By Akhilesh Reddy, @AkhileshSingi
My Project Everyone: About 671 million people lack fundamental skills like reading and math, about 470 million people lack access to primary education and so on. The numbers are huge and alarming. Since I am fortunate to have had a good education, I feel I have the responsibility to take along with me as many students as possible in the path of progress on which I am traveling leaving no one behind. So, I've shouldered the responsibility to digitize schools in rural India. I have so far digitized three schools in two years which not only fights dearth of teachers, but also make them digitally able to connect with the world audience.
Green Revolution: I have been carrying plantation drives in communities trying my bit to fight climate action day by day building self sustained communities. I call them miniature forests where a diverse variety of plantation is done to improve not just green cover, but also diversity.
Herself: Herself is a project I have initiated to advocate women empowerment. It is a platform which gives women both voice and an audience with whom they can share to and learn from. The initial project has been a tremendous success which has featured global audience. Issues, causes, and solutions was the theme.
GoalsOnWheels is an ambitious project that I have embarked on to reach one hundred thousand youth and build a massive workforce which is aware, capable, and willing to together work for the implementation of sustainable development goals. I strongly believe education is the best weapon and youth are the starting point. So, I started this campaign to educate youth and bring together forces for global goals by giving presentations, conducting deliberations and debates, and instilling in them the zeal towards global agenda.
1. It is the individuals who create societies and civilizations. It is education that moulds each individual. So, I have chosen education as the solution, a starting point for achieving the global goals. When you support quality education, you give an individual limitless possibilities and a community, future stability. Yes, education is a right and a necessity but it should not just be available and accessible but also acceptable and adaptable. 420 million could escape poverty with secondary
Education.With proper education we can equip even the most marginalised women with the knowledge they need to thrive. Alarmingly 617 million children and adolescents worldwide are not achieving a minimum level of proficiency. About 137 million adolescents though are in school are not learning the minimum. The numbers are huge and petrifying. So did I choose this goal to fight for education, to achieve my dream to see that all children and youth are in school, learning and earning a quality education. Education is progress and change is the end.
2. Of the key factors that lead towards successful implementation of SDGs, awareness is identified as the top priority. Tremendous efforts are being put towards realising SDGs but on ground the results are far from reality. So I chose to narrow this awareness gap through #GoalsOnWheels, which aims at appraising youth and children there by becoming a global goals generation.
GoalsOnWheels -- Insights:
I started this initiative as volunteer. We are the youngest generation the world has ever seen and as per stats we are only going to be younger. So I chose to tap this potential to move masses for implementation of Global Goals.
Each day I go to a school conduct presentations, debates, discussions or workshops regarding SDGs. Starting with the origination of MDGs, their success and shortcomings, raise of SDGs, the importance of their implementation for a fairer world, I would brief the students to start off with the session. Once students now have clear idea, it goes into an active dialogue. The dialogue leads to positive outputs like awareness, surfacing issues, short easy solutions and commitments.
But that is all what happens when I am there with them. What after that? So, in every school a team is built who would voluntarily choose each of the SDGs to lead it in their capacity within the school which is an assurance of continuation of the great effort.
As a result:
1. An active team engaged in SDG advocacy per school
2. Schools have promised to make their premise polythene-free zones
3. Plantation drives to improve green cover with in the school and adjacent localities
4. Students taking forward the pledges into their homes and communities
5. MUN's have been initiated to reciprocate the work
6. Pledge to move school infrastructure towards clean energies
7. Necessary action towards innovation driven education, quality education and many other localised solutions
1. The project has achieved a continuous 97 days, 97 schools milestone
2. Around 90,000 individuals have taken sustainable pledge among who are students, teachers, schools, government officials and entrepreneurs
3. The initiative has made to finalist list of UN SDG action awards
4. The initiative has been featured in a social community of 'One Million' people calling me an 'Inspiring Man'
6. The work has been featured and has been showered with praises in leading print and digital media
7. I am chosen a member of WorldWeWant2030 policy strategy group working relentlessly for ground root level implementation of SDGs
8. I am made champion of FreeBasics Glocal an impact investment platform working towards funding the sustainable development goals
The current ambitious target to reach 100,000 students is only the initial phase of the four folded impact going to be created. In the next phase, this is going to be a global phenomenon where multiple campaigns on similar lines will be launched in the countries across the world with the help of global peers.
Each of these initial phases is subdivided into two intervals, during campaign and after campaign. During the campaign apart from running the campaign to build massive work force, through a rigorous process an active team is establish in each school, which would be granular unit of the chain which ensures the continuation of the campaign through the years to come. In the after campaign phase together with all teams within the countries and across the countries large scale implementable solutions will be worked on.
For more information, visit http://singanna.com/goals-on-wheels/.
