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26 Nov, Saturday
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Montreal Families

Free workshops educate students about the law

Teachers and students have some new resources to turn to for help understanding Quebec law, including workshops and guides about legal concepts. These and other resources are provided free of charge by Éducaloi, a nonprofit organization that educates Quebecers about their legal rights and responsibilities.

According to Jean-Paul Bougie, who teaches high school English as a Second Language in Trois-Rivières, the bilingual resources, including guest speakers, are an ideal way to explain essential concepts about law and engage students in discussion and debate.

He said the lawyer who came to the school asked thought-provoking questions to get students thinking about the nuances of the law. “The students loved the approach,” Bougie said. “The guest speaker arrived dressed in his robe and was very professional. He gave the students insights that I was not able to provide.”

Since 2000, Éducaloi has worked to make justice more accessible through easy-to-understand legal information in print or on the web.  It also provides numerous resources to help teachers feel comfortable integrating legal concepts into their curriculum, whether they are teaching students in high school or adult education.

For example, volunteers organize interactive, free workshops in schools with activities to simulate mediation or a court trial as well as debates and quizzes.  All teachers have to do is sign up on the Éducaloi website. More than 200 volunteers present over 500 Éducaloi workshops a year.

Teachers can also download free educational guides that include legal concepts that can be integrated into the classrooms. There are 13 adapted to the Quebec high school curriculum, as well as five for adult education.

Later this year, Éducaloi will launch a website specifically for educators. For example, there will be court decisions and explanatory sheets that can be used as starting points for discussions in History or Ethics and Religious Culture. It will also explain new changes to laws, which will allow for discussion and debate about why these modifications were made and if they were necessary. It will also encourage debate about how law embodies societal values.

The organization also offers services directly to youth. For example, one of its guides deals with the issue of bullying. Through a simulated trial, Éducaloi provokes students to reflect on bullying to improve their understanding of what is legal and what is not.

One of the projects helps young mothers at the Rosalie-Jetté school for pregnant and post-partum teens understand their parental rights on issues like custody. It also works with indigenous artists to provide adapted workshops for youth to help them understand the legal system.

The website also includes a youth zone, with easy-to-understand information on issues that concern young people. Topics include employee’s rights, healthcare, relationships and more. It can be found at educaloi.qc.ca/en/youth.

For more information, visit educaloi.qc.ca/en.

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