Human Rights Education: An Elementary School Level Case Study By Megumi Yamasaki Ph. D. Thesis Completed June 2002 University of Minnesota Education Policy & Administration/Comparative & International Development Education Chapter 1



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Comparative Analysis: Interview vs. Questionnaire


The researcher then compared the analysis of students’ interview and questionnaire responses. The researcher matched up each analysis sub-heading with an appropriate question from the questionnaire. She used them as sub-headings for this section. In addition, she used all the questionnaire questions as a guideline for the HRE instructor’s curriculum contents. Finally, she compared all the questions against what students listed as human rights topics and contents of HRE.

The Importance of HRE


The researcher compared between Importance of HRE from interview analysis and Question 13 from questionnaire analysis. There were three main categories that applied to both interviews and questionnaires regarding why the students felt that HRE was important or beneficial to them. There were (a) child labor-related issues, (b) discrimination-related issues, and (c) ways in which they could use human rights for themselves and others. In both interview and questionnaire, many students answered that HRE was important because they now knew what was going on in the world, especially how children were treated. Also, both indicated that the students felt HRE was significant because they learned a lot about discrimination and how important it was for them to know not to discriminate against people.

Human Rights Definition

The researcher compared between Human Rights Definition from interview analysis and Question 2 from questionnaire analysis. There were commonly mentioned contents for both questions. They were child labor issues; children’s rights to education; rights to basic needs, such as food, housing and decent pay; and responsibility for others’ rights. The most-mentioned issue in the definition of human rights and the one that resulted in the students’ lifted veil of ignorance was child labor. For both interviews and questionnaires, the students made a connection between child labor issues and the right to education.



The general comments from the interviews, such as the definition of human rights as “the rights of everyone” were reflected in the questionnaires as well. The students commented that after HRE, they had changed their behaviors toward other people to include respect and responsibility. These comments were connected to discrimination issues, which id why the researcher believes that being against discrimination directly relates to working for everyone’s rights. Because the students believed that all people should have rights, they were against any kind of discrimination.

Moral Development


The researcher compared between Moral Development from interview analysis and Question 13 from interview analysis. The researcher can say that between the two questions, the students felt that HRE helped them to better themselves, such as they knew now what was the wrong thing to do and how they could treat others better. Quite a few comments were related to discrimination and what they could do about it. Several students stopped teasing others and talking about people.

What Happens Abroad


The researcher compared between What happens abroad from interview analysis and Question 6 from questionnaire analysis. The questionnaire answers went in depth into how the students feel about things happening abroad, especially related to children. The students expressed their deep feelings about these children’s living conditions in other countries. Although the interviews responses were less descriptive of students’ feelings toward children, both summed up the students’ concerns about children’s living conditions, and lack of basic necessities (such as food, shelter, and health care). In the interview, a couple of students mentioned the importance of doing something for children’s situations abroad while they were still in the United States; one was to stop child labor, by not purchasing the child labor products, and another was awareness of human rights violations in the world and continuous education about them.

Child Labor/Underpaid-Unfair Treatment


The researcher compared between Child labor/underpaid-unfair treatment from interview analysis and Question 10 from interview analysis. From the interviews, the researcher could find out what the students have learned regarding child labor. They listed how the children in the world were treated unequally and used for child labor. From the questionnaire question 10 and the interview analysis category “protesting for others,” the researcher could find out what the students did with the learned information about child labor. Both the interview and questionnaire analysis found that the students had changed their behavior as consumers based on the knowledge of child labor. Both analyses showed that the students stopped buying clothing and shoes made by child labor, although some students had a difficult time doing it.

Right to Education


The researcher compared between Right to Education from interview analysis and Question 11 from questionnaire analysis. This was an interesting contrast between two information gathering methods. In the interviews, the students focused on right to education for children in other countries, specifically those who were in child laborers and could not go to school. In the questionnaire, the answers were in two categories; one was right to education for children in other countries, and another was right to education for the students’ peers in their classes. The questionnaire was administered just after the students had received HRE instruction, and the interview was a year later. The researcher believes that one year after HRE instruction, child labor related issues stayed in the students’ memories more than anything else, according to the interview results.

Refugee/Immigrant


The researcher compared between Refugee/Immigrant from interview analysis and Question 7 from questionnaire analysis. The interview and questionnaire analyses indicated that the students remembered the reasons why refugees had to leave their countries. In the interview, the focus was on why the refugees should not have had to leave their countries. The students felt that it was not right for anyone to hurt or threaten to kill the refugees. Both sources of information showed that the students commented on discrimination against refugees and immigrants in the United States. The questionnaire went into more in depth about how refugees and immigrants were viewed in the US, such as affecting the US economy in negative ways, stealing jobs from Americans, and being misunderstood as homeless people, and how the students changed their attitudes toward refugees and immigrants.
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