Global Community of Learners Striving to Tackle Climate Change - and on the way Build Partnerships for the Goals
By Estella Owoimaha-Church
Thanks to the vision of #TeachSDGs Ambassador and recent Global Teacher Prize finalist, Koen Timmer (@zelfstudie), more than 250 teachers and their students had an amazing opportunity come together this fall as a global community of learners. Our goal was to tackle SDG 13, Climate Action via the #ClimateActionP Project.
While I cannot say with certainty how many students worked on the project, it must have been in the thousands considering 250 schools were involved. If only 10 students per teacher participated, that is a yield of nearly 3,000 students engaged worldwide. In our school’s case, 32 tenth grade English Language Arts students participated in the project. #ClimateActionP garnered support from some of the largest names in science and has been covered by new media outlets around the world.
Earlier posts on this blog make reference to the #ClimateActionP project. I encourage all readers and those in this professional learning network to go back and read those posts for in-depth reflections and personal anecdotes. Consider this post a highlight reel which includes personal anecdotes from my classroom. While the obvious goal addressed through this project is “Climate Action”, I believe this project exemplified goal 17, “Partnerships for the Goals”. Never have I witnessed, or had a chance to participate in such a massive coordinated project. Every second of it was glorious.
At least eighteen of the participants on the project represent the Teach SDG’s initiative as ambassadors or task force members. As mentioned above, this project was facilitated and created by task force member, Koen Timmers. Below are links to the projects of several ambassadors. To explore other classrooms involved in this project, visit www.climate-action.info.
Throughout the course of the project, schools were tasked with addressing a few questions:
Over the course of 4-5 weeks, which began in October, students explored these topics and questions in some of the most creative ways imaginable. Some projects included Minecraft, Sway presentations, films, visual art projects, and more. Week four, some projects culminated with schools collaborating via Skype to share finding, project results, and ask more questions. Week five included live Skype calls with prominent scientists and explorers; one of which included Celine Cousteau. A compilation video of participants is available here. Several other videos related to the #ClimateActionP Project are available here.
#ClimateActionP Project in California
Our project began with a brainstorm and discussion about the Sustainable Development Goals. We embarked on a 4-week research project meant to culminate in mixed media projects that would be shared digitally. The classes that participated were my sections of 10th grade English Language Arts. Reading and writing are sometimes a challenge for students and so this endeavor was structured as a Project Based Learning module. Students were given a bit more autonomy and flexibility in what was discussed as well as what final presentations looked like. In addition to completing the group mixed media assignments, students were tasked with writing a research paper on climate change.
More than 15 sources - well within students’ Lexile ranges - were compiled both digitally and in file folders for student groups. Students worked in 2 groups throughout the four weeks with their fifth week being devoted to writing their research papers. Each week, students got into their expert groups to discuss the articles that pertain to the given questions, as outlined by Koen. Once they were done with this, they moved to their share out groups in order to help each other break down each source. Then students, in flexible groups used the data they had collected to produce posters for that week’s research question. Students then practiced public speaking by sharing out their findings and their posters.
Before the project came to an end, we were able to have a Skype call with Sean Robinson’s class in Canada. This experience was amazing for my students. It was their first time on an international call and they were ecstatic about the prospect of meeting students in another country. After speaking with the brilliant scholars in Sean’s class, we were lucky enough to get a visit from Naomi, Global Teacher Prize finalist and TeachSDG Ambassador. Naomi led a demonstration-lecture on climate change and guided students through hands-on science observations.
The best part of participating in this project was watching students realize they were a part of something larger. They took great pride in the fact that they were members of a global action. They derived even more motivation to complete the project knowing they were the only ones in our school working on this project. They gained a new level of confidence and empowerment that had been lacking due to a history of low grades and reading levels. When they received their certificates of completion, they were shocked. I think they thought I was exaggerating about how massive the project actually was. Some of them laughed and said, “You were serious?” as I handed them their certificates. At the very end of the project, we made a few videos. As I played them back, it was clear they were having fun - which is something I take great pride in.
I have to thank Koen for being the force behind an amazing project and putting forth the effort to ensure so many of us were on board. While the most obvious aim for this project was to meet sustainable development goal thirteen, I believe it was just as effective in supporting goal seventeen, partnerships for the goals. After participating in this project, my students now have 249 partners as we continue to move towards 2030. We are empowered and instilled with hope as it is evident none of us are alone in the effort to meet the goals.
Estella Owoimaha-Church was recently named a Global Teacher Prize Finalist (2017). She holds an M.A. in Education: Language Arts & Literacy from Loyola Marymount University and a B.A. in African-American Studies: Urban Education from California State University, Northridge. Estella teaches theatre in Los Angeles, helping youth to employ performing arts as a community service tool. Mrs. Church is an education consultant, as well as a reading, curriculum and pathway specialist. Though in the classroom full time, she remains active with several community organizations, including Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, training teachers in human rights and social justice education. “The arts are a transformative tool; when paired with the SDG’s, the arts can heal communities and build bridges, cultivate youth into global citizens, and usher in the SDG’s by 2030.” She is humbled and looks forward to serving her community as an #TeachSDGs & Varkey Teacher Ambassador. Connect with Estella on Twitter at @eochurch.
