By Khushboo Dubey, Mumbai
I am a traveler and an avid reader both my passions led me to where I am a passionate educator.
I am currently associated with a school as Resource person for Educational initiatives and Global Partnerships. I also take care of Language development through reading.
I am a SDG enthusiast, and it inspired me to take this as a challenge and currently I work to promote SDG’s through reading for my students, teachers and support staff.
To show how schools can adopt reading for spreading awareness about SDG’s.
Why it’s important:
United Nations has chartered the Sustainable Development Goals, officially known as “Transforming our world: 2030 Agenda for sustainable Development. It is a set of 17 Global Goals to be talked about and achieved."
For me these goals are important to have a better world for the future generations to live peacefully. Peace is an important word, maintaining peace, when you don’t have adequate resources to live or when you suffer inequality or when the environment around is falling apart is not only difficult, it’s impossible. Hence, I want my students to create a world in which they have peace with themselves and within the world.
Reading about SDGs shows them that this is a dream of millions of SDG ambassadors across the world who are working diligently on the global goals. I am trying to do my bit for the same. Reading should free the mind, taking a person from known to unknown; hence I connect reading with SDG.
I have 1,500 students in my school and teaching all of them is quite a task. So, I have decided to take it one step at a time. I am now introducing them to the global goals through stories, newspapers, and magazines; there is no better way to gain knowledge than reading a book.
Students will grow up to be our leaders in the future and should be aware of cultural diversity, differences, and interconnections of the world. Introduction to SDGs has nurtured in them an appreciation for people and culture. It expanded the horizons of their minds and enabled them to look at problems and brainstorm solutions from a broader, more global perspective.
This is how I do it:
4. We have discussions about the books and the related goals.
5. Poster creation about the goals to spread awareness.
6. I also make everyone read every book so my students read fairy tales and STEM books together.
I use social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn articles to start a discussion or make them aware about what other students are doing around the world. This has helped them to be thankful for what they have and work towards providing others who deserve.
My school it is a 50 year old school, but a large number of the student population is first generation learners. Over the years, we have built a Library that has Smart Board, projector, and wireless routers for internet.
Khushboo is an educator in Mumbai, India, and she has a Master’s degree in human resource and a Bachelor's degree in microbiology. She also holds many certificates in storytelling, global education, and sustainable development initiatives. She works as Resource person for Educational Initiatives and Global Partnership in public and private schools. Khushboo is the coordinator for International School Award for she school, and they have received ISA for the year 2015-2018. She also works with street children for storytelling, basic math, and language, and she is loves travel, photography, and reading. Connect with Khushboo on Twitter at @Kdantre.
REPORT ON THE TRAINING OF TEACH FOR NIGERIA FELLOWS ON “INCORPORATING SDGs IN LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM”
By Oluwaseun Kayode, TeachSDGs Ambassador
Teach for Nigeria is an organization that expands educational opportunities for less privileged students in underserved schools in low income communities in Nigeria. They do this by recruiting promising leaders and placing them in classrooms to teach on a two year full time fellowship program. After these two years, these leaders called Fellows would become Alumni of the fellowship and would also be lifelong advocate of quality education for all. Teach For Nigeria is a partner of the Teach For All global network with presence in over 45 countries.
I was privileged to facilitate a one hour session on the topic “Incorporating SDGs in Learning in Classrooms” for fellows in one of their continuous professional development sessions.
The session objectives were as follows:
We had a very engaging session and everyone participated in defining what Sustainable Development Goals are to them through a simple 10 minute activity. With this, we all had a shared understanding of the global goals and why it’s important that we achieve them by 2030.
There was a common understanding that it’s possible that these goals would be achieved and it would happen through a mass action – everyone everywhere doing something to achieve them. It was indeed a session of commitment as fellows took pledges on the TeachSDGs website to teach the goals in their classroom.
I was able to share the work that we do at TeachSDGs and also about the Global Projects Subcommittee which I am privileged to co-chair with Sandra Rodriguez. Fellows also got to know about ‘The World Largest Lesson’ during this presentation and some of them have started downloading lesson plans and taking courses on the SDGs which they would use in the next school term. It is needless to say that the one hour session wasn’t enough, as fellows wanted to learn more and continue the discussion.
