AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Classroom Resources

The AFT has developed a number of resources to help teachers incorporate international issues into their classrooms and encourage interactive instruction using real-world examples. These teaching tools are free, but please do not request more than one set per classroom. Some of the lesson plans can be ordered through the AFT Store online; others can be requested by e-mailing the international affairs department at

Human Rights

Our Time is Now

Inside this toolkit are two hands-on and collaborative lessons targeted for grades five through ten. One lesson draws from the inspirational story of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl and education activist who survived an attempted assassination by the Taliban. The second lesson focuses on the ongoing issue of sweatshops and the high cost of human life involved with making clothing sold by the world’s most popular retailers, including Gap, Walmart and Hanes.

Civic Engagement

Civic Voices

The Civic Voices website provides a wealth of classroom resources, lesson plans and activities free for download. All activities revolve around the theme of civic engagement and focus on the power of the individual to bring about societal change.

"Take a Stand: Student Activism around the World"

Students have played an important role in democracy movements around the globe. This award-winning video features four young activists who explain what motivated them to engage in the struggle for democracy and human rights in their native countries: Burma, China, Iran and South Africa. An accompanying teachers' guide provides additional background resources and activities that encourage students to think of themselves as engaged citizens.

Child Labor

Global Campaign for Education Curriculum Activities

Use the "lesson for all" to raise students' awareness about the 72 million children around the world currently denied access to an education. The included activities can be incorporated into a variety of subject areas, including language arts, math and social studies.

"In Our Own Backyard: The Hidden Problem of Child Farmworkers in America"

This online resource, developed by the AFT and the Child Labor Coalition, helps students explore the problem of child farmworkers in the United States from a public policy approach. In the process, they will analyze numerous primary resources that help meet national standards and performance expectations in social studies. These resources will help students consider the appropriate roles of government, citizens and businesses in protecting America’s children.

"Democracy in Africa: Building on Democratic Roots in African Traditions"

This five-lesson resource was developed for secondary students by AFT and Civitas Africa, an international civic exchange education program. The materials take a public policy oriented approach that encourages students to think critically about complex issues of governance. Students identify problems and possible solutions surrounding democracy in different African countries through guided study of readings from predominantly African sources.

"Democracy as a Starting Point: The Civic Journey in Latin America"

During the past 20 years, many countries in Latin America have moved away from dictatorship toward democracy. This five-lesson unit for secondary students explores the challenges facing these democracies and the role of civil society in promoting change. It was developed through Civitas Latin America.

"Help Your Neighbor, Help Yourself: Global Democracy Promotion and U.S. National Interest"

In the post-Cold War era, framing U.S. foreign policy discussions is a real challenge. What exactly are our current priorities—and what should they be? This five-lesson unit for secondary students attempts to address those difficult questions by considering whether international democracy promotion should be the defining objective of U.S. foreign policy.