Members of the debate club at the 2nd Primary School Bosanska Krupa in Bosnia-Herzegovina

From theory to practice through debates

How to move Democracy and Human Rights from theory to practice in the classroom? Regional Summer Academy alumni in Bosnia-Herzegovina engaged their students in a debating club.

During the 2015 Regional Summer Academy in Montenegro the team from 2nd Primary School Bosanska Krupa in Bosnia-Herzegovina identified a problem at their school: Although 9th graders had a subject called Democracy and Human Rights, it was all theoretical.

“Students lacked debating skills. By creating a debating club, we were hoping to improve the students’ communication skills, school climate and increase awareness of children’s rights”, Anela Brko explained.

Together with the other two team members, Daira Zjakić and Šejla Bjelopoljak, she made an Action Plan while in Montenegro which they started implementing once they got back to their school.  The first debates took place in October.

“We saw the results immediately. Students became more open, ready to express their opinions and defend their rights”, Anela added.

More teachers have since joined the project and debates have been organized for students in 6th to 9th grade. Topics centre on violence, discrimination and intolerance. Teachers have noticed that the debates have improved the students’ communication skills.

“They have learned how to analyse issues, come up with solutions, persuade and listen. They have learned organization and clarity and respect for different points of view. The debates have definitely also given them more confidence”, Anela said.

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