High School Curriculum

As the breadth of standardized examination requirements grows, international and human rights law is finding less and less room and nearly no mention in today’s high schools. To fill this gap, ASIL has created teaching modules modules designed for integration into existing history and civics curricula. Each module supplements subjects already commonly taught in high school – the drafting of the American Constitution, the American Civil War, World War II, and the Civil Rights movement – and gives teachers the ability to add a global perspective to those topics. ASIL's curricular support in these areas is grade level appropriate and assumes no background knowledge of international law. 

Each module provides two 45-minute lessons focused on the international law aspects of the above subjects. Each module also presents teachers with step-by-step instructions on how to introduce the subject matter into the classroom, including essential questions, concepts, and skills that inform the module, a suggested timeline for each lesson, questions for classroom discussion, potential classroom exercises, student handouts, group and individual student projects, supplemental materials, and outside resources, including internet and video materials. Each module concludes with one or two quizzes that teachers can use to test students’ retention and understanding.

Making the materials come alive and demonstrating the relevance of international law to students today is a vital element of these modules, so each is accompanied by a short video featuring an expert with personal experience. Featured are Benjamin Ferencz, former prosecutor at the post-World War II Nuremberg War Crimes Trials; David Crane, former chief prosecutor for the Special Court of Sierra Leone; Donald Donovan, 2012-2014 ASIL president and counsel for Jose Medellin and Mexico before the Texas and U.S. Supreme Courts and the International Court of Justice; Richard Jackson, special assistant to the U.S. army judge advocate general for law of war matters; and Surya Subedi, UN special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia.

Currently Available Modules - click cover to download pdf

Suggestions for New Modules

ASIL is not currently developing additional modules in this series. However, the Society does appreciate suggestions of possible topics for future high school curriculum modules.

For more information about this and other ASIL education activities, please contact ASIL’s director of education and research at dwrist@asil.org.