Teachers need up to 36 classroom sessions of 45 minutes each to work through the 22 explorations in sequence. Students may take additional time for research and to do the individual or group projects suggested in the 'Extension activities' in the EHL resource pack for teachers.
A ''short pathway'' of nine explorations (14 classroom sessions of 45 minutes each) has been designed for those teachers who are not in a position to teach the entire EHL programme.
Yes, the flexibility of EHL allows teachers to make choices that fit the learning objectives for students and time constraints.
Because 36 classroom sessions might be too long for some education systems to accommodate, or because, taking into account specific education needs, teaching the entire EHL programme might not be possible, instead, teachers may select some explorations only. Their decisions should be based on the time available, the requirements of their curricula and on the needs and interests of their students.
To help teachers make their choices, a 'short pathway' of nine explorations (14 classroom sessions of 45 minutes each) has been designed:
Like the full programme, the 'short pathway' of explorations has been carefully designed. It follows the sequence of EHL instruction and includes all the core skills and concepts, enabling students to gain an understanding of international humanitarian law (IHL) and the complexities of its application.
The explorations forming part of the 'short pathway' are indicated by the following icon in the EHL resource pack for teachers:
Module 2: Limits in armed conflict should precede Module 3: The law in action:
Modules 2 and 3 should precede Module 4: Dealing with violations:
Module 5: Responding to the consequences of armed conflict can be taught at any time after Module 1:
You have a variety of materials at your disposal and you may select those most appropriate for your context and class. As you will be aware of potentially delicate issues and will want to respect the sensitivities of your students, you may choose to avoid particular case studies for cultural, religious or other reasons. Some materials may be better suited to more mature students.
You may choose to use examples from local history to provide a sense of nearness for your students. Before introducing examples of your own, it may be helpful to first work with the original materials to understand how they contribute to the learning goals that have been set out. Once you are familiar with the original materials, you will be in a better position to choose appropriate substitutes. When adapting materials it is important that you avoid focusing on the perpetrators of violations and that you ensure that the changes or additions that you make reflect the spirit of international humanitarian law (IHL) and of humanitarian values.
At the same time, you may wish to avoid using controversial examples taken from local history as they might evoke extremely strong reactions that obscure the IHL subject matter or disrupt the learning process. It is important that students be able to look at issues objectively. Experience has shown that students will often spontaneously refer to examples closer to home once they have examined examples taken from far-away contexts.
The broad range of historical and contemporary examples of armed conflict used in the programme and the fundamental ethical questions it raises inevitably link EHL to academic subjects such as history, social studies, sociology, geography, civics, philosophy and law. There are also links with newer subjects such as citizenship education, human rights education and peace education, which may be offered across the curriculum. Finally, literature or language arts courses may also be suited to the discussion-based approach and active pedagogies on which the EHL programme is based. (The Guidelines for inserting EHL into the curriculum will be helpful to education authorities and teachers in finding appropriate academic subjects in which EHL can be taught.)
However, one of the most difficult aspects of implementing the EHL programme is finding a stable place for it in the curriculum. Organizing pilot tests of the teaching materials may be helpful in deciding how and where the programme can fit.
While it is theoretically possible to integrate EHL across the curriculum, most education authorities would find it impracticable: it is a complex and expensive process that would necessitate the training of a large number of teachers. In countries where teachers are comparatively free to choose what to teach, the potential for including EHL in the curriculum is correspondingly greater.
To facilitate the integration of EHL in the curriculum, it is important to tie the contents of the programme to national curriculum objectives and to existing practice.
The EHL programme can be offered in a shortened form and adapted to the needs of a particular school system or group of students. It is important that education authorities consider the teacher-training implications of any choice they make in this regard: to that end, it is recommended that, where possible, EHL be included within a single academic subject.
Yes. You do not need to be an expert in humanitarian law to teach EHL effectively. As its title, Exploring Humanitarian Law, suggests, the programme emphasizes 'exploring': it is the main pedagogical approach used in EHL. You will be exploring perceptions, attitudes and new content along with your students. This is a new experience for many teachers, who are trained to be experts in a particular area. In EHL, your role is to mentor students as they explore the subject: you are not required to have all the answers.
When an answer is not readily available, your role will be to help students find information that answers their questions. Such questions will also allow you and your pupils to bring your own experiences to the study of EHL.
To support your work, the teacher resources included in the various explorations provide background information on many of the topics covered in EHL. The IHL Guide provides additional international humanitarian law content in a straightforward question and answer format. The Methodology Guide includes a section on the 'No easy answers' teaching method that suggests some ways in which you can handle difficult questions. Consulting the EHL Virtual Campus and the website of the International Committee of the Red Cross (www.icrc.org) can also help you to gain a deeper understanding of certain difficult issues.
However, it is essential that you keep in mind that many of the questions that challenge you and your students do not have clear answers and are debated by political leaders and legal experts all over the world.
Some of the issues tackled by the programme may evoke strong feelings in both students and teachers. The teacher-training sessions encourage teachers to examine their own fears not only about the pedagogical approach of 'exploring', but also about having their students engage in class discussions on certain issues.
A variety of materials are provided in the programme and teachers may select those most appropriate to their communities. In addition, teachers may use examples from local history to provide a sense of nearness for their students. Teachers should choose examples from their local history with great care: these are liable to evoke extremely strong reactions that might disturb students and disrupt the learning process.
Teachers must be aware of potentially delicate issues and respect the sensitivities of their students; they must not force students to share painful personal experiences or details of family history.
The 'EHL Virtual Campus' is a web-based resource centre and online community for the EHL programme. The website's primary function is to provide support for teachers and teacher-trainers as they introduce international humanitarian law to secondary school students and teachers. As such, it does not address or offer materials to students directly.
The EHL Virtual Campus presents several explorations and teacher-training workshops in a guided online format; it provides interactive support for understanding and working with the EHL programme and its teaching methods.
For those interested in deepening their understanding of humanitarian law, the EHL Virtual Campus offers many background materials as well as a self-assessment quiz.
The EHL resource pack for teachers, as well as the Guidelines for experimentation and evaluation and the Guidelines for inserting EHL into the curriculum can be ordered online (http://www.icrc.org/eng) or downloaded from the EHL Virtual Campus.
If you need more help in ordering the EHL materials, you can contact the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in your country or your National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society.