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Young people and international humanitarian law

19-03-2014

Teacher-training workshops

The Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) materials include models for ten workshops that introduce key concepts and activities and identify critical teaching methods. Each workshop focuses on a particular exploration and on related teaching methods, and is organized into five steps:

  • Step 1: Workshop objectives
    This step outlines the purpose of the workshop.
  • Step 2: Understand the EHL materials
    In this step, you do the activities that your students will do in class. That enables you to absorb the material, and the issues related to it, as your students will; you will also be given tips that will be useful in the classroom.
  • Step 3: Experience the classroom
    In this step, you get a sense of the way a lesson works in practice by viewing a video of someone else teaching the same lesson.
  • Step 4: Review what you have learned
    In this step, you reflect on what you have learned and how to adapt the lesson to your students.
  • Step 5: Follow-up after teaching the exploration
    In this last step, after you have taught the lesson, you assess what both you and your students have learned, keeping in mind the questions your students raised.

In each workshop you will learn ways to tackle these questions: What shall I choose to teach? How will I teach it? How will I know what the students have learned?

Online workshops

The most effective way to learn how to teach EHL is to participate in teacher-training workshops. The EHL Virtual Campus offers an alternative to such face-to-face workshops. Selected workshops are featured in expanded online versions that enable teachers to familiarize themselves with EHL methodology and 'activities' by studying on their own and at their own pace.

To get the most out of the online workshops, form an EHL teacher-training workshop group so that you can discuss concepts and methods with your colleagues, and create an EHL community of practice. (A community of practice is a group of teachers who share an interest in teaching EHL and build relationships so that they can learn from each other.)

If this is not possible, you can do the workshop activities on your own. Whether you are working with a group or on your own, it is extremely important that you go through the workshops and related explorations in sequence. This will enable you to grasp the logic of the curriculum and make you a more effective EHL teacher. As you make your way through each workshop, you will be asked periodically to write down your reflections.

1. Introducing Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) to students

This workshop is divided into two sessions of approximately one hour each. Plan to take a break after "Understand the EHL materials," before moving on to Session 2, "Experience the classroom."

Step 1: Workshop objectives

"It was the best thing to do the activities myself. Now I have a concrete feeling/taste of what I have to do as a teacher."
Teacher, South Africa

The teaching methods you will learn in this workshop are "Discussion," "Brainstorming," and "No easy answers." You will explore these methods with the help of Introductory exploration: Images and perceptions.

The first exploration for students in EHL- the introductory exploration - raises questions and issues that are central to the EHL programme, such as "What is human dignity?" This workshop is designed to raise the same questions for teachers. In both cases the aim is to explore participants' opinions and views. The introductory exploration sets the tone with an open discussion. There are no "right answers" at this stage and no one is expected to be be well-informed on the subject.

Take a look at the following workshop objectives:

  •    to learn how to introduce the EHL programme to students
  •    to develop an approach for teaching a subject about which you may know little
  •    to explore factual and ethical questions related to international humanitarian law (IHL)
  •    to practise "Discussion" and "Brainstorming" and to clarify the concept of "No easy answers" which will be used throughout EHL

Overview: What goes on in this workshop?

In this online workshop, you will do Introductory exploration: Images and perceptions as if you were a student. You will consider your own initial ideas about IHL as preparation for conducting discussions on the subject with your students. The workshop is an opportunity to find out what you already know about  IHL. You will also read about the teaching methods used in this exploration: "Discussion," "Brainstorming," and "No easy answers."

You will need to keep an EHL journal to record your reflections. You may use your own paper journal, or download our journal template and type in your journal entry.

Session 1

Step 2: Understand the EHL materials (60 minutes)

Read and clarify

Use the EHL journal template for note-taking as you go through the teaching methods.

For this workshop, you can read a description of the following teaching methods: Discussion, Brainstorming and No easy answers, which can be found in the EHL Teaching Methods (PDF, 115 Kb).  
 

Using no easy answers

"In my context (Asia) I generally find teachers not too comfortable using the No Easy Answer technique, mainly because of the following reasons.

1. Expectation from students and parents which expect answers from teachers. A teacher who is not able to provide an answer may be seen as not a 'good' teacher.

2. Teachers' expectation about themselves: Teachers are not too comfortable with this notion as they 'fear' being labeled as a teacher who 'does not know'.

3. Traditionally the role of the teacher is seen as 'a sage on stage' and this process of exploring and saying there are no easy answers expects them to be 'guides by the side'.

Nevertheless all does not look bleak because once teachers understand the value of using this technique, and with students understanding why it is used, it becomes much easier. It is a call for teachers to move away from their 'comfort zones'. It can be propagated in Asia but will require a change in the mindset of the teachers, students and parents."

EHL regional advisor, Asia

Do the exploration

You might be wondering: "Why do I actually have to engage in the activities that my students will do in class? Why can't I just read through them?" Many teachers feel that way initially. By doing the exploration as if you were a student, you will absorb the material and the issues related to it as your students will. 

Do the introductory exploration. If you are doing this workshop in a group, each participant should select a question from the section on "Introductory discussion questions" and conduct a mini-discussion with the group (not more than 5 minutes). If you are doing this workshop on your own, select some of the questions that most interest you and write down your responses or discuss them with a friend or family member.
 

EHL Journal reflection

After doing the exploration, respond to two of the following questions in your EHL journal:

  • What issues generated the most intense discussion? Why?
  • Which questions will generate the greatest interest among your students?
  •  What surprised you most about your own images and perceptions of IHL?
  • What went well during the discussion of the question that you led? What difficulties did you have? (For teachers who had a group discussion.)

Take a break and continue with Session 2 later.

Session 2

Step 3: Experience the classroom (30 minutes)

Watch a video of a teacher explaining the purpose of the introductory conversation. Using the brainstorming technique, students generate ideas on armed conflict and on how combatants should behave. They draw parallels with experiences in their own country.

1.Read the video transcript "Leading discussion: Introductory Exploration" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)

2. Give some thought to this question before viewing the clip: (either in a group or on your own in your journal): What are the goals of the introductory exploration?

