corin censored. (If you're a sensitive adult you might want to skip it)

Pieces of Strange

Pieces of Strange A Story with classroom activities for more mature KS2 and KS3/4 pupils. An ancient evil lies fractured and scattered across modern day England. Where are the pieces and what danger do they pose?

Categories: Story, Creativity, English, RE & Philosophy, Secondary

Tags: Story Creative Thinking
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Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:

Updated Smart Thinking Skills Tools:

I'm working through the old Thinking Tools and updating them in light of experience. Everything from 2003 will be updated and re-issued - 3 updated tools every month - so we should catch up in about 2 years.
Those of you who've been with Thinking Classroom since 2003 might still have originals archived so you'll be able to check up on me to see how I'm altering them.

C3 Thinking

C3 Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool for helping pupils to solve problems, make important decisions and to contemplate the consequences of their actions.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Meta Cognition, Thinking Skills, PSHE, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Decision Making
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V-V Thinking

V-V Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool for developing visual thinking by making links between words and pictures.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Visual Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Infant, Junior

Tags: Visual Thinking
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For Every Child
by Various

For Every Child<br>by Various Fantastic Classroom resource: Rights of the child brought to life by the world's top children's illustrators.

Available from Amazon

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books, Children

Tags: UNCRC Rights Responsibilities

Loving Every Child: Wisdom for Parents
by Janusz Korczak

Loving Every Child: Wisdom for Parents <br>by Janusz Korczak Korczak's timeless wisdom not only for parents but for those who care deeply for our children.

Available from Amazon

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books, Children

Tags: Parenting Nurture

Thinking Visual Lesson Starters for Interactive White Board:

Children like all the activities and in particular this weeks pick me activity which generated loads of discussion!!,
Porchester Junior School, Nottingham

5 different visual lesson starters to engage thinking and creativity
Odd One Out, Links, Pick Me, Great Ideas, Storytime
Images change weekly.

Login and go to Teachers' Toolbox for access

Wise Words:

"Safeguarding the rights of others is the most beautiful and noble end of a human being."
Kahlil Gibran

Next month we think about... Creative Curriculum