By Breanna Heels
In 2009, as part of my degree in International Development from McGill University, I traveled to East Africa for a field study semester. As part of our research, we had to select a Millennium Development Goal to focus on, and I chose Universal Primary Education. Going into classrooms sparked my passion for teaching, and it was from this experience, I decided to pursue a career in education.
When I began my teaching career in the same town I grew up in, I wanted to share my global experiences with my students and connect them to the world so they could see themselves within it, I used the Millennium Development Goals as a framework for my teaching and in 2015, when they became the UN Global Goals, these 17 goals became the new framework I used, and started a Think Global, Act Local project. Throughout the year, we studied the Global Goals, and as a culminating project, each student selected a UN Global Goal to think globally, and develop a local initiative to work towards that goal, to act locally.
The Global Citizen Project is an initiative that started in my classroom because I believe that every student can change the world. I want every student to be a global thinker and a changemaker.
When I saw the impact this project had on my students, and has continued to have on those students, I knew this project had to be bigger than my own classroom. The students saw themselves as global citizens, became engaged in global and local issues, and didn’t just know about them, but wanted to do something about them. To see this project in action, you can view this video by the Ontario College of Teachers or read about it here.
"Never underestimate that kids care. You can't make them care, but you can empower them to care by educating them."
I started the Global Citizen Project as a way to share the framework with teachers in a way that is accessible and ready to use. Each month, the project focuses on one of the Global Goals.
At the beginning of each month, you will receive an email with resources and teaching ideas to help guide your class in learning about that UN Global Goal and completing the monthly challenges.
Each month, your students will complete 3 challenge that works towards the UN Global Goal. The challenges provide concrete and tangible ways for students to act locally for that Goal. You can choose to complete as many of the challenges as you like, but in order to become a Global Citizen Classroom, you must complete 3 challenges each month!
My greatest lesson as a teacher has been that kids care. You can’t make them care, but you can empower them to care. If you would like to join The Global Citizen Project and empower your students a global citizens, please join here.
Breanna Heels is a teacher adventurer. As a TeachSDGs Ambassador and Experiential Learning Teacher for Bluewater District School Board in Ontario, Canada, she believes the classroom should be a microcosm of the world and delivers her curriculum through the lens of the UN Global Goals. Breanna is a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, a National Geographic Certified Educator, a Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow and recipient of the Innovation in Teaching Geography Award. Breanna has been featured by the Ontario College of Teachers, National Geographic and Canadian Geographic. Breanna is also the founder of The Global Citizen Project. Connect with Breanna on Twitter @BreannaHeels and follow The Global Citizen Project @teachtheungoals
TeachSDGs Team & Contributors