3.View the video clip: leading discussion.

4.Discuss the following questions in pairs in your group or think about them on your own:

  • To what extent were the goals of the introductory exploration achieved in the classroom?
  • How did the teacher set the tone? What discussion techniques did she use?
  • What did the students seem to know about war? About limits to war?
  • How did the ideas of the students in the video compare with your own perceptions of IHL?

Step 4: Review what you have learned (20 minutes)

EHL Journal reflection

I used brainstorming as a first step to get ideas out. Then, students built on those ideas and actually had a good discussion

Note some ideas in response to the following questions:

 Note: Since as teachers we often do not like to admit what we do not know NO EASY ANSWERS is challenging for many of us. Try it. Writing down questions that we cannot answer at the moment is a good example to students that we are all exploring IHL together

  • What problems do you anticipate in leading a discussion based on this exploration? 
  • What questions came up that you could write down in the "No easy answers" corner?
  • How would you adapt this exploration to your own group?
  • In what ways might you assess your students' learning?

Student assessment

  • Ideas on how to assess student learning – ranging from observing small group work to posing essay questions – can be found at the end of each EHL Modules ("Assessment" section).
  • Read also advice on assessment in the Methodology guide, under "Focus on… Assessing student learning".

2. Role-playing: What can bystanders do?

This workshop is divided into two sessions of approximately one hour each. Plan to take a break after "Understand the EHL materials," before moving on to Session 2, "Experience the classroom."

 Step 1: Workshop objectives

The teaching methods you will learn in this workshop are "Role-playing" and  "Using stories, photos, and videos." You will explore these methods with the help of Exploration 1A: What can bystanders do? and Exploration 1B: Looking at humanitarian acts.

These two explorations raise the questions: "What effects can bystanders have on others?" and "What is the nature of humanitarian acts?" The explorations introduce students to stories of ordinary people who, on their own, in times of war or other situations of violence, acted to protect the life or human dignity of people whom they may not know or whom they would not ordinarily be inclined to help or protect. This workshop is designed to raise the same questions for teachers. The aim is to familiarize yourself with a variety of pedagogical approaches for exploring the real-life stories that will help your students focus on how ordinary people develop the courage to act.  

Take a look at the following workshop objectives:

  • to explore and practise "Role-playing," and "Using stories, photos, and videos", as teaching methods
  • to become familiar with the concept of the bystander
  • to understand the concept of a humanitarian act


Overview: What goes on in this workshop?

In this online workshop, you will do Exploration 1A: What can bystanders do? and Exploration 1B: Looking at humanitarian acts, as if you were a student. You will also read about the teaching methods used in this exploration: "Role-playing," and "Using stories, photos, and videos."

You will need to keep an EHL journal to record your reflections. You may use your own paper journal, or download our journal template and type in your journal entry.

Session 1

Step 2: Understand the EHL materials (60 minutes)

Read and clarify

For this workshop, you can read a description of the following teaching methods: Role-playing and Using stories, photos, and videos, which can be found in the EHL Teaching Methods (PDF, 115 Kb).  

Do the exploration

You might be wondering: "Why do I actually have to engage in the activities that my students will do in class? Why can't I just read through them?" Many teachers feel that way initially. By doing the exploration as if you were a student, you will absorb the material and the issues related to it as your students will. 

Do Exploration 1A in Module 1. If you are doing this workshop in a group, selected teachers should conduct Exploration 1A, using the suggested sequence role-playing activity "How incremental acts build humanitarian strength" (found at the end of the exploration). (30 minutes)

If you are doing this workshop on your own, invite a few friends or family members to participate, so that you can practise setting up a role-playing exercise.

Discuss the exercise from the point of view of each of the role players:

  • What do you think of the choices you made while playing your character? Why?
  • What are your thoughts on the choices made by each of the other people in the story? Why?

Now discuss the role-playing exercise from the point of view of the audience:

  •  How did the role-playing help you to get "into the shoes" of another person? How could it have been more effective?
  • What issues did it make you think about?
  • What are some of the important things to discuss after role-playing?
  • How did watching the role-playing exercise deepen your understanding of the nature of humanitarian acts?

Now do Exploration 1B in Module 1.

EHL Journal reflection

After doing the explorations, write down your thoughts on the advantages and the risks of using role-playing as a teaching technique.

Take a break and continue with Session 2 later.
 

Session 2

Step 3: Experience the classroom (30 minutes)

Watch this video to see an example of how a teacher introduces the concept of a humanitarian act in a structured way. He uses a chart to draw out generalizations by having students give examples of humanitarian act.

  • Read the video transcript "Organizing students' responses: Looking at humanitarian acts" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)
  • View the video clip: Organizing student's response.When viewing the video, look for evidence of how students show their understanding of the humanitarian perspective.
  • Discuss the following question in pairs in your group, or think about it on your own: How did students show their understanding of the humanitarian perspective?

 

Step 4: Review what you have learned (20 minutes)

 

Note: Role-playing, a lively teaching method, offers the opportunity to step into the shoes of someone else and make experiences described in writing come alive through dramatization. Keep in mind that successful role-playing includes preparation beforehand and discussion afterwards.

EHL Journal reflection

Note some ideas in response to the following questions:

  • What problems do you anticipate in preparing your students for role-playing?
  • What issues might come up for your students in understanding the idea of humanitarian acts?
  • How would you adapt these explorations to your own group?
  • In what ways might you assess your students’ learning?

Student assesment

  • Ideas on how to assess student learning – ranging from observing small group work to posing essay questions – can be found at the end of each EHL Modules ("Assessment" section).
  • Read also advice on assessment in the Methodology guide, under "Focus on… Assessing student learning".

3. Working with dilemmas: A bystander's dilemma

This workshop is divided into two sessions of approximately one hour each. Plan to take a break after "Understand the EHL materials," before moving on to Session 2, "Experience the classroom."

Step 1: Workshop objectives

The teaching methods you will learn in this workshop are "Using dilemmas,"and "Small groups." You will explore these methods with the help of Exploration 1C: A bystander's dilemma.

