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Human Rights Workshops for the Classroom

All workshops are designed for 60-minute sessions. Content can be adjusted to fit shorter or longer sessions if requested by educators ahead of time.

Workshop themes include:

Human Rights Fundamentals:

  • Human Rights Principles and Critical Thought
  • Know Your Rights: Under 18 Handbook 
  • Power and Privilege

Raising Awareness:

  • Accessibility, Difference and Inclusion
  • Colonialism and Canada
  • Breaking the Binary: Sex, Gender & Identity 
  • Creating a Culture of Consent
  • Refugees, Migration and Diversity

Taking Action:

  • Taking Action in Social Justice
  • Ethical Consumerism
  • Art & Activism

Interested in another Human Rights, Civil Liberties or Social Justice topic, but don't see it here? We offer flexibility for workshops and topics that suit the needs of you, your classroom, organization, or group. Contact us today! Describe your need, and we'd be happy to try to accommodate you. 


Human Rights Principles and Critical Thought

Grades 9-12: This workshop will explore various fundamental human rights concepts such as, Fundamental Freedoms, Equality Rights, the three generations of rights as well as rights included in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With these fundamentals, students can begin to explore how rights can come in to tension through case studies and current events. In addition, students become equipped with critical thinking skills by examining articles and seeking out particular information. By exploring ethics with critical thought guided by fundamental knowledge of human rights, students are prepared hold power to account and engage in healthy debate.

Note: this workshop is a helpful precussor to involvement in the MARL High School Ethics  Bowl

This workshop supports Social Studies curriculum, focusing on understanding contemporary Canada and the political framework that our society is shaped by.  It provides a strong addition to the Grade 12 Law course, contextualizing for students how the legal system influences the lives of young people.

Accessibility, Difference and Inclusion

Grades 5-8 or 19-12: This workshop will explore the various models of disability and the ways in which language can embolden different ideas. Students are encouraged to reflect on the power of words, stereotyping and fear of difference. A brief history of discrimination towards people with disabilities is explained and the subsequent resistance and mobilizing is exposed as well.  In addition, experiences of people with disabilities will be highlighted through film clips that feature community members sharing their stories. By exploring difference through activities guided by empathy and open-mindedness, students are empowered to challenge ableism when they see it.

This workshop provides the opportunity for students to draw connections between their Social Studies social justice related content and how they themselves walk through life as a responsible member of society.

Colonialism and Canada Workshops

Grades 5-8: This workshop explores how the assimilative policy of residential schools has had an impact historically and still currently on Indigenous peoples in Canada.  Students will explore how residential schools were one piece of the broader puzzle of colonialism, and the critical importance of listening to the stories of survivors.  Students will also reflect on what kind of Canada they hope to see in the future, considering the Truth and Reconciliation's Calls to Action for all Canadians.

Through a discussion of the original Indigenous inhabitants of the land and the impact of colonization on these communities, this workshop will draw significant connections with grades five and six Social Studies material focusing on Canadian history. Grades seven and eight students will be challenged in the workshop to consider the importance of listening to the stories of different communities, lending itself well to the respective Social Studies curriculums studying diverse societies in our world, both historically and today.

Grades 9-12: This workshop allows for a critical introduction to colonialism, human rights, and the continued resistance by Indigenous peoples in Canada. Topics include The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, The Indian Act, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.  Common stereotypes and misunderstandings about Indigenous peoples in Canada will be investigated, and the workshop will conclude with a discussion about one's individual responsibility to decolonization.

Through a critical look at the impact of colonization on Indigenous communities today and the attempts to challenge and change this, students in grades nine and ten will be able to draw connections to their Social Studies material surrounding diversity, democracy, natural resources, and social injustices in Canada. This workshop will perfectly complement the grade eleven history curriculum's discussions of colonization, as well as grade twelve classroom content surrounding human rights, social justice, wealth, power, and the environment.

These workshops are developed with themes from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action in mind.

Power and Privilege Workshops

Grades 5-8: This workshop allows students to explore the various ways in which privilege and oppression exist in our society.  Students will gain a basic understanding of relevant terms, including expanding their vocabulary and knowledge surrounding the isms (sexism, racism, ableism etc.). Emphasis will be placed on the importance of being an ally and using one's privilege to challenge discrimination and oppression.

This workshop complements the Health Education curriculum's material designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop a positive self-image with an accurate perception of their own privilege within society, while also equipping students with tools to become compassionate and active members of their communities.

Grades 9-12: This workshop will provide students with a general understanding of terms surrounding privilege, oppression, and various forms of discrimination: racism, classism etc. The intersectionality of oppressions will be briefly explored, providing a fuller explanation of how various forms of discrimination and oppression interact.  Students will be encouraged to consider their own privilege and understand what it means to harness it as active allies. 

This workshop provides the opportunity for students to draw connections between their Social Studies social justice related content and how they themselves walk through life as a responsible member of society. 

Breaking the Binary: Sex, Gender, and Identity Workshops

Grades 5-8: This workshop will explore the various spectrums that contribute to our identity formation (gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and biological sex), while discussing how socially constructed ideals can influence these identities. Students will draw the connection between LGBTTQ* rights and human rights through an exploration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Definitions of common LGBTTQ* terms will be discussed, as well as the ways in which discrimination exists and can be confronted by students.

