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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Discrimination


The researcher compared between Discrimination from interview analysis and Question 5 from questionnaire analysis. The analysis about discrimination from the interviews and the first part of question 5 from the questionnaire can be compared. Discrimination against different races was the common answer in both information gathering methods. Refugee/immigrant related discrimination was also mentioned for both. In the questionnaire, it was described as discrimination against people with different accents and languages. The interview results included more different types of discrimination, while the questionnaire results focused on the cause of discrimination. The second part of question 5, such as asking about ways in which the students are eradicating their own discriminatory behavior toward other people, could be mentioned in the category “Action” from the interview analysis.

Although the students did not realize the fact that they were taking actions against discrimination, there were couple significant points were made by several students. One is that quite a few students were “correcting” their peers’ behaviors when they witness discriminatory acts. For example, one student said, “I teach people. Explain [to them] whey they should not fight,” “I tell people what stereotypes and calling names are,” and “When I see somebody messing around or someone do something wrong to you, [I] say ‘ I feel mad when you do that. Could you stop please.’” Another example is taking action towards discrimination by changing their behavior. For example, one student mentioned, “now I don’t think like how they look and they are messed up.” The researcher asked what this student meant by that. The answer was “I don’t want to say anything when [people are] dressed poorly and they don’t look good.” These were not mentioned as examples of their action taking in daily lives, however, the researcher believes that these are important examples of how the students could change their behavior and take actions due to what they learned in HRE.


Specific Human Rights Article that Students Remembered


The researcher compared between Specific Human Rights Article that Students Remembered from interview analysis and Question 14 from questionnaire analysis. In both analyses, the child labor-related human rights issue was the most mentioned concept. Although in the questionnaire, the right to education was mentioned less, as the researcher stated in the analysis of question 14, it was mentioned more in other questions of the questionnaire and in the interviews. In question 14, the refugee issue was frequently mentioned while the interviews included rights to safety, housing and food. Overall, the interview answers focused on child labor-related topics in human rights while the questionnaire results included more domestic issues, such as discrimination, freedom from abusive relationships, and differences between men and women.

The researcher also compared all questions in the questionnaire and the specific human rights articles mentioned in the interviews. The specific human rights concepts that students remembered were not directly related to the topics that the HRE instructor categorized as the questions. However, the researcher can comfortably say that the comments included the topics of right to education (question 11), child labor (question 10), living conditions (question 6), freedom of expression (question 8), right to safety (question 9), right to leisure (question 10), and right to food (question 4, because the question asked about stereotypes, the students commented a lot on homelessness in the questionnaire).

In the last chapter, the researcher will address natural generalization of the analysis and further discussion of the future research possibilities.

Chapter 5: Conclusion

Now the analysis is done, the researcher will make comparisons between this study and the previous studies on human rights education cases; (a) the quantitative survey results by the Search Institute, (b) the case study by Wade (1994) and (c) the case study by Brabeck et al. (1998), as introduced in chapter 2.



Comparing with Survey by the Search Institute Analysis

The survey developed by the Search Institute (Appendix I) was analyzed by an ANOVA test. The researcher obtained permission to use these test results as a secondary analysis. The HRE instructor used this survey instrument for pre- and post-tests for her instruction.

The ANOVA analysis was conducted based on four categories: (a) values and belief outcomes, (b) knowledge outcomes, (c) behavior and skill outcomes, and (d) developmental assets (Memorandum from Search Institute regarding scale ideas of the survey, October 22nd, 1997). Values and belief outcomes were measured based on caring values (mean of questions 1,2, and 3), commitment to peace and justice (mean of questions 4,5 and 10), empowerment (mean of questions 17, 35 and 65), commitment to non-violent resolution of conflict (mean of questions 16, 20 and 34), and concern for human welfare (means of questions 19 and 21). Knowledge outcomes were measured based on awareness about human rights issues (means of questions 53-64, 23, 24, and 25), knowledge about human rights issues 1 (mean of questions 38-48), and knowledge about human rights issues 2 (mean of questions 67-74). Behavior and skill outcomes were measured based on prosocial behavior (mean of questions 33 and 36), empathy (mean of questions 28 and 30), and affirmation of diversity (mean of questions 29 and 32). Developmental assets were measured by assertiveness (question 6), honesty (mean of questions 8 and 9), bonding to school (question 11), positive school climate (mean of questions 12-14), achievement motivation (question 15), and friendship skills (question 31).