This exploration raises the question: "What dilemmas do bystanders face when witnessing a threat to human dignity?" The workshop is designed to raise the same question for teachers. In both cases, the aim is the same: to put students or teachers in the shoes, so to speak, of a bystander considering whether to perform a humanitarian act and to have them carefully examine goals and possible consequences.

Take a look at the following workshop objectives:

  • to learn how to guide students in analysing dilemmas
  • to recognise the complexity of a bystander's situation when he or she is witnessing a threat to life or human dignity


Overview: What goes on in this workshop?

In this online workshop, you will do Exploration 1C: A bystander's dilemma, as if you were a student. You will also read about the teaching methods used in this exploration: "Using dilemmas" and "Small groups."

You will need to keep an EHL journal to record your reflections. You may use your own paper journal, or download our journal template and type in your journal entry.

 

Session 1

Step 2: Understand the EHL materials (60 minutes)

Read and clarify

For this workshop, you can read a description of the following teaching methods: Using dilemmas and Small groups, which can be found in the EHL Teaching Methods (PDF, 115 Kb).  

Do the exploration

You might be wondering: "Why do I actually have to engage in the activities that my students will do in class? Why can't I just read through them?" Many teachers feel that way initially. By doing the entire exploration as if you were a student, you will absorb the material and the issues related to it as your students will.

Do Exploration 1C of Module 1.  If you are doing this workshop in a group, choose a teacher to conduct Exploration 1C, using the suggested sequence which asks you to "Explore the complexity of Wendy's humanitarian dilemma." If you are doing this workshop on your own, try to invite a few friends or family members to participate, so that you can discuss Wendy's dilemma and do the related activities.

If you are on your own, read through the exploration and do the written activities and reflective journal writing.

 

EHL Journal reflection

After doing the exploration, respond to the following question:

What did you learn about the nature of humanitarian acts by analysing Wendy's dilemma?

Take a break and continue with Session 2 later.


Session 2

Step 3: Experience the classroom (20 minutes)

In the following video, a teacher reflects on what she would do differently next time after teaching a class using dilemma analysis for the first time.

1. Read the video transcript "How I'd like to do it next time" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)

2. View the video clip: Exploration 1C - How I'd like to do it next time.

3. Discuss the following questions in pairs in your group, or think about them on your own:
- What did the teacher think was missing in her class about dilemma analysis?
- How would she change the lesson next time?  
 

Step 4: Review what you have learned (20 minutes)

I found the dilemma worksheet helpful for getting my students to think about the pros and cons of each action and the possible consequences. After that it was easier to to talk about the chain of consequences.

EHL Journal reflection

Note some ideas in response to the following questions:

  • What problems do you anticipate in introducing dilemma analysis to your students?   
  • What questions might your students raise about Wendy's dilemma?
  • In what ways might you assess your students' learning?

Student assessment

  • Ideas on how to assess student learning – ranging from observing small group work to posing essay questions – can be found at the end of each EHL Modules ("Assessment" section)
  • Read also advice on assessment in the Methodology guide, under "Focus on… Assessing student learning".

4. Using photographs to explore human dignity

This workshop is divided into two sessions of approximately one hour each. Plan to take a break after "Understand the EHL materials," before moving on to Session 2, "Experience the classroom."

Step 1: Workshop objectives

You need to undergo the teacher-training programme to appreciate the materials, the methodology and the content; the understanding of the programme will be compromised if you don't undergo it.
—Master trainer, Asia

The teaching method you will learn in this workshop is "Using stories, photos, and videos." You will explore this teaching method with the help of Exploration 2A: Limiting the devastation caused by war.

This exploration raises the question: what limits are needed in war and why? The exploration introduces students to photos of soldiers taken prisoner to put students "in the shoes" of both the vulnerable and those in power. They then write down rules they think are needed to protect prisoners in armed conflict. After examining other photos students then propose additional rules needed in armed conflict. In parallel fashion, this workshop is designed to raise the same question for teachers to propose rules. The aim is to familiarise yourself with the pedagogical technique of using photos to generate ideas and discussion among yourself and your students.

 

Photo of the blindfolded captive used in the exploration 

Photo of the blindfolded captive used in the exploration
© ICRC

 Take a look at the following workshop objectives:

  • to consider how to encourage and use student participation in a discussion
  • to explore the value of using photos to generate ideas and opinions


Overview: What goes on in this workshop?

In this online workshop, you will do steps 2, 3, and 4 of Exploration 2A: Limiting the devastation caused by war, as if you were a student. You will also read about the teaching methods used in this exploration: "Discussion" and "Using stories, photos and videos."

You will need to keep an EHL journal to record your reflections. You may use your own paper journal, or download our journal template and type in your journal entry.

 

Session 1

Step 2: Understand the EHL materials (60 minutes)

Read and clarify

For this workshop, you can read a description of the following teaching methods: Discussion and Using stories, photos and videos, which can be found in the EHL Teaching Methods (PDF, 115 Kb).  

 

Do the exploration

The photo and the discussion was wonderful. I never knew that so much information could be taken out of a photo.
—Teacher, Thailand

You might be wondering: "Why do I actually have to engage in the activities that my students will do in class? Why can't I just read through them?" Many teachers feel that way initially. By doing the exploration as if you were a student, you will absorb the material and the issues related to it as your students will.

Do steps 2, 3, and 4 of Exploration 2A in Module 2. If you are doing this workshop in a group, select a facilitator or two co-facilitators to conduct the activity. If you are doing the workshop on your own, try to enlist a colleague or family member to do the steps of the blindfolded captive with you.

 

EHL Journal reflection

After doing the exploration, respond to the following question:

  • How do you think your students will react to the activity using the photo of the blindfolded captive?

Take a break and continue with Session 2 later.
 

Session 2

Step 3: Experience the classroom (30 minutes)

In this classroom video students have written their ideas in preparation for a discussion on how the human dignity is at risk for both the captive and the captor.

1. Read the video transcript "Using photographs to explore human dignity" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)

2. Select one or two of the following questions to focus on while you view the video clip:
- How do the photos contribute to student participation?
- How is reflective writing used to encourage students' participation in class discussion?
- What is the role of the teacher?
- What strategies were used to promote exchanges among students?
- Are there moments when the teacher could intervene but does not?

