Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Fight for Your Rights with Songs of Protest

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Fight for Your Rights with Songs of Protest

Article excerpt

It all began with a student's curiosity, as the best lessons often do. Greg always astounded his classmates with his general knowledge. One day, he mentioned Amnesty International during a class discussion on human rights; another student asked what it was and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

I asked the class to research the organisation for their homework - and I did some exploring of my own. On the Amnesty International website I found the Power of our Voices pack on protest songs, and an accompanying lyric-writing competition that my class could take part in. Teaching students about human and civil rights through popular culture, particularly music, seemed such a great idea, and I spent the rest of the weekend hastily planning lessons on this theme.

We started by listening to and analysing protest songs from various decades. Then I asked each student to research an area of human rights that particularly interested them and write a song about it.

To help, I played the class some video clips of rapper and poet Kate Tempest (pictured) that took them through the writing process step by step. …

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