Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) provides teachers with daily opportunities to find out what their students are learning and what misconceptions they might have. Active teaching methods, such as class discussion, small group work, brainstorming and role-playing all provide such opportunities.
Take five minutes at the end of class to have students write down one-or two-sentence answers to the following questions:
- What did you learn today?
- What remaining questions do you have?
- Read through their responses, and use them to build on students’ knowledge and clarify any misconceptions for the next lesson.
In each module, students are asked to carry out activities such as interviewing people, illustrating concepts with poems, plays or artwork and writing research papers on particular topics.
Keep a folder or portfolio for each student, containing written work, artwork, interviews and news clippings that he or she has contributed in class.
Periodically go over the student’s work with him or her to monitor progress in understanding international humanitarian law (IHL).
Post samples of students’ work where all can see.
After Module 3 is completed, you might want to devote the last class session to a written assessment of what students have learned. You could do this with one essay question (20-30 minutes) and two or three short-answer questions (10 minutes each).
- Why do people violate IHL? Include specific examples.
- Describe a difficult choice that a soldier might have to make in a combat situation. What is the dilemma? What are the consequences?
- Give two examples of one violation leading to another.
- What is the effect of not knowing who is a civilian?
- What were two dilemmas facing the American soldiers at My Lai?
You could ask students to formulate other questions in small groups and then select one of them as the essay question for the whole class. Or you could ask each student to propose a question and then answer it. (The student would be assessed on the quality of the question as well as on the answer.) Or you could select a quote from a newspaper article, a sidebar in the materials or another source and ask students to identify the main point being made in the quote and whether they agree or disagree with it.
- Uses concepts, such as bystander, combatant, dilemma or chain reaction and other terms in the EHL materials
- Gives concrete examples to back up points
- Includes examples from a variety of sources, such as the news media, interviews, class discussion and outside reading
The above techniques are simply suggestions to help you assess your students’ work on the EHL materials. Feel free to adapt them to your needs.