Did you know that in 2014, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) conducted a survey on history and civics education? They found that 18% of 8th graders were proficient in US History. Pretty disappointing statistic right?
Here’s what one teacher is doing to change that.
Mount Litera School International is a coeducational day school in Mumbai, India. They have a mission to develop their students into independent thinkers who are active participants in a global society.
In 2020, to develop global mindedness in grades 1 – 5 PYP students learned about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As part of their learning, they were asked to choose one goal to investigate and to create action around that goal.
This initiative was been rolled out in all PYP classes. PYP teacher Chandrani Banerjeehas spearheaded this programme with educators at her school. Teachers in the PYP programme participated in an online professional development session with staff at Makematic where they were introduced to the resources on their app around the Sustainable Development Goals. Students participated in a workshop with Makematic staff online, used inquiry-based approaches to learn about the goals, created partnerships with other schools, and used Flipgrid to share their actions at a school event.
One of the biggest challenges was building the confidence of educators at all levels to use the sustainable development goals in their teaching. The teachers overcame this problem by asking educators to start with goals that they understood and were ‘easy’ for their students to understand and build on from there.
The teachers and students at Mount Litera School International now have a greater understanding of the goals and a blueprint of where they can take their learning moving forward. Their aim is to reach as many people as possible and to inspire others to action. In 2021 and beyond they’ll continue to teach others about the SDGs, enter competitions and participate in further challenges and projects to make this world a better place.
Teaching young people about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals may seem like a daunting task. Impossible even. The best approach is to start with the goals that you are comfortable with or you believe your students will enjoy and learn with them. The goals affect everyone and at some level, anyone can talk about them. Keeping the focus local before making it global can also really ensure that the goals have real meaning for the students.
Check out Rayyan’s video on climate action below. If you aren’t inspired to take action to save the planet after watching this, then there is no hope for the world.
If you’re after resources to use in your classroom to help your students learn and take action around the SDGs, click here.
A fun way for educators and parents to learn about the SDGs with their students or children is the #17DaysToLearn Challenge. A self-directed challenge whereby young people learn about and take action around each of the 17 goals. Read about how Kings Hospital School in Dublin used the #17DaysToLearn challenge here.
Check out these blogs on the SDGs…
The Kings Hospital School, located in Dublin, is a co-educational secondary school for borders and day students, which offers a broad academic curriculum and a wide range of extracurricular activities.
In Ireland young people participate in a Transition Year programme, which forms the first-year senior cycle in many schools. It’s a year that is designed to create a bridge between the Junior Certificate and the Leaving Certificate programmes. Transition Year is an option for students in most schools. It offers learners an opportunity to mature and develop without the pressure of an examination. It also provides an opportunity for learners to reflect on, and develop an appreciation of, the value of learning in preparing them for the ever-changing demands of the adult world of work, further and higher education and relationships.
When covid-19 hit and schools in the Republic of Ireland were required to go into lockdown. The year-long inquiry-based action projects that Transition Year students at The Kings Hospital School were doing with other schools in the European Union were put on hold. In particular, the eTwinning project that the students were organising called “Get up and goals” was put on hold indefinitely. This project partnered with schools in Croatia, Italy and Turkey and focused on learning about the SDGs and creating transnational actions projects to highlight global and local issues. The programme which had mostly been face-to-face was now completely online.
This posed a challenge – How could the students continue to engage with the global themes they’d been exploring and change the focus of the “Get up and goals” project?
To continue on with their global education teacher Viki Malcolm encouraged her European studies students to complete the #17DaystoLearn Challenge. The #17DaystoLearn Challenge is a 17-day challenge to educate and inspire young people to take action around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In addition students at The Kings Hospital have taken their project online.
The original project plan was to have a community day of action planned for the issues raised for each SDG – however, lockdown ended that. Instead, students took their awareness campaigns online by creating Instagram or Twitter accounts for their chosen SDG and others conducted surveys of students in their school on their chosen topic. The collaborative work has been collated on a Wix site and this became the final product of the project.
Students were encouraged to complete at least one challenge – that which related to the challenge; they were to motivate students to get involved in the challenge and became an assessment item.
Some students were inspired to complete each of the challenges for the #17DaystoLearn Challenge over each of the 17 days. Here is a reflection from one of the participants who actively engaged in the challenge.
I participated in the #17DaystoLearn Challenge for a couple of reasons. The main one was because my European Studies teacher encouraged me to take part. Throughout the past year, we have been working on a project with students from all over Europe, developing our knowledge of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. When I first heard about the #17DaystoLearn Challenge, I thought that it would be a great way to enhance my understanding of the Goals and help me to finish my project.
I started on Day 1 with the first Goal, No Poverty. I watched the relevant videos on the Makematic app, wrote a blog on my thoughts and completed the activity for the day. I did this for all 17 days.
Each day brought something new, whether it was learning about Reduced Inequalities or Life Below Water. I learned so much about a variety of different issues and how the UN is trying to achieve the 17 SDGs by 2030.