3. View the video clip: Using photographs to explore human dignity.

 

EHL Journal reflection

After viewing the video clip, reflect and write on the question(s) you selected above, as well as:

  • What are your reactions to the video?
  • If you were the teacher, would you have done anything differently?

Step 4: Review what you have learned (20 minutes)

Note: Like many teachers in face-to-face teacher-training workshops, you may be thinking: "My students could never have a discussion like that." If so, keep in mind the step-by-step nature of the exploration. The students first studied the photo, next wrote their reactions to specific questions, then shared their views in small groups, and only at that point did they participate in the class discussion.

EHL Journal reflection

Note some ideas in response to the following questions:

  • What did you learn from the contents of this session and the methods employed in it?  
  • How would you adapt this exploration to your own group?
  • In what ways might you assess your students' learning?

Student Assessment

  • Ideas on how to assess student learning – ranging from observing small group work to posing essay questions – can be found at the end of each EHL Modules ("Assessment" section).
  • Read also advice on assessment in the Methodology guide, under "Focus on… Assessing student learning".

5. Building on students' ideas: The basics of IHL

This workshop is divided into two sessions of approximately one hour each. Plan to take a break after "Understand the EHL materials," before moving on to Session 2, "Experience the classroom."

Step 1: Workshop objectives

The teaching method you will learn in this workshop is "Interviewing." You will explore this teaching method with the help of Exploration 2A: Limiting the devastation caused by war.

In steps 5 of this exploration, students examine the question: what are the basic rules of international humanitarian law? They compare IHL rules to the rules they proposed. Step 6 introduces human rights law and explores the question: what protections (rights) are common to both IHL and human rights law. In parallel fashion, this workshop is designed to raise the same questions for teachers. The aim is to familiarize yourself with the teaching technique of interviewing in order to help students understand the basic rules of IHL and the distinction between IHL and human rights law.

Take a look at the following workshop objectives:

  • to learn some of the basic rules of international humanitarian law (IHL)
  • to understand the distinction between IHL and human rights law
  • to consider the issue of responsibility for obeying the rules
  • to consider how to present such information to students
  • to learn how interviewing visitors can be used as a technique
  • to explore how to build on students' knowledge when you introduce a new topic


Overview: What goes on in this workshop?

In this online workshop, you will do steps 5 and 6 of Exploration 2A: Limiting the devastation caused by war, as if you were a student. You will also read about the teaching method used in this exploration: “Interviewing”

You will need to keep an EHL journal to record your reflections. You may use your own paper journal, or download our journal template and type in your journal entry.

 

Session 1

Step 2: Understand the EHL materials (60 minutes)

Read and clarify

For this workshop, you can read a description of the following teaching method: Interviewing, which can be found in the EHL Teaching Methods (PDF, 115 Kb).  
 

Do the exploration

You might be wondering: "Why do I actually have to engage in the activities that my students will do in class? Why can't I just read through them?" Many teachers feel that way initially. By doing the exploration as if you were a student, you will absorb the material and the issues related to it as your students will.

Do steps 5 and 6 of Exploration 2A in Module 2.  

The time allotted for steps 5 and 6 - 30 minutes for students - has been expanded for teachers to 60 minutes, as these are complex subjects and teachers may need more time to think about how to teach them.

If you are doing this workshop in a group, the teacher-trainer or co-trainers should conduct Exploration 2A, Step 5, in which rules suggested by you [previously in step 4] are compared with the basic rules of IHL. After this, a volunteer from among the group of teachers may conduct step 6, in which human rights law and IHL are compared with each other.

If you are doing this workshop on your own, invite a few friends or family members to discuss the distinction between IHL and human rights law. You can also use this opportunity to practise designing and conducting an interview.

To practise your interviewing technique, imagine that you have invited a visitor who is well-versed in IHL to come to your classroom. Draw up questions for the visitor, based on the rules you developed [in step 4] and the comparison between IHL and human rights law [in step 6].  You may want to include questions that remain in your "No Easy Answers" corner.

Whether you are in a group or on your own, use the Community Forum to put your questions to an IHL expert at the ICRC. By interviewing an IHL expert yourself, you will become familiar with the various stages of your students' preparation for the interviews that they will conduct.

 

EHL Journal reflection

After doing the exploration, write down your thoughts on the question posed in step 6, IHL and human rights. What protections are common to both IHL and human rights law?

Take a break and continue with Session 2 later.
 

Session 2

Step 3: Experience the classroom (30 minutes)

As an example of students generating ideas or questions before an expert visits the classroom, watch a video of students drawing up their own rules for armed conflict.  

1. Read the video transcript "Views of students: What rules are needed for armed conflict?" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)

2. View the video clip: Views of students: What rules are needed in armed conflict?.

3. Pause the video when you get to the question: If you were the teacher, what would you do now? Think about and discuss your response before resuming the video.

SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTION

Here is a question that one teacher noted down to ask a visiting expert on IHL:

How would you comment on certain patriotic acts performed by young people during wars for liberty? How does the perception of these people as heroes reflect respect for IHL?

Step 4: Review what you have learned (20 minutes)

Take a moment to reflect on what you have learned and how you will adapt the lesson for your own students.

When the IHL expert came to our class, the students posted their questions on the walls around the classroom. He strolled around the room reading the questions and gave a brief talk. Then the students interviewed him directly, using the burning questions they had generated. The IHL expert told me later that he had planned to give a lecture on IHL but the questions of the students on the wall made him realize how much they already knew and helped set the context for his talk and the interview.

EHL Journal reflection

Note some ideas in response to the following questions:

  • Who might you invite to your class (an IHL expert, human rights expert, veteran, etc.)?
  • How would you prepare your students to develop interview questions?
  • In what ways might you assess your students' learning?

Student assessment

  • Ideas on how to assess student learning – ranging from observing small group work to posing essay questions – can be found at the end of each EHL Modules ("Assessment" section).
  • Read also advice on assessment in the Methodology guide, under "Focus on… Assessing student learning".