According to the quantitative researcher, the results between pre- and post-survey were not significantly different. The only difference that she pointed out was that compared to pre-test, post-test had smaller standard deviation among the students who took the surveys. As a result, the researcher decided not to use this secondary data for this particular study.

However, the researcher compared what she learned from her interview and questionnaire analyses and what the Search Institute Survey found out for specific questions. She also looked at differences between pre- and post-survey for those specific questions to see how much the students changed their knowledge, attitudes and/or possible behavioral changes, although the quantitative researcher’s analysis resulted with “not significantly different.”

The Importance of HRE

In the Search Institute Survey questions one though ten, the students were asked to mark one answer about how important each human quality was to them. The response choices were not important (1), somewhat important (2), not sure (3), quite important (4) and extremely important (5). The researcher particularly looked at questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8. These questions asked about things that were included in the interview and the questionnaire items. Particularly, question 2 “helping to reduce hunger and poverty in the world,” question 3 “helping to make the world a better place in which to live,” and question 4 “helping to make sure that all people are treated fairly” were mentioned in the interviews and questionnaire responses. Student comments in the interview included “[if people know about human rights,] people [would] know how to treat people,” and “people [would] make this world much much better.” All the answers asked how important the students felt in their lives had an average of over 4.5. It meant that the students felt that these human qualities were between quite important (4) and extremely important (5).

The researcher also looked at the differences in the students’ responses between pre- and post-HRE instruction using average for each question.

Table 4 : Human Quality - Survey




Pre-HRE Instruction

Standard deviation

Post-HRE Instruction

Stand deviation

Question 1

4.562

0.654

4.861

0.351

Question 2

4.444

0.735

4.694

0.710

Question 3

4.944

0.232

4.889

0.799

Question 4

4.314

0.963

4.750

0.604

Question 5

3.800

1.183

4.583

0.770

Question 8

4.389

0.688

4.694

0.668

Most questions had higher averages and smaller standard deviations in the post-HRE instruction survey answers, except for question three, which asked “helping to make the world a better place in which to live.” Because the survey did not have a comment portion for each question, the reasons for decreasing the average and a wider standard deviation were not known. However, the researcher remembers that several students commented in the interviews possible reasons for this. For instance, two students felt that “there is nothing I can do. Everything is happening in other countries. They are too far away.” This is important to note even though this comment was in the interview rather in the survey.



Human Rights Definition

The researcher selected question 75 to determine how students defined human rights in the Search Institute Survey. The most frequently mentioned definition was “the right for every human” by 13 students. This answer was also one of the common answers, especially in the questionnaire. “The right to education” by seven students was the second mentioned in the survey whereas it was the most often mentioned in the interview and questionnaire data. “Child labor” was also mentioned by two students, which was more common in the interview and questionnaire. In the survey, “a right to [a] peaceful world and a peaceful life” and “basic rights to make the world a better place” was mentioned by four students.




Moral Development

The researcher looked at questions 16 “It really bothers me when people fight,” 19 “It really bothers me when people put down other people because they look or act differently,” and 21 “It really bothers me when people are cruel to each other,” to compare with Moral Development from the interview and the questionnaire data. Questions 19, 16 and 21 asked the students how much did they agree or disagree with each question. The scale included the options of strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), not sure (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5).


