Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, Vol 7, No 1 (2020)

From Rhetoric to Reality: Identifying Teacher Opportunities and Barriers in Educating for Human Rights

Wanda Cassidy, Özlem Sensoy, Kumari Beck


In this paper we report findings from a four-year study into legal literacy that examined educational opportunities and barriers when teaching about legal literacy, citizenship education, and human rights education. Detailed findings are drawn from interviews with eleven teachers who self-identify as valuing and embedding legal literacy and related themes (human rights, identity, citizenship, and ecological sustainability) in their classrooms. Results show that despite deep rhetorical commitments to human rights education, teachers are stymied by perceived barriers to implementing HRE, particularly the action dimension. We name these perceived barriers and examine the case of one of the teachers who seemingly has overcome them, in order to identify potential constructive interventions in teacher education.


Human rights education; legal literacy; teacher education; social justice in education; citizenship education; social studies education

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