Background

Founder of Footprints on the Globe, Annie Woollard, is a Teach SDGs Ambassador and Australian educator who wants to inspire children and educators globally to change their thinking and day-to-day behaviours by embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals directly into the classroom and curriculum.

How did she decide to make the shift from teaching to founding her own business? What are the challenges she faced? How does she help educators and students change behaviour? And how can you get involved?

Where It All Began

Annie discovered the Global Goals in 2016, when she was teaching in a big independent school in Melbourne. She was blown away and in her words, “my teaching world turned around, and I thought wow, this is what I want to do. Everything that I did changed. I was already implementing a more global approach to the curriculum, as the SDGs are a good framework for helping achieve that. I started introducing the Global Goals into my classes, and tried to make it as relevant to the 10 and 11 years olds I was teaching as much as possible by making connections to local issues in their community. Then I applied to be a Teach SDGs Ambassador and was accepted. Which was really cool. I then made a decision not too long after that, that I could either continue to influence my students and the school community, or I could get out there any help educators integrate the SDGs into their curriculum. That’s when I founded Footprints on the Globe. 

Footprints on the Globe

In her work, Annie shares the mantra of “Think Globally, Act Locally.” By thinking globally, children (and of course adults) can learn empathy and cultural diversity. It’s from there that children and their teachers form connections and are more likely to take ownership and invent, innovate and campaign for change. She supports educators and schools integrating, what many perceive to be an impossible task, aligning the SDGs to the curriculum.

Barriers to Integrating the SDGs Into Curriculum

Footprints on the Globe’s tagline is little steps, because “everyone can take little steps to take action. I believe in the theory of think, feel and act, which of course means that everyone has the power to act, you just need to keep it really simple.”

And that’s what she does, she works with educators and schools to show them where to start, (start small), to think local, and to act (via education of course).

Top Tips for Starting Out

We know it seems hard, but if you don’t jump in and give it a go, you’ll never get to see what a powerful learning experience it will be for your students. Here are three tips from Annie herself:

  1. Display the Global Goals in your classroom – make them visual – get the conversation-starting. Start small, choose one goal that compliments your classes curriculum and unpack that by looking at what is this goal all about? What does it have to do with me? What can I do to help work towards this goal?
  2. Keep It Simple. If you are looking to make connections with your curriculum and the SDGs, think broadly how it can fit into your lesson via the conversations you are having and the themes you are teaching your students. Always think – which goal can I talk about in relation to what I am teaching?
  3. Make connections and learn from others. There are thousands of educators around the world, who are doing wonderful things. Get onto Twitter or check out the #TeachSDGs Ambassadors and learn and share with them.

Keen to Get Started

Connect with Annie Woollardon Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn or her website.

Free SDG primary/elementary and middle school/secondary videos here.

Free SDG professional development videos here.

Participate in the student-focussed and driven #17DaysToLearn Challenge with your students.

TeachMeet Workshop

On 11th January 2022, we will be running a TeachMeet workshop focusing on Goal 17, where educators in different countries will gather to share ideas and experiences of incorporating SDGs into the curriculum. We will be running a Lesson Design Sprint where small groups of teachers will brainstorm together and build out a lesson plan around one of our SDG videos. It is also a chance to hear from fellow educators who are experienced in teaching the SDGs through case studies from their schools.
Click here to join the event!