Table 5 : Moral Development - Survey




Pre-HRE Instruction

Standard Deviation

Post-HRE Instruction

Standard Deviation

Question 16

3.314

1.345

3.944

1.194

Question 19

3.647

1.178

4.417

0.841

Question 21

3.765

1.075

4.229

1.114

All questions have higher average for post-HRE instruction indicating that they cared about these issues more after HRE. In particular, question 19 asked if the students were bothered by putting people down because they looked and act differently and question 21 asked if they were bothered by cruel behavior toward each other were mentioned in the interview and questionnaire. The students stated that now they know that they should treat others better than before. These are the examples of students’ comments: “Now I [know] not to put people down,” “I treat people in [a] respectful way,” “I don’t say [the] ‘N’ word any more.”



What Happens Abroad

In this category of comparison, the researcher included Child Labor, Right to Education, and Refugee/Immigrant from the interview and the questionnaire data. The researcher considered at question 25 “I know a lot about human rights issues in other parts of the world,” 41 “[How much do you know about] poverty,” 42 “[How much do you know about] immigrants,” 43 “[How much do you know about] child labor,” and 44 “[How much do you know about] refugees.” Question 25 asked the students how much they agreed or disagreed with the question, following a scale from strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), not sure (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5). Questions 41 through 44 asked the students how much they knew about each topic, using a scale of nothing (1), a little (2), some (3), and a lot (4).



Table 6 : What Happens Abroad - Survey




Pre-HRE Instruction

Standard Deviation

Post-HRE Instruction

Standard Deviation

Question 25

2.636

1.319

4.583

0.649

Question 41

2.882

1.149

3.514

0.742

Question 42

2.618

1.129

3.829

0.568

Question 43

3.029

0.954

4.000

0.000

Question 44

2.273

1.026

3.886

0.530

All questions have significant differences between pre-HRE instruction and post-HRE instruction. The topic child labor (question 43) stands out because after HRE instruction, all students felt that they knew more about child labor a lot and the standard deviation of this topic is zero. This result echoes in the interview and questionnaire data. The researcher included poverty (question 41) in this category because she believes that children’s living conditions in other countries could be significantly influencing this result. In the interview and questionnaire, many students shared their feelings towards living conditions of children in other countries. For example, one student said, “I remember what is happening to other people and how they are suffering.” Another commented, “Now I know who make shoes and how much they are paid. These kids cannot go to school,” and the other said, “These kids only get paid five cents a day.” The researcher believes that the interview, questionnaire data and survey data present that the students were strongly affected by the issues of child labor, immigrant/refugee status, and poverty issues around the world.

Another important theme found by the researcher in relation to the survey, interview and questionnaire is about refugee and immigrants (survey question 42 and 44). The reader can observe a large increase in these two questions regarding their knowledge gain. Several students commented in the interview that they did not know much about immigrants and refugees before HRE but they know more now. For example, one said, “Now I understand how refugees came here.” Another student stated, “Now I know how they got here. … and after they get here, [they] face discrimination.” With an increasing number of immigrants and refugees in their classrooms and community, it seems that they felt that they knew more about refugees and immigrants now.

Other questions, such as questions 55, 59, 64, asked students to consider, how big a problem child labor (55), poverty (59), and immigrants (64) are in the world. The scale followed not a problem (1), a small problem (2), and a big problem (3). The results are the followings:



Table 7 : How Much is the Problem - Survey




Pre-HRE Instruction

Standard Deviation

Post-HRE Instruction

Standard Deviation

Question 55

2.600

0.651

3.000

0.000

Question 59

2.727

0.517

2.971

0.169

Question 64

1.879

0.781

2.771

0.547

The averages of all questions increased higher after HRE instruction and the standard deviations for each question decreased. The students noted that child labor was the major issue. All students answered that child labor was the big issue without any exception (zero standard deviation). Comparing to the interview data, it is also clear that this issue was particularly impacts student knowledge and other aspects of their lives. All students mentioned child labor issues in their interviews.



