By Thuy Tran Thi, @TdGreenhouse
To begin my writing, I would like to express my preference for being a feminist. I want to inspire the kids especially girls in my poor rural area to be more. I was born to the poorest family in my village. My brother had to stop his schooling when I started my first year at school life. My parents tried their best to support me and made my dream of being an English teacher come true. I turned back home with the big surprise of my friends at university because I wanted to make my community better (for more information: bit.ly/Ilovemyschool).
In 2009, my school did not have any projectors and now there is no internet connection in the classroom. We are in short of many facilities, and I myself bought the internet wire to bring the internet to the classroom. Currently, I am using a Wifi transmitter to connect with other teachers or help my students to use ICT in the classroom. I did all those things and did not need the money back. I just want to create the environment in which my students can learn and interact.
From my point of view, transformation with teaching with SDGs means 3 keys: transforming yourself, transforming your students, and changing other teachers around you.
I started my journey with teaching the Sustainable Development Goals when I self–studied courses on the Microsoft Educator Community about the SDGs and Teaching Gender Equality via Skype. These courses totally opened my mind about how to help my children, especially girls, to be empowered. Moreover, I try to learn about the sustainable development goals from bit.ly/UnitedNations_SDGs and planned my lesson plans and activity to inspire my children to THINK BIG with these goals.
Developing Skills of Students
Teaching with Goal 5: Gender Equality
Then, my story continues with teaching our kids, raising them up, and making them change their mindset about their strengths and how to improve all our lives. On the 8th of March 2017, I found a different way to celebrate International Women’s Day with my students. I used Skype in the classroom to invite a South African girl who overcame her difficulties to achieve her goals when living in poor conditions. At the beginning of the sharing session, my schoolboys gave her a bunch of sunflowers and thanked her for being her with us. At that moment, all the members of my class realized the meaning of empowerment, the meaning of trying hard every day to make themselves better, to make our community better, and to make our world better.
I work hard every day to prove a simple thing to my students. I am a rural girl. My parents are poor farmers. I was given chance to work with different worldwide educators via Skype, become Skype Master Teacher, and be awarded by the Minister of Education and Training twice in an academic year for being the most outstanding educator. All I want is to give back to my village--to support them, guide them, and learn with them.
I worked with another English teacher,Mr. Tam, to help our children in the rural area by giving them free English classes. On 8th of March this year in 2018, we celebrated an ICT Day for Girls. We asked the students to present about the tools that they really want to utilize in their learning process and asked them if they had a chance to improve that tool, how could they make the needed changes. We were extremely surprised at the ways they delivered the presentations and how they answered the questions. Our normal presentation celebration often lasts about one hour, but this session lasted 2.5 hours, and I know for sure that they are changing, and they are making themselves better.
At the end of the celebration, I let them watch a video about the 4th Industrial Revolution and how to cope with the changing world--where we are now and how to make it better. And, I see from the bottom of their hearts that education
is the key. Gender equality is the key. And, the sustainable development goals are their future. See more at bit.ly/TeachGoal5
Teaching with Goal 4: Quality Education
In my school, some classrooms were built in 1986 – that is older than my age and we lack facilities for learning and internet connection to my classroom. The Microsoft courses enabled me to think differently and to help my children to learn and be more. By spending $88 a month from my own money, I was able to get a Wifi transmitter, I am now able to invite Guest Speakers/Experts to my classroom and can bring the world to my students. Their knowledge, skills, mindset, and especially their visions about future are most important. We are welcoming the 4th Industrial Revolution with Internet of Thing (IoT), machine learning, and big data, and I am certain that EDUCATION is the key to change the world--to prepare for our future and make it a better place. I even created a lesson plan to bring free English tips to the children all around the world and hope to help them to learn and change their mindsets and help them. See more at bit.ly/TeachGoal4
Supporting Other Educators
I was recognized as Skype Master Teacher in 2017 among 155 worldwide educators, and I continue my journey to train other educators in my country and all around the world and use Sustainable Development Goals to help them to connect and demonstrate a sample lesson. I connected with a teacher in middle school and shared the screen to let them discovered the 17 Sustainable Developments Goals. The teachers and students there were super excited to learn and take their action plans for their own future.
My Plan for Teaching SDGs
To me, 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our future, and I, with my students, their parents, and other teachers, will make it come true from now forward. Our students have mastered Skype, Kahoot!, and Flipgrid, and of course we are going to travel all around the world via ICT tools to change our mindsets and take actions. My vision for my own future teaching job is 17 Sustainable Development Skills will be the content of our 2030 class. I am trying every day with you to make a better world, and I can be a happy teacher forever.
Tran Thi Thuy teaches English in Viet Nam. She is a MIE Expert, MIE Master Trainer, innovative educator, SMT, participant of Education Exchange 2017, and was named the Most Outstanding Teacher of the Year. You can learn more about Tran and her work at @TdGreenhouse on Twitter.
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.