By Nam Ngo Thanh
Reading and writing are very important skills for all of us. Thanks to these skills, our need to learn and acquire new knowledge is facilitated. The power of literacy skills is not only in reading and writing, but also in the ability of a person to apply these skills to connect, explain, and clearly distinguish the complexities of the world in which they are living. Whether you are a mathematics, history, science, or art teacher, the first thing to do to help your teaching effectiveness is to have your students have good reading and writing skills. With 11 years as an elementary school teacher, I have had the wonderful experience of teaching students the techniques of reading and writing effectively. Therefore, I can assert that, when a child has good literacy skills, the quality of education will inevitably be enhanced and maintained.
For many companies or offices, the requirements of the application process are to write a letter of recommendation along with the job application. In the case of high school graduates, students have completed their final year of studies at university but still do not know how to write a letter, presenting a coherent idea. These specialized students may be good, but do not pay attention to developing reading and writing skills. The result is the same job application, a professional who does not really excel, but has a clear plan, and the target of recruiting is more dominant.
The current reality is that reading requirements in high school in some parts of the world are not considered important. At the teacher preparation exams, students only need to learn the summary to be able to get good grades rather than to practice reading skills regularly. Oftentimes, education is not about reading, writing, or thinking through language. And, thus sadly, those learners have not realized the importance of reading for themselves. As a result, many young people lack the skills to read and write properly and are unable to express thoughts effectively.
In my personal experience, the development of literacy skills for children should be maintained at various times rather than focusing on a fixed subject area. Many educators think that teaching reading and writing skills to children is the task of language teachers. It is important to remember that reading and writing skills will greatly assist children in learning subjects or any other activities. Then there is no reason for us to impose the teaching of literacy skills as the work of a particular subject. At our school, students are included in the Effective Reading program (ERP) as a compulsory activity for all students at all grade levels. After a year of development, by reading the different types of books and writing the diary for the books they read, we found some of the benefits of this program:
Due to the impact of information technology and the widespread use of the internet, e-book pages have become common place, Many pages are read and books are downloaded free of charge to attract the attention of students. Depending on the age, the use of internet in reading will have certain support. However, not everyone knows how to take advantage of the internet.
In spite of the fact that the Internet allows endless educational possibilities with the continuous flow of information, the vastness of the internet can be an obstacle for children who are unable to screen and interpret documented presentations efficiently. Young people need to practice targeted search skills on the internet. When it comes to recognizing the value of reading, one has the motivation, the goal to read effectively.
In short, children should have the ability to choose any form of reading that works for them as long as they have their literacy skills are developed. Teachers and parents alike need to be aware of this in order to help children develop their reading and writing skills.
Nam Ngo Thanh works as primary school teacher in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He is a Microsoft Learning Consultant and Varkey Teacher Ambassador, having been a finalist for the 2018 Global Teacher Prize. He has authored multiple articles and been nationally and internationally recognized for the implementation of creativity and the integration of technology into his teaching. Nam was also named Educator of the Year Asia 2017 and the winner of the 2018 Global Collaboration PLN Award. Nam is the founder of the global projects Five Safe Fingers, Everyday Kindness, STEM and #SDGs in Action.
By Neeta Chhabra, @neeta_chhabra
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs: the goal of which is to achieve balance/harmony between environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and socio-political sustainability.
Millennium Development Goals
In September 2000, leaders of 189 countries gathered at the United Nations headquarters and signed the historic Millennium Declaration, in which they committed to achieving a set of 8 measurable goals that ranged from addressing extreme poverty and hunger to promoting gender equality and reducing child mortality by the target date of 2015.
The MDGs were set to expire in 2015 and the discussion of a post-2015 agenda continued. In July 2014, the UN General Assembly Open Working Group (OWG) proposed a document containing 17 goals to be put forward for the General Assembly’s approval in September 2015. This document set the ground for the new 17 SDGs and the global development agenda spanning from 2015-2030.
DLDAV MODEL SCHOOL PITAMPURA INDIA WORKING TOWARDS ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
In my capacity as Global Projects Coordinator, I have been working on projects on Sustainable Development Goals in my school. Here are several projects on which we have worked:
My students from 10th Grade from DLDAV Model School Pitampura have created a website highlighting the significance of SDGs: WEBSITE
I participated in a global project by Microsoft India on the theme and submitted my lesson on SDGs: MY SWAY LESSON
My 10th grade students participated in the EVERYDAY KINDNESS PROJECT
LINK and LINK
PHOTOGRAPHS: EVERYDAY KINDNESS PROJECT
PHOTOGRAPHS: PROJECT ZERO HUNGER
We at DLDAV Model School Pitampura have collaborated with ROTI project under ROTARY AKKASH. All the stakeholders (students, teachers, and support staff) care for the needy and the deprived. Freshly cooked chapatis with vegetable are being contributed by the school twice a week.
