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June 15th, 2008
Exploring Freedom of Expression

In order to understand what freedom of expression is (articulated in Article 19 of the United Nations “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”) students first need to be able to define expression and recognize its various forms. This lesson focuses primarily on the freedom of speech, but it also examines the right to have an opinion and express that opinion without interference from any person or government.

Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, 1948

Grade Level: 9-12

Time Allotment: Two to four 45-minute class periods

Subject Matter: Freedom of expression

Learning Objectives

Students Will

Use primary sources such as news reports and video to gather information about current events and recent world history.

Analyze the information gathered from these primary resources to draw conclusions about freedom of expression and its various forms.

Encourage students to form and create their own individual ideas and concepts about freedom of expression.

Gain a broader view and understanding of freedom of expression and of Article 19 of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (UNDHR) and the effect it has on the United States, themselves and the global community as a whole.

Academic Standards:

National Standards for History
Standards 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 5E, 5F

    A. Identify issues and problems in the past and analyze the interests, values, perspectives, and points of view of those involved in the situation.

    B. Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances and current factors contributing to contemporary problems and alternative courses of action.

    C. Identify relevant historical antecedents and differentiate from those that are inappropriate and irrelevant to contemporary issues.

    D. Evaluate alternative courses of action, keeping in mind the information available at the time, in terms of ethical considerations, the interests of those affected by the decision, and the long and short-term consequences of each.

    E. Formulate a position or course of action on an issue by identifying the nature of the problem, analyzing the underlying factors contributing to the problem, and choosing a plausible solution from a choice of carefully evaluated options.

    F. Evaluate the implementation of a decision by analyzing the interests it served; estimating the position, power, and priority of each player involved; assessing the ethical dimensions of the decision; and evaluating its costs and benefits from a variety of perspectives.

National Standards for Social Studies

    IX. Global Connections: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of global connections and interdependence.

    X. Civic Ideals and Practices: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.

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