Dignity of the human person
How is dignity upheld?
By the end of this unit, students will have explored the idea of God-given dignity or worth, and the implications of this; explored how a home provides a sense of dignity; and investigated responses to situations where people’s dignity is not upheld.
Teachers, before you start:
- Watch the CST for your own background and familiarise yourself with the Lower Primary cartoon (found within the Learning Experience below).
- Download the various resources referenced (worksheets, slides, etc.) and have them ready to go on your computer/interactive whiteboard.
- Locate any Scriptures and copies of Church texts (all hyperlinked within the Learning Experience below).
- Familiarise and decide on the use of online or app technologies.
Learn - Focus
Explore the idea of God given dignity or worth.
Tune into students current understanding of ‘dignity’. What does dignity mean?
In groups, students locate definitions of the word dignity either from dictionaries in the classroom or online.
Discuss:what students have discovered. Do we all have dignity? Who gave us dignity? What makes us feel like we have dignity?
Collate definitions/key words and create a class word cloud using Wordle or create an artwork to reflect the meaning of dignity.
Read and display the Scripture verse Psalm 139:13-14
Students have silent time to meditate on what this Scripture verse means for them as individuals and, for others.
Discuss: What does that mean for the way we think of ourselves? How should we think of ourselves? Of others? Does that Scripture add to our previous understanding of dignity and our worth?
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Learn - Explore
Explore the implications of God given dignity.
Discuss:What is the implication for how we treat others?
Celebrate the wonder of being loved by God. Introduce the social implication this also carries. If we believe that all people are created in God’s image and are worthy, then when people are treated unfairly, we are disrespecting the God in them.
Students write a diamante poem based on Psalm 139:14 and how we treat others. For example, the subject could be ‘Dignity’.
Read and display page 1, section 1 of the Dignity of the Human Person comic. See teacher cartoon >
Discuss: Why is having a home so important? How does a home make us feel loved? Safe? Should everyone have a home? Why?
Discuss how because we are all loved equally, it is fair that we should all have the chance to feel safe, loved and have a ‘full and beautiful’ life. Having a home is key part of this.
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Learn - Demonstrate
Explore how a home provides a sense of dignity.
Read and display page 1, section 2 of the Dignity of the Human Person comic. See teacher cartoon >
Discuss what else a home provides us with, for example; safety, a sense of belonging, somewhere to rest and relax etc. Use the Home brainstorm sheet as a poster or brainstorming stimulus, highlighting the importance of basic material needs as well as emotional needs.
Teacher’s Note: Caritas Australia works to uphold the dignity of all people. Poverty, hunger, oppression and injustice make it impossible to live a life commensurate with this dignity. Therefore, the notion of dignity is explored through the idea of basic needs and access to resources and services. These are also considered human rights. This is introduced in Lower Primary and developed in Middle Primary learning experiences using the Brazil case
study. It is therefore inextricable from the principle of ‘preferential option for the poor’.
Building the connection to situations of injustice, pose the question: ‘I wonder if….all people around the world have a home? Is this fair?
Discuss: Can you think of any situation where people are not being treated fairly in this way? Has anyone ever experienced being treated unfairly? How did this make them feel? Why might this be an unacceptable situation?
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Explore responses to situations where people’s dignity is not upheld.
Explain that as a class you are going to explore how some people live around the world and how sometimes people are not treated fairly, that not all people have a home and the basic things they need, and this is a serious problem.
Teacher’s Note: The principle of Dignity asserts that since we have all been given equal dignity by God, we are all entitled to equal rights. Therefore Caritas Australia works to uphold dignity through people centred development programs that promote and secure human rights.
Explain that you are going to learn about people in a country called Brazil.
Read and display page 2, section 3 of the Dignity of the Human Person comic. See teacher cartoon >
Discuss: What do we do when we see people treated unfairly? What are some of the things we can do? Why should we do these things? What does the Bible say?
Have students read Scripture verse Mark 12:28-31
Discuss: How does this help us know what to do for other people? What are some of things we can do to love our neighbour?
Caritas Australia works to love our neighbours all around the world- because we are part of God’s big family and because God’s love is shown when we love and serve others.
Make the connection that we can learn to show God’s love to the people around us first.
Discuss some of the ways that love can be expressed.
Read and display page 2, section 4 of the Dignity of the Human Person comic. See teacher cartoon >
Discuss: What are some of the things we know Caritas does to help people feel special- to uphold their dignity? What are some of the things that the people in the favelas are doing? What are the things that uphold dignity?
Explain that you are going to do something for someone else, a kind act, a thoughtful act that helps that person with something they might need. You could randomly assign a name to each student. Explain that we show God’s love to each other when we do something to help them. Discuss how you might take action.
Explain how this is similar to the work of Caritas Australia- they notice that something is not fair, and work together with the people in Brazil, and other countries, to make the situation fairer.
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Take up God’s invitation to show His love to others- to love and care for myself and others.
Journal, video or written reflection: Do I respect the dignity and worth of others? Do I uphold their right to feel loved and safe? Give students time to reflect on the way they uphold other’s dignity.
Write a class prayer, asking God for help to uphold the dignity of others. The prayer could be presented creatively and displayed in the classroom.
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