By Craig Jones
On a far north eastern island in Siberian Russia you will find a group of devoted and enthusiastic activists who dedicate their Thursday lunch times to making the world a better place. The idea evolved from Sakhalin International’s school vision of developing future accountable global citizens. What better way of achieving this than linking their ideas to the UN Global Goals? This team of internationally minded and moralistic students all applied to become a member of the group. The 12 then decided who would become team leaders for particular goals. With some projects already in mind, the ideas, goals and team leaders were selected and the hard work began.
Global Goal 14: Life Below Water
The team leaders for the Life Below Water goal set out to recycle as much plastic as they could. There is a particular overuse of plastic bottles in their community, so this seemed the best place to start. The project aims to collect plastic bottles as well as encouraging other members to use the recycling bins that are already in the community. Better recycling initiatives and raising awareness of the problem, means that they can contribute to keeping plastic out of the oceans. It is said by 2050 that there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish. This worrying prediction highlights the need for all of us to play our part in supporting this goal.
Global Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Arguably the most precious resource on Earth is water, however only around 3% of the water on our planet is fresh water suitable for drinking. UN Sustainable Goal 6 is increasingly becoming one of the most urgent issues in many third world countries around the world. The team leaders are busily fundraising to build a well in Bangladesh.
Global Goal 1: No Poverty
Poverty can be an overwhelming issue to tackle. There are endless possibilities when considering where to start. However for the no poverty team leaders, the answer to this question was already being considered by a parent of the school. One of our parents runs a charity linked to an orphanage in Nigeria. During his recent visit he discovered that many of the children did not have shoes or the ones that did were using shoes that were ill-fitting. His mission was to provide the children with shoes. Our brilliant team leaders came up with an even better idea, growing shoes. Growing shoes can be adjusted to be made bigger as the child grows. The founder of the charity loved the idea and the no poverty team are now pitching ideas to the Head Teacher, Mr Freeman, for approval.
Global Goal 5: Gender Equality
The big surprise for the Gender Equality team was to discover how girls are treated differently to boys in many countries around the world. The team researched how boys were given more opportunities particularly in developing countries. They also considered countries where society dictated gender specific roles. The aim now is to promote gender equality through awareness projects in our school and beyond.
Global Goal 4: Quality Education
Access to education in many economically wealthy countries is often taken for granted however many children in developing countries have little or no access to any form of schooling. It is estimated that 70 million children worldwide do not receive a proper education. The team leaders came up with a great way to make the education journey easier for local orphans in Yuzhno. They decided to organize a shoebox appeal they call “School in a Box.” The idea is to help others by providing a gift package of school items that may be needed.
Craig Jones is a project leader and P7 teacher and says “we cannot save the world by ourselves, but we can contribute in our own way. By supporting the school’s vision of developing our children as future accountable global citizens, we can encourage a more internationally minded and compassionate group of people who can make a difference in the world. Along with high standards of academic achievement we also need high standards of thoughtfulness, cooperation and morality." Craig is originally from the Rhondda Valley in SouthWales, UK. He has been teaching for 12 years. He is currently the IPC Lead at Sakhalin International School where he runs a UN Goalkeepers Club. Craig is a passionate educator who believes in educating children as a whole focusing on the IPC personal goals as well as teaching international mindedness through the UN Global Goals. Craig is a big believer in lifelong learning and has just completed a Masters Degree in Education and he plans to move onto his next Masters, in Psychology later this year. As well as Russia he has also taught in Colombia, Malaysia and the UK. Aside from teaching, Craig loves to travel to new places especially to places where he can see wildlife in their natural habitats. You can connect further with Craig on Twitter at @CraigLearning.
My story begins with UN SDGs when I took the Sustainable Development Goals course on the Microsoft Community and felt its importance for raising awareness of our community in Egypt and all over the world.
So, I began to think of a project to share the importance of SDGs generally and how some of these goals can be achieved through solving desertification which is both one a local and global issue. Desertification has become a big problem in Egypt, specially in my city Damietta because we are located on the Delta and River Nile.
I began to teach the SDGs for my students (Primary and Intermediate levels from 8–15 years old) and asking them to research the importance of the SDGs by using Microsoft tools and by creating simple drawings through using this link: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs.
You can follow our progress in Egypt through this Padlet:
Some countries have already begun carrying out the project steps like India, Sri Lanka and Argentina.
You can follow everything through this link:
Other countries as Canada, Kenya, Lebanon, Indonisia, Philippine ,UAE and Qatar will carry out when back to school next Septmber2017.
Now we are working on creative solutions to achieve these goals and solve the problem of Desertification using Minecraft game for Primary Stage and planting some types of plants from Science Faculty in Damietta in a small area in our School ( El Kafrawy Language School).
