The language of the human rights of children : a critical discourse analysis
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2019 Ally Dunhill. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international treaty addressing the human rights of children. The Convention can be seen as the language of the human rights of children. Children are becoming more engaged and participating in the actual implementation of the Convention. This is a welcome move, but at the same time, we need to ensure the understanding and use of the language of the human rights of children is effectively and accurately available to them.
This study examines the use of the Convention, the language of the human rights of children, by schools in England who have achieved the Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA). This is done by applying Norman Fairclough’s three phases of Critical Discourse Analysis. Schools who are working towards the RRSA are required to embed the Convention into the school ethos and teaching and learning approaches.
Based on the analysis of the language of the human rights of children incorporated into the RRSA and presented on school websites, this study identified two key findings. First, there is a lack of understanding of the human rights of children, and this is clear from the misunderstandings or recontextualisation of the language of the Convention. Second, there is a lack of evidence regarding the reality of what is in the ‘best interest of the child’ (Article, 3) and the views of the child being taken into consideration and being given due weight (Article 12), when developing reciprocally respectful adult and child relationships in schools. This study has identified that more needs to be done to reduce or stop the recontextualisation of the Convention and the language of the human rights of children as this is distorting the discourse.
- School of Education and Social Sciences, The University of Hull
- Hope, Max A.; Ploner, Josef
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