Grades 9-12: This workshop will explore the various spectrums that contribute to our identity formation (gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and biological sex), while discussing how socially constructed ideals can influence these identities. General definitions of common LGBTTQ* terms will be discussed as well as LGBTTQ* legal rights in the Canadian context.  In addition, focus will be given to the unique experiences of transgender individuals in North America. By exploring homophobia and transphobia, students will gain a better understanding of ways in which they can confront these forces.

These workshops effectively enhance the Health Education curriculum surrounding human sexuality and relationships.  Exploring a positive self-concept surrounding one's gender and sexual identity will be emphasized, as well as the importance of respecting this process for one's peers.  In addition, these workshops draw connections with the Social Studies curriculum analysis of legal and human rights being extended to certain demographics.

Know Your Rights: Under 18 Handbook Workshop

Grades 9-12: This workshop is designed to engage young people with how the law influences their lives and supports their rights specifically as youth.  The workshop aims to differentiate between rights and privileges, introduce participants to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and works as a complement to the Under 18 Handbook developed by MARL to build a better understanding of what laws are and how they work.

This workshop supports Social Studies curriculum, focusing on understanding contemporary Canada and the political framework that our society is shaped by.  It provides a strong addition to the Grade 12 Law course, contextualizing for students how the legal system influences the lives of young people.  MARL will provide classrooms with their own copies of the Under 18 Handbook for teachers to continue discussions surrounding the legal system and the rights of young people beyond the workshop session.

Creating a Culture of Consent

Grades 10-12: This workshop explores what consent means and provides students with a clear and concise definition to work with. Students will learn what their rights are as agents under the Criminal Code, how these rights have changed, and how to use these protections to their advantage. Students will consider the social implications of this conversation about consent and be encouraged to reflect on how they might change their own actions.  Finally, they will gain an understanding of gender-based violence and the social structures that underpin today‚Äôs troublesome culture. Students finish the workshop by busting myths about consent and sexual assault in Canada.

This workshop draws connections with the Social Studies curriculum analysis of legal and human rights as pertaining to youth. In addition, this workshop effectively enhances the Health Education curriculum surrounding human sexuality and relationships. Understanding the meaning of consent will be emphasized, as well as how to respectfully seek it from others. 

Refugees, Migration and Diversity Workshop

Grades 7-12: In this workshop, students will have the opportunity to think critically about immigration and refugees in Canada. Students will understand the differences between refugees and immigrants as well as the nuances along the way to citizenship.  They will have the opportunity to reflect on how they personally fit into the history of immigration in Canada as well as debunk myths and misconceptions. The United Nations recognizes more than 20 million refugees worldwide; with unprecedented numbers of people facing forced migration, students will analyze factors that contribute to a migration crisis. Students will also examine the challenges that newcomers may face when they arrive in Canada.  Finally, students will exercise compassion for refugees by considering the difficulty of fleeing from their homes and explore the idea of global citizenship. 

This workshop is a helpful addition to classroom discussions already taking place surrounding multiculturalism and diversity in Canada. Students will be able to draw connections to topics on Canadian history, legal systems, and responsibility to upholding human rights. 

Taking Action in Social Justice Workshop

Grades 7-12: Activism can seem overwhelming and joining a cause can seem intimidating, but did you know that even small actions can be a step towards social justice? Anyone can participate in activism. In this workshop, students examine what it means to be empowered, how to move through the steps of social movements, how to expand a base of allies and supporters for a cause, as well as examples of activists and social justice movements that have had an impact in our world.

Note: it is not necessary for students to participate in the power and privilege workshop before this session, but it is suggested in order for students to gain the most from this workshop. This workshop can also be completed as a half day (3 hour) session.

This workshop is a great addition to curriculum for teachers who are interested in engaging their students in practical social justice action.  It complements classroom work being done surrounding human rights issues, or social justice groups in the school, providing students with applicable knowledge.

Ethical Consumerism Workshop

Grades 9-12: This workshop helps students work through the tough process of being a conscientious consumer, considering the impact of the product we are buying on other people, animals, and the environment.  This workshop breaks down different questions to ask while deciding on a purchase, it explores how our consumption habits are shaped by globalization and capitalism, and introduces several alternatives to mainstream consumption habits, giving students different options for more sustainable consumption habits.

This workshop fits well with the Education for Sustainable Development vision of equipping students across the province with the information and skills to live sustainably and to develop life-long sustainable development practices. 

Art & Activism Workshop

Grades 7-12: This 2-part workshop explores how activism and art fit together as powerful tools for change. Students will learn what activism is, what an ally looks like and how to be one through group discussion and dialogue. Students will learn about social movements and critically engage with their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, they will gain an understanding of how art can be used as a tool for social change. Students finish the workshop by creating art based on a human rights issue that matters to them. 

This workshop is great for teachers who are interested in engaging their students in practical social justice action. Students remain tethered to Arts and Social studies curricula as well as Middle and High School Years pedagogy through learning how to engage in critical thinking to understand how art can be used for social change. It complements human rights oriented classrooms and social justice groups in the school by providing students with applicable knowledge.


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