Besides I’m joining two global projects :
1. A Virtual UN Model Assembly By Maria Flor Conforti .( Goal 2 ) Zero Hunger . https://education.microsoft.com/Story/SkypeCollaboration?token=V6lew
2. Climate Action ( Goal 13) By Koen Timmers. It will be carried out 2nd October.My students are already preparing their work for them.
Rania Ezzat received her Post Graduate Diploma in Curriculum & Instruction Methodology and is preparing for her Master's in Education Technology. She is an EFL Head Teacher, and she has received awards in Kuwait and certifications from AUC and Microsoft. In June 2017, Rania was named the Sway Award Winner for her lesson on desertification from Microsoft which can be viewed HERE. Rania is a TeachSDGs Ambassador and is committed to bringing the SDGs to classrooms of the world. You can connect with Rania on Twitter at @ezatrania2.
By Francis Jim B. Tuscano, TeachSDGs Ambassador, Edtech Specialist, Philippines
The world has been in a quest for peace for so long. People of every color have given much effort. We have engaged in long and meaningful discourses, planned, and executed national and local actions to attain what humanity has been longing for.
In some nations, these efforts were successful, proving that peace is a strong and essential driving force towards progress and development. As time passes by, some peaceful countries suddenly find themselves at the frontline, as these nations guard and fight to maintain and eliminate threats to their nation’s peaceful existence. For some, peace has been very elusive. The struggle has caused divisions in their society, destruction of infrastructures and resources, denial of people’s basic rights, and worst of all, disrespect to and loss of human lives.
Role of Education in the Quest for Peace
The United Nations was fundamentally formed to maintain peace in our planet. Throughout the years, the UN has continued to prioritize the quest for a peaceful coexistence in this shared world. In 2015, the UN outlined peace as an area of critical importance in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To be more specific, the UN member nations target to attain, by 2030, peaceful, just, and inclusive societies, free from fear and violence. This goal acknowledges peace as a basic and essential element for progress and development to happen in every human society. SDG 16 focuses on this global quest for peace.
In this quest for peace, education plays an essential role. Whether through formal or informal learning or education, peace is taught as a universal value that must be integrated into the curriculum and to the learning process. Right now, this is something that all education systems in every nation should seriously consider.
In the school where I currently teach, Xavier School in the Philippines, peace education takes various forms. In the younger years, students first begin to learn about the importance respecting others, the skill to manage and resolve conflicts, and the goodness of showing kindness to every person one meets, whether the person is your friend or a stranger, young or old. We acknowledge that these are essential and fundamental values and virtues that help create a peaceful classroom, school, home, or neighborhood.
As the the students mature and move into higher levels, they are introduced to and made aware of the major conflicts that involve the bigger societies, nations, or groups throughout history. Disciplines such as the Social Sciences are often the designated subject areas that would push academic discussions and reflections on threats to and issues about peace and justice. Students in the higher grade levels engage in discourse, research, problem-solving, and advocacies that would contribute to the attainment of a peaceful and just nation. Together with other disciplines such as the Religious and Values Education and the Guidance Departments, students gain skills to become promoters of peace or as we say, “peacemakers.”
Using Visual Arts to Promote Peace Awareness and Action
Visual arts, which covers traditional fine arts such as drawing, painting, and sculpture among others, is known to promote and develop creativity among learners. Through the skills taught in visual arts, learners can create products that reflect the reality that they are living in, the aspirations they are genuinely working for, and the ideas and emotions that occupy their reflections.
Young learners who are attending visual arts classes also experience a different kind of fun and form of self-expression. When students are asked which they would prefer among the different academic disciplines, Arts would be a favorite answer, since it does not asked for a very rigid way of learning as experienced in the more concept and skilled-based subjects. It is in arts that they learn about creativity and experience freedom of self-expression.
Taking advantage of this, my team and I developed an arts activity that would engage young learners into a discussion about peace and justice. This project was very timely since the Philippines, where my students and I reside, has been in a long quest for a lasting experience of peace, especially in the war-torn parts of Mindanao Island in the southern area of the country.
Hands for Peace Project
The arts activity was called the “Hand for Peace Project.” The project had two-fold objectives - first, to make the students in Grades 2 to 4 aware of SDG 16 and of the need for peace in Mindanao, especially in the war-torn Marawi City and second, to ask the students to become promoters of peace in the different communities that they belong to, such as in school, neighborhoods, or even simply, in their families. The project made use of station or base system to execute the various activities.
Base 1: Awareness and Empathy Station
For the first station, the main objective was to introduce the young learners to the extreme condition of the war-torn city of Marawi in Mindanao. The city has been an area of conflict since May 2017 when a local rebel and ISIS sympathizer group, called the Maute, took control of the city. Up to the writing of this article, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as the national police group, continues to engage the rebel group in a deadly battle for the city. Local residents have been evacuated. Those caught in the middle of the siege were also relocated. However, the exchange of fires has led to the unthinkable destruction of infrastructure and the disruption of the citizen’s daily lives, commerce, and education.