6. Viewing videos: Focus on child soldiers

This workshop is divided into two sessions of a little more than two hours: 90 minutes for the first session and 40 for the second. Plan to take a break after "Understand the EHL materials," before moving on to Session 2, "Experience the classroom."

Step 1: Workshop objectives

The teaching methods you will learn in this workshop are "Using stories, photos, and videos," "Writing and reflecting," and "Small groups." You will explore these methods with the help of Exploration 2C: Focus on child soldiers.

This exploration provides a detailed examination of one evolving area of international humanitarian law (IHL): the rules governing the recruitment and use of children by armed forces or armed groups. It raises these questions: "What are the needs of children?" "Why do children become combatants?" "What does international law say?" and "What are the consequences of the use of child soldiers?"

This workshop is designed to raise the same questions for teachers. Its aim is to enable you to familiarise yourself with a variety of pedagogical approaches for exploring the experience of child soldiers.

Take a look at the following workshop objectives:

  • to explore and practise "Using stories, photos, and videos," "Writing and reflecting," and "Small groups," as teaching methods
  • to become aware of the scope of the practices of recruiting and using boys and girls in war and the consequences of these practices
  • to understand that both IHL and human rights law prohibit the recruitment and use of children under 15 in armed conflict and that many States formally accept a new law that raises this age limit to 18 years


Overview: What goes on in this workshop?

In this online workshop, you will do Exploration 2C: Focus on child soldiers, as if you were a student. You will read about the teaching methods used in this exploration: "Using stories, photos, and videos," "Writing and reflecting," and "Small groups."

You will need to keep an EHL journal to record your reflections. You may use your own paper journal, or download our journal template and type in your journal entry.

 

Child soldier

In the EHL programme, 'child soldier' means a child who has been recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity. This includes children who have been used as fighters, cooks, porters, messengers, spies, or for sexual purposes. It does not refer only to children who take a direct part in fighting.  


Session 1

Step 2: Understand the EHL materials (90 minutes)

Read and clarify

For this workshop, you can read a description of the following teaching methods: Using stories, photos, and videos, Writing and reflecting and Small groups which can be found in the EHL Teaching Methods (PDF, 115 Kb).  

Do the exploration

You might be wondering: "Why do I actually have to engage in the activities that my students will do in class? Why can't I just read through them?" Many teachers feel that way initially. By doing the entire exploration as if you were a student, you will absorb the material and the issues related to it as your students will.

Do Exploration 2C in Module 2.  If you are doing this workshop in a group, selected teachers should conduct the exploration, using Steps 1-5. These steps demonstrate that in order to have properly viewed a video, much more has to be done besides just switching on the video player. As a teaching technique, video-viewing may be divided into three parts: Preparation (Steps 1-4), Viewing (Step 5), and Reflection (Step 5).  

If you are doing this workshop on your own, invite a few friends or family members to participate, so that you can have a better sense of the experiences of child soldiers and a better understanding of the consequences of recruiting children to be soldiers.

 

EHL Journal reflection

After doing the exploration, write down your thoughts on the following question: Are there any local issues involving children and violence that could be used in this activity?

Take a break and continue with Session 2 later.
 

Session 2

Step 3: Experience the classroom (30 minutes)

Watch Viewing videos: Preparation and discussion, parts 1 and 2 (Morocco, students aged 13-15) in order to see how a teacher prepares students for viewing a video on child soldiers by first examining what the needs of children might be.

  • Part 1: In preparation for viewing I don't want to go back, the teacher asks students to consider the following questions: What is a child? What are children's needs?
  • Part 2: Students focus on different characters in this story and, afterwards, describe their impressions of the impact of war on child soldiers and the role of the commander and other adults. Through discussion, the teacher helps students distinguish between 'voluntary' and 'forced' recruitment.
  1. Read the video transcript "Viewing videos: Preparation and discussion, part 1 and part 2" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)
  2. Reflect on these questions in your journal before viewing the video:
    - How does the teacher help his students understand what children need?
    - How is the discussion of the consequences of being a child soldier influenced by the preliminary examination of the question, "What is a child?"?
  3. View the video clips: Viewing videos: Preparation and discussion – part 1 and part 2. When viewing the video, notice how students show their understanding of the needs of children.
  4. Discuss the following questions in pairs in your group, or think about them on your own:
    - When the students discussed the needs of children, was there anything that surprised you?
    - What would you have done differently as a teacher?
    - How do students demonstrate their understanding of the distinction between 'forced' and 'voluntary' recruitment and of the impact of each on children?

The video, Viewing videos: Preparation and discussion, shows a class discussing the needs of a child before watching the video about child soldiers. This next video shows students taking a stand on the issue of child soldiers after having seen the film: I don't want to go back.

Watch the video, Student presentations: If you could speak to the world (South Africa, students aged 16-18). In this video, the teacher gives students the opportunity to publicly express their views on the subject of child soldiers. The video shows the students reading their speeches.

  1. Read the video transcript "Student presentations: If you could speak to the world" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)
  2. View the video clip: Student presentation - If you could speak to the world.
  3. Discuss the following questions in your group or think about them on your own:
    -What is your reaction to the students' presentations?
    - How would you build upon the activity? If you were the teacher, what would you do next?

Step 4: Review what you have learned (5 minutes)

EHL Journal reflection

Note some ideas in response to one or more of the following questions:

  • What problems do you anticipate when it is your students' turn to explore the issue of child soldiers?
  • How did students in both groups (Morocco and South Africa) demonstrate that they understood the consequences for an individual of having once been a child soldier?
  • What methods might you use to assess your students' understanding of the experiences of child soldiers?
TEACHER NOTE
Choose one of the extension activities to use as a tool to assess student learning. For example, for Children and gangs, in what ways do students apply their understanding of child soldiers to children and gangs?

Student assessment

  • Ideas on how to assess student learning – ranging from observing small group work to posing essay questions – can be found at the end of each EHL Modules ("Assessment" section)
  • Read also advice on assessment in the Methodology guide, under "Focus on… Assessing student learning".
     

