Indiana University
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Arlene Benitez

Director, International Outreach and Development, CSSIE
Eigenmann Hall Room Eigenmann 1038
Phone : (812) 855-1270
Send me an e-mail
Department:  Center for International Education, Development and Research
About Me | Presentations

  • From Belfast to Medellin: Adolescents Ideas about Human RightsA study of adolescents understanding of human rights in Colombia, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the US. This study contributes to this knowledge base through an international comparison of students thinking. The purpose of the study was not simply to measure knowledge or attitudes but to investigate how students conceptualize the topic of human rights and to explore the extent to which their ideas reflect both classroom instruction and wider social and cultural contexts. Data were collected through open-ended, semi-structured, task-based interviews with 117 students (aged 14-17) from 10 different schools in 4 countries; students and schools were purposefully selected to represent participants in settings with explicit coursework or programs in human rights education. In interviews, students were asked to select and explain images that they thought best represented the topic of human rights, followed by a series of open-ended questions designed to elicit their understanding of mechanisms for guaranteeing human rights.
  • Understanding Critical Questions in Implementation of International Civic Education ProgramsPresenter: Arlene Benitez, Associate Director, Center for Social Studies and International EducationDiscussants: Meera Balachandran, Director, Education Quality Foundation India Gilbert Phiri, Domasi College of EducationThis session intends to explore the key questions that should be considered as part of the process of developing and adapting civic education programs for international use. Based on experiences in many countries around the world, it is apparent that we all come to the field of civic education with multiple understandings of the essential concepts that are shaped by our diverse cultures. Certain simple assumptions that we sometimes make as we begin to work in partnerships, including whether we mean the same thing when we use a term like civic education cannot be taken for granted. By discussing the essential questions below, this session hopes to create a more effective dialogue for working together in partnerships:How does the culture define civic education" Is there another way that is used more commonly to express the same idea (citizenship education, education for democratic citizenship")How do factors such as history, religion, and identity shape the cultural understandings of civic education"How does the culture define public policy" Is there a word for it" If not, does the concept exist"Is it common practice or culturally acceptable for a citizen to engage with government" (to identify problems and suggest solutions)Is it culturally acceptable for children to interact with government (or even adults) in that way"What mechanisms exist within the government structure to allow for citizen engagement (if any)"How does the culture distinguish between public policy and citizen (or civil society) actions" Is there an idea that citizens shouldnt look to government for solutions but should take care of things on their own"To what extent can Project Citizen be adapted to address the cultural differences referenced above" At what point does an adaptation cease to be Project Citizen"How are the different concepts in the Foundations of Democracy Materials viewed by different cultures" How can they be adapted in order to be most effective"What can be done to ensure successful implementation" (in adapting the materials, in training, in the classroom, at showcases")This session will engage participants in small group discussions and interactive dialogue to propose solutions to the issues identified above and develop guidelines to assist new programs in the development and adaption of materials and existing partnerships in their continued work.
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