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Teaching and Learning Traditions in Children’s Human Rights

Curriculum Emphases in Theory and Practice

Lotta Brantefors and Nina Thelander

The aim of this paper is to develop educational theoretical concepts for analyses and descriptions of the teaching and learning traditions in children’s human rights and to illustrate its diversity. The paper suggests viewing human rights as a subject field for research and education and using curriculum theory – particularly the concept of curriculum emphases – as a tool for the analyses. Drawing on the results of a previous international study (Brantefors and Quennerstedt, 2016), four teaching and learning traditions of rights are identified: (1) the participation emphasis; (2) the empowerment emphasis; (3) the awareness of rights emphasis; and (4) the right respecting emphasis. With the curriculum emphases concept it is possible to define the main motives for teaching and learning, and also to see what is emphasised in education. In the last section, the traditions are applied and tested on empirical examples. The conclusion is that the emphases concept is a fruitful analytical instrument that makes the different traditions of the teaching and learning of children’s human rights visible.