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Text Analysis: Example 3

Example of a Completed Written Text analysis

Jae Cody - October, 2005

Human Rights
Text Title:
Menschenrechte (at
Grade Level:
Language Proficiency Level:
Intermediate mid


Key related concepts
Human rights, justice, equality, freedom


  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was codified by the UN on December 10, 1948.
  • Rights listed in the document include: right to equality under the law, right to life and freedom, right to education, among others.
  • Although all people are entitled to these rights, they are abused around the world on a regular basis.

Essential Understandings or “Big” Ideas (Generalizations)

  • Although people can differ in gender, nationality, religion, skin color, etc., there are certain things that we all share.
  • Some rights are so important that everyone deserves to have them, regardless of who they are or what they have done.
  • If we want to have rights and freedoms, we must protect them.

Unfamiliar cultural assumptions

Products (unfamiliar or familiar but used in a new way)

Practices (unfamiliar or familiar but used in a new way)

All people have a right to sufficient, healthy food.

Text Organization

Purpose (e.g., present information, teach a moral, entertain, etc.)
To present information about human rights and to make students aware that human rights violations happen around the world.

Text Structure (e.g., introduce setting/character, events, problem/resolution, etc.)

Definition of human rights, description of included rights (Protection from the state, freedom of expression and self-determination through voting, right to food and safety, among others), historical background of human rights codification, discussion of human rights violations, examples of organizations that work to ensure that rights are protected.

Linguistic Features related to Genre [connectives, (e.g., adverbs of time, conjunctions), verb type (action vs. saying verbs), verb tense, use of dialogue, etc.]

Technical vocabulary: human rights, citizenship, right to…, Constitution, death penalty

Passive voice: “Human rights had to have been invented, written, and agreed upon;” “rights, that must not be abused;” “Human rights must be protected.”

Purposeful use of personal pronouns (exclusion): “People have rights…” “Everyone can contribute.”
Present tense: “All people have basic rights,” “Human rights are rights…”


Learning Strategies and Possible Instructional Activities

Before Reading

Make predictions using the pictures from the web page (Amnesty Int’l banner, Nelson Mandela, barbed wire, a riot): Who are the people? What do they have in common? What do these symbols represent?

Activate prior knowledge by brainstorming in small groups: What is a right? What kinds of rights do we have in this country? Do people in other countries have the same rights? Do we know? Information is shared with the class.

During Reading

As you read, create a checklist of human rights mentioned in the article. Make a checkmark by any of the rights that are also rights of citizens in this country (using the brainstorming from before activity).

Pause between pages 1 and 2, and based on the information on page 1, try to write your own definition of human rights before reading theirs. Read the second page; how close is your definition?

After Reading

Using their individual definitions from the “during reading” activity, students create a definition of human rights as a class or in small groups.

Using the checklist they created, students select a right they feel is most important and justify their choice, using the form “Das Recht auf ___________ ist am wichtigsten, weil…” (the right to _____ is the most important because…)

Discussion of human rights abuses (either that students are aware of or from the text, teacher may bring in some well known photos or newspaper headlines). Using the passive structure, students describe situations where human rights are abused: “Menschenrechte werden verletzt, wenn…” (human rights are abused when…).

In small groups, students address the questions: If human rights are so important and 192 countries (excluding the US) have signed this declaration, why do so many violations occur? What is the point of having this document? Ideas are shared in a large group after adequate small group time is given.

Students research the work of Amnesty international ( or other human rights organizations that they are aware of independently and find out about projects that the organizations are working on. If the class is interested, students may write letters on behalf of one of the campaigns.

Vocabulary (Words, Phrases, Idioms)

Essential vocabulary for learning the content (CO)
Die (pl)Menschenrechte (human rights), das Recht auf…(right to…), der Schutz vor…(protection from), schützen (to protect), das Todesurteil (death penalty), gerecht/ungerecht (fair/unfair)

Select vocabulary to review or preview (material or activity related) (CC)
Government words: die Regierung (government), staatlich/staat (of the state, state), die Verfassung (constitution), die Öffenlichkeit (public)
Political verbs: beeinflussen (to influence), entstanden (to be created), gehören (to belong), verletzen (to injure/damage)

Grammatical Structures and Communicative Functions

Essential language structures and functions for learning the content (CO)
Passive voice, present tense: (werden + past participle)

“…werden diese Menschenrechte verletzt” – These human rights are abused.
Todesurteile werden aufgehoben”- Death penalties are suspended.

Select language structures and functions to review or preview (material or activity related) (CC)
Genative: “Die Idee der Menschenrecht” (the idea of human rights), “…der Vorstellung vom Wert des menschlichen Lebens” (the idea of worth of human life)
Compound nouns: Menschenrechtserklärung (Human rights declaration), Staatsangehörigkeit (citizenship), Menschenrechtsarbeit (human rights work)
Dependent clauses using weil and wenn (necessary for completing after reading activities)



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