To this end, there was a suggestion that a WhatsApp group chat be created for interested fellows to continue the discussion on how we can use education to achieve the global goals. We had a great time together, and I can’t wait to have other opportunities to talk about TeachSDGs.
TeachSDGs Ambassador – Nigeria
By Nam Ngo Thanh, TeachSDGs Founding Ambassador, Vietnam
Why did I decide to do this project?
As a teacher or parent, what do you care about when your child goes to school? When asked this question, 90% of the time I received the answer: "I want kids to have good academic results." This is a perfectly reasonable expectation. However, the school, the family, and the society teaches many other things. Sometimes a child's success in the future is not determined by the knowledge they have.
At present, in Vietnam and in many countries in general, school violence is happening more and more severely. We are anxious, but there is not much action to take root to end this situation. Personally, I think that once people treat each other kindly, society will be better.
Scientific studies show that kindness brings a lot of physical and mental benefits, and children need a healthy dose of warmth to be able to grow into healthy individuals--fun and perfect. Children as well as teens cannot learn kindness just by thinking or talking about it. Kindness is learned through perception and then is distributed. That feeling is when they are doing the right thing. So, who will teach children kindness?
It's me, you, and this society. The Everyday Kindness Project aims to bring children the value of goodness in life. Throughout the project, I also realized that kindness is the root of what we can achieve with the Global Goals. Since its inception, the project has received the attention and support of many teachers around the globe, especially the support of the Varkey Teacher Ambassadors.
What are the objectives of the project?
5 WEEKS: 1 MISSION
*Week 1: Building knowledge
- Students watch videos of kindness
- Discussion together
+ What is kindness?
+ What actions are considered kind? (Some kind actions you can suggest to your students if they need your help: caring for themselves, helping their parents, helping their friends, scavenging, etc.)
*Week 2, 3, 4: Kind action
- Students will perform kind works everywhere, such as at home, at school, in public, etc. These actions need to be recorded in photos, videos, kind stories, etc. Therefore, you should work with parents on a weekly basis by sending parents a weekly action sheet. This form will be sent to parents at the beginning of the week and will be sent back to the teacher on weekends. Parents can send for you photos, videos, their kids' story via email, message.
- At the end of each week, teachers will review and commend students for doing a lot of good work. I suggested that teachers print their pictures and paste the corner of the class as a way to advertise them.
*Week 5: Skype-a-thon about Kindness
To help students share the kind work they have done as well as listen to their friends' stories from other classes, I encourage you to participate in the Skype-a-thon week for students to have chance to connect with other classes around the globe. I think that beautiful action should be widely shared. Skype-a-thon is also an opportunity for students to learn the culture of other countries around the globe. You can also have your student connect with another teacher to share if you do not find a class that shares the same time zone.
*Bonus week: Kindness Day (optional)
In Kindness Day, you call on all students, parents, and staff in your school to raise money, clothes, food, books, etc. to help children in difficult places. This is the way students learn the way to share difficult with others.
What do students say about this project?
"I feel I am a useful person."
"I understand parents’ hard work."
"I'm happy to help everyone."
"I'm proud of myself."
That's the feeling of the students when participating in the Everyday Kindness Project. Throughout the project, the children learned about their parents' struggles, their parents' concerns, and their concern for those around them. These are the great effects that the project did during five weeks. In the lines of students’ feelings, doing kindness just to see the smile of parents, make parents happy, makes people around happy, but most important, "find themselves useful" is what makes them happiest and most proud of themselves. Join us to spread kindness to the people around you!
Complete this form if you want to be a part of this project.
Nam Ngo Thanh (@mrnamvas) works as a primary school teacher in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. He is also a Microsoft Learning Consultant and Varkey Teacher Ambassdor. He has authored multiple articles, and he been nationally and internationally recognized for the implementation of creativity and the integration of technology into his teaching. As well as being a Top 40 Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize 2018, he was also named Educator of the Year Asia 2017 and the winner of the 2018 Global Collaboration PLN Award.
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.
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