The participating students were carefully led to reflect on the importance of peace and the effects of the absence of peace in a locality. An empathy exercise helped to engage the students in this station. To aid in this station, visual prompts, such as images of and videos about Marawi before and after the siege, were used.
Base 2: Promise and Call for Action Station
The second station challenged the students to become promoters of peace. In this station, the project banked on the symbolical meaning and relevance of the human hand. As promoters of peace, the young students were encouraged to use their hands as instruments of peace rather than using them as tools for destruction or division. This was very effective because it was a concrete way of telling them that the actions that they do with their bodies can either have good or bad effect on other people.
To engage the students, they were given simple peace cards which asked them to identify a community where they want to promote peace. Afterwards, the students were asked to think of a specific action that they can really do to promote peace in their chosen community. Some of the students chose to become better brothers to their siblings, while some promised to use kind words and do kind actions to their classmates or to any student they encounter in school. Some students focused on the critical issue in Malawi and promised to ask their parents to take part in helping the evacuees of Marawi. Whatever their answers were, the young students proved that they can also become promoters of peace, even if their promises and actions may seem too simplistic for adults.
Base 3: Mark of a Promoter of Peace Station
The station was the most anticipated part! Using differently colored washable hand paint, the young students made and left a concrete mark of their promise in the “peace wall.” Of course, this part was the most enjoyable part of the peace project. The students were given the chance to choose their favorite color for their hand mark. As they left their colorful hand marks on the wall, the students were asked to always remember their promises.
Continuing the Quest for Peace
Reality has shown us the truth. To have a peaceful world, we must acknowledge that everyone should contribute and work for it. This starts with helping our students, especially, the young of the importance of peace in every level of human society.
Hence, if we want to make peace education relevant, let us consider how we can meaningfully engage the students. As educators, we can take advantage of the various tools and media that captures the students’ interest in learning. Using their interests, peace education becomes more engaging and effective, just like this simple and fun arts activity which helped young learners to show empathy to those affected by conflict and to take actions to become peacemakers.
United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs
ABS CBN News (2017). TIMELINE: Maute attack in Marawi City. Retrieved from http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/05/25/17/timeline-maute-attack-in-marawi-city
As an education technology specialist, consultant, and trainer, Jim is passionate about designing transformative learning experiences in the classroom that enable learners to become active, reflective, and collaborative creators of knowledge. In 2017, Jim became the first teacher to represent the Philippines as a finalist to the Global Teacher Prize, considered as the Nobel Prize for Teachers, due to his work on elevating the standards of education in the Philippines through a meaningful use of technology in learning, emphasis on values educations to young learners, and providing better access to professional development trainings to the public school system in his home province of Abra in the Cordillera Administrative Region.
He is an Accredited Professional Development Consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Trainer, and Book Creator and SeeSaw apps ambassador. He is currently the chairperson for the Grade School Christian Life Education department and the Head Education Technology Coach of Xavier School.
As a global teacher blogger, he continues to share his ideas on technology integration in his website: “Edtech, Go!” at www.francisjimtuscano.com and via his Twitter PLN @jimtuscano.
By Dr. Harriet Marshall, #TeachSDGs Task Force, United Kingdom
Over the last 18 months, I’ve been collecting examples of amazing teachers, young people, and school engagements with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (the Global Goals) in England. For many of these schools, the SDGs have been an effective framework for mapping and capturing the work they have already been doing in areas, such as human rights education, global citizenship education, environmental education, or education about social justice. What makes some of the current activities slightly different from what has gone before, is that the initial simplicity of message has allowed for a more accessible and all-inclusive approach to engagement with SDG topics – often helped by the brilliant videos produced by the World’s Largest Lesson.
In this piece, I identify models and ingredients of successful practice that have emerged in schools. Most of the school practice I draw upon comes from schools in England that have been involved in the Global Learning Programme (although this is not written on behalf of the GLP and is very much my take on the #TeachSDGs movement using the UK as a case study) – there are many schools that have been actively engaged in #TeachSDGs work independently of this or through other programmes. This is a continuation of an earlier article: Teaching the SDGs – 17 Goals to Transform Our World and Our Classrooms which addresses the ‘why’ of #TeachSDGs. So, to the question of ‘how’…
Common Themes Emerging from #TeachSDG Activities in Schools
There are a number of key elements to most SDG-related activities highlighted here:
First, the SDG framework is often used as the starting point to engage students, school leaders, and other staff. It is also used as a framework to map what sort of global learning activity is already going on in the school – locating other projects, curriculum subjects, teachers, students and community or business links that are already addressing some of the SDG goals.
Second, the core values of the SDGs are often linked to schools’ pre-existing values and ethos statements. Schools that aim to achieve a broad and balanced school curriculum regularly make reference to human rights, wellbeing and/or responsible action (example here[i]), and the SDGs link easily to these.