DLDAV Model School Pitampura is making every earnest effort through all the stakeholders to sensitize the community and work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
DLDAV Model School Pitampura INDIA
I have been in this noble profession of teaching for the last 29 years. I teach Social Sciences to Grade 10 in DLDAV Model School Pitampura. I carry a long and rich experience of teaching with the use of technology and possess an up to date and working knowledge of effective ICT practices in a secondary school. Connect on Twitter at @neeta_chhabra.
By Lucrecia Higueros, @Lucre_2017
Life is a trip! So, let's start doing well by the journey! Last year, I heard about the 17 Global Goals and my mindset changed completely--my world, your world, her world, wait...our World. We are in danger, and we can all help!
So, I started looking into the 17 SDGs and was compelled to share and teach them to my students and students around the world. I joined with global projects that helped my students feel the passion, to give solutions, and to help like we did the last year in the Climate Action Project. One example, we planted more than 300 trees where there were deforested areas.
Now, I train teachers about SDGs--to be in touch with more people and share the World's Largest Lesson for the Agenda 2030, take action and restore our planet. My message is "We need you; we need your ideas that allow you to take action; we deserve to live in a world where we have the same opportunities, to live in peace and harmony with nature!"
This year, I involved teachers to be part of the Innovation Project. I find it important to show and include all the students where we can give a real solutions using ideas of the students in the project. Aligned to Goals 4, 6, 15, and 17, we created the Water Recycler to can save potable water in Guatemala.
My photojournalism story of how we walk around the SDGs:
Lucrecia Higueros That's me! English teacher as a foreign language, SDGs ambassador in my country Guatemala, I teach every day about the SDGs to my students and teachers, involved them in this amazing pledge! Working around the world with global projects we integrate all people that want to join us! https://youtu.be/RGkwonQmhxY
By Dr Phil Bamber, Associate Director of the Teacher Education for Equity and Sustainability Network
This blog provides a summary of published researchavailable HERE or HERE.
There are great expectations for Global Citizenship Education (GCE). According to UNESCO, GCE is pivotal not only for meeting Target 4.7 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but also for ensuring quality education that promotes the knowledge, skills, and values to meet the challenges identified across the SDGs. We increasingly hear calls for ‘transformative approaches’ to education (for instance within the 2015 Incheon Declaration) and manifestos have emerged for ‘transformative pedagogy for global citizenship.' Examples of the latter include UNESCO’s 2014 publication ‘GCE: Preparing learners for the challenges of the 21st century’ and DEEEPs work on ‘Monitoring Education for Global Citizenship’ published in 2015. However, limited attention has been paid to the theoretical foundations underpinning transformative pedagogy for global citizenship, and there remains limited evidence of what this looks like in practice.
The research project
Given this renewed interest in GCE, it is important to develop theoretically informed and practically proven approaches for what we call ‘transformative GCE.’ This blog outlines a research project that attempted to do just that. It investigated the activities and experiences of a group of higher education tutors and students as they undertook a curriculum development project titled ‘International Experience for Engaged Global Citizens in Education.' Our starting point was that international travel was not required to nurture global citizenship (see my previous research on this available HERE or HERE). The initial phase of the project sought to develop understanding of the value of international experience in relation to notions of global citizenship, as experienced by undergraduates. This led to the development of a ‘framework for engaged global citizens in education’ and the subsequent development of interventions to internationalize the curriculum for all students at home.
Students as ‘co-producers’
The project brought together eight academics from a range of disciplines and cultural backgrounds. They were joined by 11 undergraduate students to form a ‘conceptual steering group’ (CSG) for the project. The marketization of higher education has encouraged us to simply view the student as consumer: this project instead involved students as ‘co-producers,' with a particular focus on how relational aspects of learning amongst staff and students can help develop curricula that to re-orientates higher education towards a public good. The student involvement in the project went way beyond simplistic notions of student voice. Students were included as co-inquirers through an innovative model of staff-student partnership.The CSG underwent a process of constructing and reviewing conceptual frameworks and curriculum interventions as a committed community of practice.
