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Streetlaw Turning Up Trumps!

Who would have thought that you could learn about Human Rights by talking about Donald Trump and Aliens? And that it would actually be interesting. Despite his questionable characteristics and political views, street-law has allowed us to turn Donald into a tool to teach Human Rights with, although it didn’t take much to do that…

Doing street-law with TY students from Secondary schools, or any class from Secondary school, is a great way to introduce people to law. A common-sense and no-nonsense approach, applying law to examples that students encounter on a daily basis, without even noticing. Group-work based Activities are at the core of every street-law lesson, it doesn’t bore you into a deep sleep like some talks and lectures, instead it allows the students to discuss and give their own views through activities. Up writing on the whiteboard, around the room in groups, discussing, debating, competing against others in groups and even doing mini role plays. Most of all, the best part about street-law is that it is designed to be a bit of craic!
This Trump lesson in particular is great fun, it takes a serious and substantive topic like Human rights and presents it in an easy to understand and interesting way (Well that’s what we think anyway). Before any mention of the law we did some ice-breaker activities, we played “guess who the lesson is based around.” (We didn’t tell them anything about Trump before this obviously). We played “Guess who” in their groups giving clues like the red tie, reading out some tweets and even doing a terrible impression. Then we handed out the print out of the “local newspaper” telling us that Trump has been an Alien all along and has come out publicly. This was fictitious of course, we aren’t insinuating that Donald is an Alien… for legal reasons.

The premise of the whole activity was that Donald was an Alien and is taking over the world but is sparing Ireland. The students in their groups are now acting as Ireland’s Human Rights lawyers, they have been advised by Donald that they will be given a list of Human rights but they must forfeit some and give good reasons. They are told if they cannot do this, within the specified time, then they will fail and will not be spared.

It sounds strange, but it works out well in a lesson. An activity like this gets students critically thinking about things, questioning and discussing in comparison to the typical wrote learning method of learning. It’s better than sitting in a classroom for forty minutes listening to the teacher read and then having questions to answer when you go home. Students learn better by doing, not listening. I honestly have enjoyed street-law and the feedback from the students has been extremely positive.

By; Dillon O’Loughlin , 3rd Year Law with Criminal Justice.