Third, the idea of a global learning ‘journey’ is often at the heart of approaches to engagement with the SDGs in schools – especially those that build in models of behaviour or attitudinal change, and knowledge development. As mentioned elsewhere, a key opportunity of engaging with the SDGs is that students and teachers are on a fairly equal footing when it comes to prior knowledge of the SDGs[ii].
Finally, many methods of engagement with the SDGs in schools are aligned to critical thinking and the need to promote associated pedagogies like critical literacy and critical numeracy. For example, some schools involved in global learning in the UK have worked with Philosophy frameworks, such as SAPERE’s P4C.
What follows is one attempt to summarise six successful models of #TeachSDGs practice taking place in some UK Primary, Middle and Secondary schools. The list is not exhaustive and lacks nuances, but it might be of use to others. I look forward to developing it as I learn more about other practices around the world.
6 Models of #TeachSDG Practice
It’s not always easy!
Not wishing to dampen enthusiasm, it is important to recognise that #TeachSDGs activity never happens overnight and regularly meets challenges. Acknowledging that UK state-funded schools are in a fairly stable situation when compared to some other countries, many are under strain as a result of funding cuts in real terms, teachers leaving the profession and associated time constraints. Some educators also feel inundated by external agendas for schools and struggle to find the time for new initiatives – even if these initiatives might strengthen existing priorities, enhance learning, and support a broad and balanced school curriculum.
Other tensions and challenges associated with engaging with the SDGs in school relate to challenges within global learning more generally. For example, the tension between a focus on individual development and action, versus collaborative action; the potentially intimidating and overwhelming nature of the facts, figures and stories of the SDGs; and the dilemmas of engaging with stereotypes and perceptions, to name but a few!
One way in which UK teachers have been fortunate is through the additional support that they can receive from outside global education organisations, NGOs and programmes like the GLP. This support manifests itself as materials and websites, but often teachers and schools most appreciate the support they receive in person through global learning advisors, CPD providers and outside speakers. Another successful strategy has been when schools have linked up through global learning school networks to support each other, share practice and engage in SDG related partnership projects.
Finally, it has become increasingly important to show impact in global learning and engagement with the SDGs so that we can both support reporting on Goal 4.7 and individual school aims to show progress and impact.
Some of the Key Ingredients for Successful #TeachSDGs Practice
I end with a quick summary of a few of the key ingredients of effective #TeachSDGs practice in schools – in no particular order:
Further questions to think about…
I always begin and end my presentations, lectures and teaching with questions:
 In fact a recent @MYWorld2030 survey found that youth around the world are more familiar with the SDGs than older generations
Dr Harriet Marshall is on the #TeachSDGs Task Force and is a National Leader (SW) on the Global Learning Programme (www.glp-e.org.uk). She has been a global education advocate for 20 years, as a teacher, researcher, lecturer, consultant and project leader. Harriet is passionate about education, the SDGs, human rights, gender equality and social justice in education and has researched, written and presented on all of these.
T: @ham1 W: www.harrietmarshall.com/globallearning
By Barbara Anna Zielonka, Norway
The idea of the project was born in Norway in April 2017 when I officially ended my previous project entitled “ The Universe is Made of Tiny Stories” together with 35 schools from all over the world. In May 2017, I invited the most engaged teachers from my previous project to join Loomio which is a decision-making software in order to discuss all the objectives of this year’s project called “Be the Change, Take the Challenge”. After several weeks of active discussions, we decided to launch a brand new project that would focus on the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) and global collaboration.
Why the SDGs?
For the past six years, I have been responsible for a subject called “International English” which is an elective course run throughout the school year. In this course, I have been teaching my students about social, environmental and political issues concerning our planet. Among the most popular ones selected by my students were poverty, water crisis, climate change, and inequality. It struck me that issues of the greatest importance were only covered during that course, and I had to take some action in order to change it. It is my strong belief that students regardless of their age or the type of course they are taking should be taught about the SDGs. If we want to develop the 21st century skills in our students, we need to concentrate on matters that concern everyone. Teaching about the SDGs should be our main priority as we will not be able to tackle world problems if we do not start acting together.
Why global collaboration?
It is not surprising that the Global Sustainable Goals are built on the idea of partnership. Without cooperation and collaboration, we will not be able to achieve these goals. That is why Be the Change, Take the Challenge project emphasizes the power of global collaboration. Students and teachers who have already joined our project have one common goal and are going to work toward it- they want to be the change and take that challenge. Throughout the eight months, 80 schools from all over the world will participate in a number of tasks and assignments that will help students become acquainted with the SDGs and develop their problem solving skills. Being exposed to so many different thoughts, attitudes, opinions, and solutions will be an eye opener to many students who have never worked in international teams before. What is more, students will be invited to numerous Skype sessions so they could improve their speaking and presentation skills in real-time setting.