7. Using case studies: "What we did at My Lai"

This workshop is approximately two hours long and divided into two sessions: 90 minutes for the first and 30 for the second. Plan to take a break after "Understand the EHL materials," before moving on to Session 2, "Experience the classroom."

Step 1: Workshop objectives

The teaching methods you will learn in this workshop are "Discussion" and "Using stories, photos, and videos," with a focus on a case study. You will explore these methods with the help of Exploration 3C: Who is responsible for respecting IHL? and Exploration 3D: A case study - My Lai: What went wrong? What went right?

In Exploration 3C, students explore the responsibilities of various people in making sure that IHL is respected. Exploration 3D uses the incident in My Lai to raise important questions such as: What are some of the factors that could lead to serious violations of IHL? What types of dilemmas might soldiers face in making the ‘right' choice on the battlefield? When violations of IHL occur, what are the different responsibilities of commanding officers and ordinary citizens and soldiers?

This workshop is designed to raise the same questions for teachers. The case study on My Lai makes it possible to go into these questions more deeply. The aim is to familiarize yourself with a variety of pedagogical approaches for exploring the question of responsibility for upholding IHL. Because it focuses with such intensity on the actions of people caught in the same difficult situation, the case study may evoke strong emotions in your students.

Take a look at the following workshop objectives:

  • to understand who is responsible for making sure that the rules of IHL are respected.
  • to become aware of the emotions that such materials may evoke
  • to learn how to involve students in the details of a case study
  • to understand some of the issues and dilemmas involved in implementing and enforcing IHL


Overview: What goes on in this workshop?

In this online workshop, you will do selected steps from Exploration 3C: Who is responsible for respecting IHL? and Exploration 3D: A case study - My Lai: What went wrong? What went right? as if you were a student. You will also read about the teaching methods used in this exploration: "Discussion" and "Using stories, photos, and videos."

You will need to keep an EHL journal to record your reflections. You may use your own paper journal, or download our journal template and type in your journal entry.

Session 1

Step 2: Understand the EHL materials (90 minutes)

Read and clarify

For this workshop, you can read a description of the following teaching methods: Using stories, photos, and videos and Discussion, which can be found in the EHL Teaching Methods (PDF, 115 Kb).  

Do the exploration

You might be wondering: "Why do I actually have to engage in the activities that my students will do in class? Why can't I just read through them?" Many teachers feel that way initially. By doing the exploration as if you were a student, you will absorb the material and the issues related to it as your students will. 

Do step 2 of Exploration 3C in Module 3 (20 minutes). If you are doing this workshop in a group, selected teachers should conduct the exploration, using Step 2. Do the activity in which students tackle the question of responsibility for ensuring that IHL is respected. Then move to Exploration 3D.

Do steps 2, 3, and 4 of Exploration 3D Module 3 (70 minutes). The entire exploration is built around a video, What we did at My Lai.

As a teaching technique, video-viewing may be divided into three parts: Preparation (use Step 2), Viewing (use Step 3) and Reflection (use Steps 3 and 4).

If you are doing this workshop on your own, invite a few friends or family members to participate, so that you can better explore the intricate issue of responsibility for upholding IHL and the complexities of My Lai.

 

EHL Journal reflection

After doing the exploration, and writing or discussing your responses to the questions at the end of Step 3, write down your thoughts on the following question:

  • What are your reactions to the video?

Take a break and continue with Session 2 later.
 

Session 2

Step 3: Experience the classroom (15 minutes)

Watch this classroom video in which students react to the film,What we did at My Lai.

1. Read the video transcript "Starting session two?" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)

2. View the video clip: Exploration 3D - What we did at My Lai.

3. Think about how your students will respond to the question of responsibility for respecting IHL and to the case study on My Lai.

4. Discuss the following questions in pairs in your group, or think about them on your own:
- What challenges can you expect to face when exploring this case study with your students?
- What hopes and fears are evoked in you by the prospect of showing your students What we did at My Lai?
- If your students were to react emotionally to the video, how would you handle it?

Step 4: Review what you have learned (5 minutes)

Take a moment to reflect on what you have learned and how you will adapt the lesson for your own students.
 

One thing that is striking is the long term damage that violating IHL causes the perpetrators. I will try to help my students see that yet another reason for abiding by the rules of war is the need to protect the mental health of the soldier and future peace of mind. How much Post Traumatic Stress illness do soldiers suffer because of the violations they have seen or participated in? How does it affect their lives, families, and society?

EHL Journal reflection

Note some ideas in response to the following question:

  • What questions does What we did at My Lai raise about the implementation and the enforcement of IHL?

Student assessment

  • Ideas on how to assess student learning – ranging from observing small group work to posing essay questions – can be found at the end of each EHL Modules ("Assessment" section).
  • Read also advice on assessment in the Methodology guide, under "Focus on… Assessing student learning".

8. Small-group work: Responding to the consequences of war

This workshop is divided into two sessions of approximately one hour each. Plan to take a break after "Understand the EHL materials," before moving on to Session 2, "Experience the classroom."

Step 1: Workshop objectives

We would have liked the Red Cross to tell the international press about it. We would really have appreciated that. But when you think about it, doing that—revealing all that they'd seen—might have provoked the authorities into banning them from the prisons. If that had happened, we would have been the losers.
—a prisoner (Student video: Light in the darkness)

The teaching methods you will learn in this workshop are "Small groups" and "Using dilemmas." You will explore these teaching methods with the help of Exploration 5C: Focus on protecting prisoners.

Take a look at the following workshop objectives:

  • to explore the use of small groups as a way to increase student participation
  • to learn how to use dilemma analysis as a way to deepen students' understanding
  • to be aware of some of the ways that international humanitarian law (IHL) protects the lives and human dignity of prisoners
  • to understand some of the dilemmas that humanitarian workers face while protecting prisoners

Overview: What goes on in this workshop?

In this online workshop, you will do steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 of Exploration 5C: Focus on protecting prisoners, as if you were a student. You will also read about teaching methods used in this exploration: "Small groups" and "Using dilemmas." As part of Exploration 5C, you will view two student video clips: Light in the darkness and A prisoner remembers, and you will analyse a dilemma.

