Exploration 4: For Teachers

Methods of Assessment

Ongoing Assessment

Exploring humanitarian law (EHL) provides teachers with daily opportunities to find out what their learners are learning and what misconceptions they may 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 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.

Portfolio of Student Work

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.

End of Module Work

After Module 4 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).

    Possible essay questions:

  • What are some of the difficulties faced in implementing IHL? Give concrete examples.
  • Describe the main judicial options for dealing with violations of IHL.
  • Describe the main non-judicial options for dealing with violations of IHL.

    Possible short-answer questions:

  • What responsibilities do commanders of armed forces or groups have for bringing alleged perpetrators to court?
  • List some advantages that ‘hybrid’ courts may offer over purely national or purely international courts.
  • What are the key aims of truth commissions?
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.

Criteria for Assessment

An effective student response is one which:
  • 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 students’ work on the EHL materials. Feel free to adapt them to your needs.

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