Why should you join us?
Joining our project, you will be able to reinforce global competencies in your students. These competencies are vital for the creation of global learners who need to understand the importance of the SDGs and be able to deal with them. It is a complex goal, but if we act together we will be able to help our students create opportunities for all the people living on Earth. We need to focus on knowledge, skills and attitudes by collaborating and cooperating together. As a teacher, you will be able to meet other teachers from all over the world, build your professional learning network and improve your ICT skills.
Are you READY to jump into the amazing project and become our project partner? Take a look at our website and let us know your interest: https://bethechangetakethechallenge.wordpress.com
Barbara Anna Zielonka is an English teacher and a teacher trainer at Nannestad High School, Norway. She is a Certified Microsoft Innovative Educator, co-author of Skills coursebook, winner of the " Gullepleprisen" 2017, the Great Global Project Challenge Grantee, and project coordinator of several multinational digitally-based projects. Barbara believes in the power of global project-based learning and continuous professional development. She loves collaborating and connecting with other educators from across the globe. You can learn more about Barbara and her work by following her on Twitter at @bar_zie or visiting her website https://barbaraannaprojects.wordpress.com/.
By Matthew Frattali, Middle School Tech Coach, #TeachSDGs Champion, Washington, D.C.
We often ask ourselves, “What can I do to teach SDGs? Many people at my school have not even heard of the term.” One of my goals this year is to put the SDGs on the radar of my school’s administration. And though I have little control over curriculum as a tech coach, I can use the tools at my disposal. One of my roles is to augment student voice with digital tools, so that can be my contribution to teaching SDGs.
The hottest tool in edtech right now is Flipgrid, an asynchronous video tool. We did not know we needed asynchronous video until Flipgrid made it so easily accessible. In fact, their mission is to “amplify student voice.”
Think back on your academic career. How many times were you assessed on finding your voice? Students are assessed daily on reading, writing, and computation, but we know the reason why students are so rarely taught how to speak: in a room full of children, we want the room quiet and orderly and often don’t want to hear their voices. Of course, it does not have to be this way. And yet, we need to look no further than Donald Trump or Martin Luther King to understand the power of spoken word.
Students would be well-served to be comfortable on camera to be effective 21st century citizens and to do the necessary SDG work. Video is a daunting task for many, not only do you have to look presentable, but there is a myth that it absolutely must be perfect, causing immense anxiety among students and teachers alike. We know that synchronous video tools like Skype don’t work very well for camera shy students for these very reasons. But, when you put asynchronous video in the hands of students, and they have the power to record again and again and again until they think they look and sound acceptable, then you have a powerful tool to help students find their voice.
It gets better. Asynchronous video is training wheels for synchronous video, which in turn is training wheels for video production and citizen journalism. After a student is comfortable on Flipgrid (asynchronous video), they could then be comfortable doing a Mystery Skype (synchronous video), and later as adults they could be comfortable Periscoping from a social action (video production and citizen journalism).
How do you start with Flipgrid?
It’s simple, in fact simplicity is one reason why educators love Flipgrid. For teachers, you can learn Flipgrid by going to Vedchat, a professional learning community powered by Flipgrid. There is also a teacher grid dedicated to SDGs facilitated by none other than Sir Ken!
For students, there are countless grids to express student voice, including TeachSDGs regular Browyn Joyce’s “What If?” grid where they ponder big questions. And, there is a grid dedicated to SDGs for students as well.
Asynchronous video is a game-changer and is truly a way for students to find their voice and communicate the value of SDGs to the world. We’ll see you on the grid!
Matthew Frattali (@heyMattFrat) is the middle school tech coach at Lowell School in Washington DC. He is an EdCamp Junkie, #Vedchat founder, GoogleEI, and he is especially interested in PBL and genius hour. Examples of student work can be seen on his Youtube channel at www.mattfrat.com.
By Umar Farouk Ahmad, TeachSDGs Champion, Nigeria
What is Sustainable development? Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most quoted definition is:
“Sustainable development is development that means the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Common Future, Brudtland Report).
On the 25th of September 2015, the United Nations Member States gathered at the Sustainable Development Summit to adopt the 2030 Agenda, which included a set of 17 Sustainable Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. These goals include:
Each of the SDGs are related to the environment which makes clean environment the lifeblood towards achieving sustainable development. Environment means the surrounding habitat of man. In its widest sense, it refers to the entire earth with its green forests, the oceans, the layers of air and oxygen. This leads to Goals 12, 13,14 and 15 as being categorized as ‘Environmental SDGs.’
We know today, all development is taking place in a world shaped by climate. That’s what makes Goal 13: Climate Action fundamental among all other SDGs. Climate change is the significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. Climate change is caused by factors that include oceanic and biological processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions. Climate change is often used to describe human specific impacts.