You will need to keep an EHL journal to record your reflections. You may use your own paper journal or download our journal template and type in your journal entry.

Session 1

Step 2: Understand the EHL materials  (60 minutes)

During the 10 or so years of conflict between Iran and Iraq, the ICRC played a unique role protecting prisoners of war in both countries: its delegates visited and registered the names of 56,925 Iraqi soldiers held in Iran and of 39,588 Iranian soldiers held in Iraq. Some 13 million Red Cross messages were exchanged between these prisoners and their families. Since the Iran/Iraq conflict broke out in 1980, 98,000 prisoners of war held by both sides have been repatriated.
—ICRC Action on Behalf of Prisoners, 2000

Read and clarify

For this workshop, you can read a description of the following teaching methods: Small groups and Using dilemmas, which can be found in the EHL Teaching Methods (PDF, 115 Kb).

Do the exploration

You might be wondering: "Why do I actually have to engage in the activities that my students will do in class? Why can't I just read through them?" Many teachers feel that way initially. By doing the exploration as if you were a student, you will absorb the material and the issues related to it as your students will.

Do steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 of Exploration 5C in Module 5.

 

EHL Journal reflection

After doing the exploration, go through the steps in the EHL journal template for addressing the dilemma:  If you were the ICRC delegate, would you discuss the case of mistreatment of these three prisoners with the director of the prison?

Take a break and continue with Session 2 later.
 

Session 2

Step 3: Experience the classroom (15 minutes)

In 2005, the ICRC visited more than 500,000 prisoners of war and detainees in more than 80 countries.

Watch this classroom video in which a teacher introduces students to the idea of dilemmas.

1. Read the video transcript "What is a dilemma?" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)

2. Focus on the following question while you view the video clip:
- Is this an effective introduction to the subject of dilemmas? Why or why not?

3. View the video clip: Exploration 5C - What's a dilemma?.

Step 4: Review what you have learned (15 minutes)

Now that you have understood the workshop objectives and done steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the exploration, respond to one of the following questions in your journal.

The way I divide up the class into small groups is important. Depending on the task, students can organize their own groups or I can assign them to a group. I organize them into groups according to criteria related to the task, such as ability or interest or gender. 

EHL Journal reflection

Note some ideas in response to the following questions:  

  • What did you learn from the content ("focus on protecting prisoners") and teaching methods ("Small groups" and "Using dilemmas") of this session?
  • How would you adapt this exploration to your own group?
  • In what ways might you assess your students' learning?

Student assessment

  • Ideas on how to assess student learning – ranging from observing small group work to posing essay questions – can be found at the end of each EHL Modules ("Assessment" section).
  • Read also advice on assessment in the Methodology guide, under "Focus on… Assessing student learning".

9. Using personal experience: Ethics of humanitarian action

This workshop is divided into two sessions, each approximately an hour long. Plan to take a break after "Understand the EHL materials," before moving on to Session 2, "Experience the classroom."

Step 1: Workshop objectives

The teaching methods you will learn in this workshop are "Discussion," "Writing and reflecting," and "Using dilemmas." You will explore these methods with the help of Exploration 5E: Ethics of humanitarian action.

The exploration raises these questions: "What are the working principles by which humanitarian workers are guided when they act on behalf of victims of armed conflict?" "What are the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence and why are they useful in humanitarian action?" "What ethical dilemmas do humanitarian workers encounter?" In Exploration 5E, students look at some of the principles that frame humanitarian action in general and the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in particular. The workshop is designed to raise the same questions for teachers. The aim is to familiarize yourself with a variety of pedagogical approaches for exploring the principles on which humanitarian action is based and the challenging ethical dilemmas that confront humanitarian workers.

Take a look at the following workshop objectives:

  • to explore ways of using students' personal experiences when you teach them about new concepts
  • to become familiar with the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence
  • to note the variety of strategies used in teaching one complete activity
  • to understand the ethical dilemmas that crop up during humanitarian action


Overview: What goes on in this workshop?

In this online workshop, you will do Exploration 5E: Using personal experience: Ethics of humanitarian action as if you were a student. You will also read about the teaching methods used in this exploration: "Discussion," "Writing and reflecting," and "Using dilemmas."

You will need to keep an EHL journal to record your reflections. You may use your own paper journal, or download our journal template and type in your journal entry.

 

Session 1

Step 2: Understand the EHL materials (60 minutes)

Read and clarify

For this workshop, you can read a description of the following teaching methods: Discussion, Writing and reflecting, and Using dilemas which can be found in the EHL Teaching Methods (PDF, 115 Kb).  

Do the exploration

You might be wondering: "Why do I actually have to engage in the activities that my students will do in class? Why can't I just read through them?" Many teachers feel that way initially. By doing the exploration as if you were a student, you will absorb the material and the issues related to it as your students will. 

Do Exploration 5E in Module 5. If you are doing this workshop in a group, selected teachers should conduct the exploration, using the suggested sequence of 3 steps and then the step titled 'Close.' The 3 steps are, in order, "The idea of working principles," "Applying working principles in humanitarian action" and ‘"Ethical dilemmas in humanitarian action."

If you are doing this workshop on your own, invite a few friends or family members to participate, so that you can discuss the working principles and apply them to actual ethical dilemmas that come up during humanitarian action.

 

EHL Journal reflection

After doing the exploration, write down your thoughts on the advantages and the risks of using discussion and dilemma analysis as teaching techniques.

Take a break and continue with Session 2 later.
 

Session 2

Step 3: Experience the classroom (30 minutes)

  1. Read the video transcript "Using personal experience to understand concepts: Neutrality and impartiality" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)
  2. Reflect on these questions before viewing the video. If you are with other teachers or among friends and family, form two groups. Give each group one of the following questions:
    -What strategies does the teacher use to help students understand the concepts of impartiality, neutrality and independence?
    - How do students show that they have grasped these concepts?
  3. View the video clip: Using personal experience to understand concepts: Neutrality and impartiality (South Africa, students ages 14-15)

The teacher asks students to define the concepts and then mentions the definitions given in the teaching material. Using scenarios, the students identify instances where the concepts are used and give reasons for the choices they make. Then, they demonstrate their understanding of the concepts by writing brief stories taken from their own personal experiences. Note the teacher's approach: he makes use of a number of different techniques to explain the concepts.