Because I did it for 17 days, I was able to spend time on each goal. In class, I had mainly focused on two or three goals but the #17DaystoLearn Challenge forced me to research all of the goals, expanding my knowledge on each of the interesting topics.
To achieve the 17 Goals by 2030, action is needed. Not just by the UN and governments worldwide, but action from every single citizen of the world. We all live on this Earth. We all have an important part to play.
Thomas Eve, 16 years old
Adjusting to the new normal whether that be in everyday life or in a virtual classroom is not an easy task. Nonetheless, it’s an adjustment that we are all facing. The students of The Kings Hospital school had impactful plans to inspire and educate others about the SDGs. However, with the effects of covid-19, the original plan of action halted. But with the use of technology they were able to continue their project online by participating in the #17DaystoLearn challenge. They utilized social media and websites to communicate and collaborate with what they have learned about 17 SDGs. They learned, participated and reflected about the SDGs and realised what role they play in ensuring that we meet the 17 SDGs by 2030.
Our friends over at Adobe recently launched their brand new Youtube channel – Adobe for Education – featuring TWO courses that we’ve produced for them.
Make Impactful Video for Social Media
Make Impactful Video for Social Media
This course is for social media creators hoping to improve their video game using Adobe Premier Pro. It focuses on practical tips and strategies, brought to life by compelling graphics and interviews with exciting creators.
Unsurprisingly this collection of videos focuses in on the basics of design – complete with punchy explainer videos, practitioner interviews and creative ideas for teachers.
These are just the first two courses the team have been working on for Adobe – so expect loads more over the Summer!.
This case study showcases the work being done by non-profit Teachers Across Borders to build capacity in Cambodian Educators, and how they used Makematic’s global education professional development content to help them do it.
Founded by Brian Allen (Order of Australia) in 2006, Teachers Across Borders Australia (TAB) is a not-for-profit organisation that brings volunteer Australian educators to train and empower Cambodian educators through their face to face workshops.
TAB Australia trains early career, practising teachers and leaders in the best practice educational approaches aligned with existing educational research. Their approach is one of information exchange, centred around content-specific knowledge, pedagogy, active and student-centred learning approaches with an overall theme of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Improving the Teacher Induction for Train the Trainer Programme
Inducting volunteer teachers is time-consuming. There can be as many as 30 educators that need to be inducted in each cohort, often across states and even continents. Cohorts of volunteers visit Cambodia twice per year.
In the past TABs coordinators have met with volunteers individually to do a face to face induction. This is challenging as coordinators work full time. Therefore, moving the induction process online:
- Enables core TAB coordinator to spend more time developing partnerships, networks and resources
- Means a more consistent approach to induction
- Volunteer meetups can be done using web-conferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype.
The new induction programme currently lives on Google sites, and will soon move to the learning platform Cahoot.
Modules with videos and reflection activities are used in the induction process to prepare volunteers for their time in Cambodia. This serves the dual purpose of screening participants, inducting them and preparing them for the complex work they will be asked to carry out whilst in Cambodia.
The focus of the video content is on the following topics:
Pedagogical approaches = what makes our approach to education in Australia something worth sharing and what features makes it distinct. Some examples of the videos they included in the professional development series include, videos created by Makematic and Participate:
- The Sustainable Development Goals Overview
- Student-led discussion
- Building a Professional Learning Network
- Formative Assessment
Cultural understandings = things to be aware of, cultural practices to avoid and be aware of when teaching across cultures.
Workshop specific content = things to consider as participants prepare content and consider the way they will apply principles of andragogy to their work
Teacher Induction Programme
The induction process is now a more streamlined process, and less time is now spent wasted on covering and re-covering core content. Teachers have a greater awareness of issues they may face and better plan for their workshops. In the past this has been done almost entirely without any oversight or guidance from the organisers or the executive board. Overall teachers are better prepared for the programme.
“Since our inception as an organisation we have trained over 5,000 Cambodian teachers to become more confident professionals. This has included numerous teachers moving through our teacher workshops, to become ‘train the trainer’ participants and finally culminates in these inspiring and aspirational teachers running their own workshops within the program. For many of these educators this progression has also, as a bi-product of hard work and support, in places as Principals and officials within the Ministry.
Indeed we have helped to facilitate more than 40 Khmer lead workshops and this number has grown steadily along the growth of the program. Our feedback and evaluation forms are routinely glowingly positive and constant improvement has occurred as a result of these feedback processes. Our latest and greatest achievement has been completing our last Battambang program after 13 years, as a result of reaching the level of professional development that we planned for that region. We look forward to continued work with Cambodia and other regions, both within and outside of Cambodia where this type of capacity building and development is most needed.”
Steven Kolber, TAB
TAB plans to phase out the work they have been doing when the Khmer teachers and presenters will also start organising their own events to develop each other in an open way. In the long-term TAB may continue their work in a supportive role to allow the promotion, organisation and development of the teachers. Their “greatest goal is to become irrelevant in Cambodia as the system has developed so far that we are no longer necessary.”
TAB is willinging to consider other countries that have noted a need for the professional development of teachers. That’s because they believe in the power of committed individuals assisting others to bring about large and long lasting change.