Climate Change and Relation to other SDGs
Climate change and poverty are linked together. Ending climate change and poverty are the defining issues of our time, they cannot be considered in isolation. We cannot end extreme poverty or meet the goals for sustainable development by 2030 unless we cut emissions and invest in greater, cleaner energy resilience to the impact of climate change. Without actions, the impact of climate change could force many people into poverty.
The impacts of climate change range from unprecedented heat waves, droughts, super storms, record breaking floods, heavy monsoon rain, rising sea levels, destruction of aquatic habitat (fish, coral reefs, etc.), earth quarks, and agriculture. Without action, climate change would likely spark higher food prices and threaten food security for people in the poorest region of the world. It would also intensify threats to people health due to climate related diseases like malaria and diarrhea.
All these effects are mostly caused by:
Most climate scientists agree the main cause of the climate change (current global warming) is human expansion of the “greenhouse effect”- warming that results when atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space. Carbon dioxide and several other greenhouse gases live in the atmosphere for a very long time. To really understand this, imagine a bath tub with a very small drain pipe. The bath tub fills up faster and faster as the drain refuses to let the water out. This shows that human activities are changing the natural greenhouse. Over the last century, the burning of fossil fuels like coal, petrol, and diesel combines with oxygen in the air to make CO2. To a lesser extent clearing of land for agriculture, industry, and other human activities has increased concentrations of greenhouse gases.
4 Ways for Schools/Classrooms to Support a Clean Environment for Sustainable Development
I would like to end by saying, climate action is fundamental towards achieving a sustainable development. Let us all work together in saving our mother planet to make it a better place for us and for the unborn tomorrow.
Umar Farouk Ahmad was born and raised within the walls of the ancient city of Kano. As a young boy from the locality of Kofar Mata, he was inspired by his teachers to be useful to humanity. Currently, Umar is an MSc Nuclear physics candidate in Bayero University Kano, Nigeria with experience in Renewable Energy, Energy & Environmental Conservation, and Nuclear Energy Management. He designed a solar water still as his undergraduate project to help increase its efficiency for purification of water in the rural areas and to provide access to portable and clean water. "One of my teachers used to say: 'A good idea is meaningless without the courage to act; you must speak up.' I shall continue to speak up for people and planet." You can connect with Umar on Twitter at @uphaarouk.
By Soheir Zaki Abel-Fattah, Science Teacher, #TeachSDGs Ambassador, Egypt
My story with the Sustainable Development Goals began when I finished the #TeachSDGs Course by the World's Largest Lesson on the Microsoft Education Community website. After I earned the course badge, I found myself continuing to think about the United Nations 2030 Agenda, the SDGs, and our world.
I thought about people around the world--especially those of developing countries.
People suffering from inequality, hunger, lack of education, diseases, and wars...
Our world suffering from pollution, global warming, and polluted waters...
Countries eager for sustainable cities, sustainable sources of energy, and sustainable economies...
I recognized that my students must know, must learn, and must be aware of all these goals.
It's our only world that we are talking about. Each of us has a role to protect the planet.
For me as a teacher, I deal with the most important ages in society, the young people who will earn their duties in different positions. My main role is to let them learn about the problems that they will face and think of solutions.
After much thought, I decided to take my responsibility to integrate these goals into not only my curriculum, but also into my own life. I decided to spread the awareness of #SDGs for all the people I could reach, not only my students. As I considered that "Quality Education" is the way to reach the other goals and change our world to "The World We Want," I began by creating a collaborative Skype lesson about the impact of Goal 4 on the rest of goals. I used the Skype In Classroom program by Microsoft to introduce my project, The World We Want, to teachers and students around the world. My first session was with Ms.Priyanka Tomar and her students in India.
The students prepared a Power Point presentation to show their perspectives about the project. They introduced their thoughts and showcased the right to education in Indian Constitution.
Soon after, my class had a Skype session with Ms.Raihana Haque's students in Bangladesh. They were interested to know about #SDGs and asked me for another Skype session to showcase their work in the project.
The learning and sharing for my students continued in another Skype session this time with Ms.Duhita Parmar's students in India. We had an excellent conversation about world problems, and the students together responded positively about working on the project.
I will continue #TeachSDGs as each goal affects our world and provides opportunity to create a better future for us and for our children. It's not so easy to be a good teacher for your students; you must fight for them to let them learn each day to face each challenge.
Soheir Zaki Abel-Fattah is an Expert Science Teacher in Victory College, Alexandria, Egypt. She is a graduate of Alexandria University, Faculty of Science, and has a Master's Degree in Physical Organic Chemistry. She works to achieve excellence in education using advanced technologies in the classroom. As a MIE and MIE Master Trainer, Soheir embeds Microsoft applications into instruction and lessons. She participanted in the #HumanDifferences Global Project, by Koen Timmers, and this year, she was honored to be chosen as one of the Global Goals Educator Task Force Ambassadors http://www.teachsdgs.org/our-ambassadors.html. You can connect further with Soheir on Twitter at@sou_2022.