When viewing the video, based on the question you chose before, track either the teacher's strategies or the ways in which students show their understanding of the concepts. After viewing the video, discuss the following questions in pairs in your group, or think about them on your own:

  • What strategies did the teacher use to help students understand the concepts? How successful do you think each strategy was?
  • What evidence of students' understanding of the concepts of impartiality, neutrality and independence - or absence of such understanding - did you see?
  • How does the teacher use her students' personal experiences to help them understand the working principles of impartiality, neutrality, and independence?

Step 4: Review what you have learned (20 minutes)

Take a moment to reflect on what you have learned and how you will adapt the lesson for your own students.

EHL Journal reflection

Note some ideas in response to the following questions:

  • What problems do you anticipate in preparing for your students for discussion, writing and reflecting, and for dilemma analysis?
  • What issues might your students raise when the ideas of impartiality, neutrality, and independence are explained to them?
  • How would you adapt this exploration to your own group?
  • What methods might you use to assess what your students have learned?

Step 5: Follow-up after teaching the exploration (10 minutes)

Teach the exploration, if you have an opportunity to do so. Then, take a few minutes to write down your thoughts on the effectiveness of the various activities whose purpose is to help your students understand the working principles by which humanitarian action is guided and the ethical dilemmas that are liable to come up.

Student assessment

  • Ideas on how to assess student learning – ranging from observing small group work to posing essay questions – can be found at the end of each EHL Modules ("Assessment" section).
  • Read also advice on assessment in the Methodology guide, under "Focus on… Assessing student learning".

10. Applying learning: Youth projects

This workshop is divided into two sessions, each approximately an hour long. Plan to take a break after "Understand the EHL materials" before moving on to Session 2, "Experience the classroom."

Step 1: Workshop objectives

The teaching methods you will learn in this workshop is "Gathering stories and news." You will explore this teaching method with the help of Closing exploration: Where do we go from here?

This exploration raises these questions: "How can you promote human dignity?" "What can you do to make a difference?" "How can you develop awareness in others?” The workshop is designed to raise the same questions for teachers. The aim is to familiarize yourself with a variety of approaches and ideas for helping students to plan and carry out projects that give them an opportunity to apply what they are being taught.

You may decide to do the projects at the very end of the programme, after all the other explorations have been completed. Or you might begin earlier, perhaps after Module 1, so that students can develop their projects as they learn. Or you might introduce the projects after certain explorations, such as 3C, 2B or 4A. In each case, you will be using the 'Extension activities' to generate ideas for projects.

Take a look at the following workshop objectives:   

  • to explore and practise "Gathering stories and news" as a teaching method
  • to explore the ways to help students plan an EHL project that promotes human dignity
  • to explore ways to help students carry out an EHL project that promotes human dignity


Overview: What goes on in this workshop?

In this online workshop, you will do Closing Exploration: Where do we go from here? You will explore different kinds of research and community projects that your students might take on.

You will also view a slide presentation on the teaching method used in this exploration: "Gathering stories and news."

You will need to keep an EHL journal to record your reflections. You may use your own paper journal or download our journal template and type in your journal entry.

 

Session 1

Step 2: Understand the EHL materials  (60 minutes)

Read and clarify

For this workshop, you can read a description of the following teaching methods: Gathering stories and news which can be found in the EHL Teaching Methods (PDF, 115 Kb).  

Do the exploration

This workshop is different from the others in that you will not be working directly with the material for students. Instead, you will be exploring possible ways to help students apply what they have learned about protecting human dignity by planning and carrying out projects in the community.

Do the closing exploration. If you are doing this workshop in a group, selected teachers should conduct the exploration, using the sections in the exploration in this order: "Possible ideas for projects," "Questions for assessing a project's potential," 'Planning,' 'Carrying out' and "Reflecting on the project" and "Preparing to work in the community."

If you are doing this workshop on your own, invite a few friends or family members to discuss the planning of the projects and their execution.

 

EHL Journal reflection

After doing the exploration, look through the 'Extension activities' at the end of each exploration and select a few for consideration. Record your choices in your journal and your reasons for picking them.

Take a break and continue with Session 2 later.


Session 2

Step 3: Experience the classroom  (30 minutes)

If you are in a group, discuss what projects you would consider for your students, based on the reflections you recorded in your journal.

  1. Read the video transcript "Exploring war through drama" in the PDF of the transcripts (10 pages, 90 Kb)
  2. View the video clip: Exploring war through drama.
    - Track the way students show that they understand the plight of victims of armed conflict.
    - What is your reaction to the scenes?
    - How do you think your students will respond to the drama group from Northern Ireland?
  3. Discuss the following questions in pairs in your group or think about them on your own:
    - What kinds of projects might be suitable for my students?
    - What are the possibilities for collaboration with other teachers and other schools on community outreach projects?

Step 4: Review what you have learned (20 minutes)

Note: Students and teachers in a school in Latin America decided to communicate what they had learned about IHL by organizing a humanitarian art show. They worked with the art teacher to produce drawings, paintings and works of clay depicting humanitarian themes. They invited the rest of the school and the local community to an art opening to view their work. As a part of the opening, they took the opportunity to talk about EHL.

EHL Journal reflection

Note some ideas in response to the following questions:  

  • What problems do you anticipate in preparing your students for carrying out EHL community projects?
  • What help might your students need in planning, carrying out, and afterwards, reflecting upon their projects?
  • How would you adapt this exploration to your own group?
  • What methods might you use to assess what your students have learned?

Student assessment

  • Ideas on how to assess student learning – ranging from observing small group work to posing essay questions – can be found at the end of each EHL Modules ("Assessment" section).
  • Read also advice on assessment in the Methodology guide, under "Focus on… Assessing student learning".


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