Discrimination

The researcher looked at statements 19 “It really bothers me when people put down other people because they look or act differently,” 29 “Respecting people who are different from me,” 35 “Standing up for kids when someone puts them down,” 39 “Inequality,” 41 “Poverty,” 42 “Immigrants,” 44 “Refugees,” 45 “Hunger,” 48 “Homeless,” and 56 “Discrimination.” Question 19 asked the students for their level of agreement with the question (1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=not sure, 4=agree, 5=strongly agree). Questions 29 and 35 asked how the students thought their friends would have rated them on each question (1=not at all like me, 2=a little like me, 3=somewhat like me, 4=quite like me, 5=very much like me). Questions 39, 41, 42, 44, 45, and 48 asked the students how much they knew about each question (1=nothing, 2=a little, 3=some, 4=a lot). Lastly, question 56 asked the students as they thought about the world, how big a problem discrimination is (1=not a problem, 2=a small problem, 3=a big problem).



Table 8 : Discrimination - Survey




Pre-HRE Instruction

Standard Deviation

Post-HRE Instruction

Standard Deviation

Question 29

3.543

1.502

4.371

1.003

Question 39

2.853

1.077

3.571

0.815

Question 41

2.882

1.149

3.514

0.742

Question 42

2.618

1.129

3.829

0.568

Question 44

2.273

1.026

3.886

0.530

Question 48

3.457

.471

4.000

0.000

Question 56

2.600

.651

3.000

0.000

The researcher chose these questions because these topics were mentioned in the interview and questionnaire when the students discussed discrimination. The results of question 56 shows that after HRE the students viewed discrimination as a big problem. In the interview, student comments attested to the survey results regarding homelessness/poverty/hunger and immigrant/refugee issues. Quite a few students commented on homelessness. For example, one said, “Now I don’t think homeless people are lazy and they want to be homeless.” A second student noted, “I try to give money to homeless people,” while another told, “We got clothes and napkins and groceries and took to homeless shelter.” For immigrants and refugees issues, students commented “I don’t make fun of different accents,” and “now I don’t say anything when I see people wearing different clothes.” In addition to these issues, the students mentioned discrimination against different races, sexuality, and gender roles in the interviews.



Specific Human Rights Article

The researcher chose question 78 “Name five human rights from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” to compare this category with the interview and the questionnaire data.



Table 9: Specific Human Rights Article - Survey

Right to Education

33

Right to Fair Trial

13

Right to Safety

23

Right to Medical Care

12

Immigrant/Refugee

22

Right to Food/Shelter

10

Child Labor

13

Right to Freedom

9

These results presented in Table 9 were very close to what the researcher determined from the interview and questionnaire data. In all three data gathering methods, the Right to Education was the most frequently mentioned among the students. The rights to safety, food and shelter and the right to a fair trial were selected more in the survey than in the other two methods, but they were all raised in the interviews and the questionnaires. The immigrant/refugee related articles were mentioned more in the survey than the other two, while the child labor related article was brought up more frequently in the interview and questionnaire.



Difficulty in Changing Behavior

One thing that the students expressed as difficulty in the questionnaire was changing their behavior toward watching violent TV programs (question 22). It was interesting to see the similarity in the survey result. The statement was “I like to watch violence on TV (using scale of 1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=not sure, 4=agree, 5=strongly agree). The results are provided in Table 10.



Table 10: Watch Violence on TV - Survey

Pre-HRE Instruction

Standard Deviation

Post-HRE Instruction

Standard Deviation

3.118

1.365

3.556

1.297

The researcher is not sure why the average of post-HRE instruction of this particular question went up, meaning that they agreed that they liked to watch violence on TV more than they did before HRE. However, it is clear that this is a difficult change to make for the students. One possible reason that the researcher could think for this result is that after HRE, Students notice more violence on TV. In the questionnaire, several students commented on violence in relationship. One student commented, “I did not hitting a girlfriend was violence before. Now, I know.” It may not be the case that the students prefer more now watching violence on TV. They notice more violence on TV because now, they know more about violent behavior.



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