Theory in practice
Following the review of data analysis completed in phase 1, the CSG agreed that values and attitudes must lie at the heart of our framework for engaged global citizenship. Furthermore, we agreed that these values necessarily emerge through lived experience. The values that we found to be significant in our phase 1 research included openness (to difference, others, diversity), self-respect, an ease with uncertainty, and a commitment to social change. Our understanding of how these values were nurtured drew upon theoretical notions of disorienting dilemmas/perspective transformation (Mezirow), distanciation(Gadamer/Ricoeur), existential homelessness (Heidegger), and liminality/threshold concepts (Meyer and Land).Our framework for engaged global citizenship is shared in the diagram below.
Framework for engaged global citizenship
The poverty of pre-specifying learning objectives
It is our view that this framework can only be fully appreciated when instantiated in specific learning contexts. At the heart of this approach to GCE are processes such as shared reflection, immersion, deliberation, and exchange. Nurturing values requires a learning process that interrupts conventional educational processes that are overly staged or structured. This can be contrasted with pedagogy and curriculum that pre-specify learning outcomes. For example, the curriculum objective of encountering the other may predispose the learner to simply confirm previously held suppositions.
The problem with educational frameworks
Our research highlights the problematic nature of educational frameworks (such as the Teaching Excellence Framework in the UK and the framework for ‘global competence’ in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment). Educational phenomena and processes (such as particular knowledge, skills, and values) that are made explicit in such frameworks can easily become perverse ends in themselves.
Locating the transformative dimension of GCE
The main output of our project was supposed to be a framework for engaged global citizenship. However, we found that the transformative dimension of GCE was in fact located within the ongoing conversations between staff and students on the nature of GCE itself. Developing this framework enabled the project team (tutors and students) to consider their own relation to such frameworks. A process of doing and undoing; learning and unlearning was in fact the very process of learning that the framework sought to capture. Our experience on this project illustrates how education in general, and GCE in particular, must keep inquiry alive and remain open to new perspectives.
The full article ‘(Dis-) Locating the transformative dimension of global citizenship education’ is published in the Journal of Curriculum Studiesand is available HERE or HERE.
Phil Bamber is Associate Professor in the Department of Education Studies at Liverpool Hope University, England. He is Associate-Director of the UK Network for Teacher Education for Equity and Sustainability (TEESNet). His research is concerned with transformative pedagogy, (global) citizenship, and values education. He was awarded the International Association of University Presidents International Education Award in 2013 for leadership in research and teaching in global citizenship. His latest book is Transformative Education through International Service-Learning: Realising an Ethical Ecology of Learning.
Words by Sule Jacob Olaoluwa – Founder, iREAD TO LIVE INITIATIVE, Ambassador TeachSDGs
Though I have only lived in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, for a handful of years, it is clear that rural Nigerian schools do not possess the same opportunities for children as found in the capital city.
A few years back, as my parents shared in my educational dreams and vision, they gave me support to pursue my education. I journeyed to the rural community of Ifetedo, Osun State, Southwest Nigeria and enrolled in the law school there. It was my first experience into Nigerian rural life, and I must admit, it was quite a culture shock.
I became frustrated and deeply saddened. In the capital city of Abuja, I usually had access to power supplies, access to uninterrupted internet facilities, and a few moments each day to listen to the news. In Ifetedo, I had none of these within my reach. Here, I realized that there was poor network reception from all network providers, and I was forced to accept that Osun State had many other notable challenges. The area has been without electricity for many years. They lacked banks and had no standard health care center.
As weeks continued to pass, I had several thoughts about the luxuries I had living in Abuja and about the reality of studying and living in this rural community for the next four years. I asked myself why this community was so underdeveloped. The children especially hit a cord of concern for me. Large numbers roamed the streets barefooted and without slippers. Many were inadequately clothed. These children hung around the hostel where I was staying even during school hours. More upsetting to me was the fact that these children seemed content--in acceptance that this was their place in life.
During my course work as a second-year law student, I became familiar with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Act of 1948 which addressed inequality issues. I felt strongly that these inequalities were not being adequately addressed by the Nigerian Government in this small rural area. The children, especially, were being unfairly denied access to a quality and equitable education. Hence, I began to formulate the “iREAD TO LIVE” initiative.
Feeling a need to give back to the community that so welcomed me as a law student, I began to formulate a plan that hopefully would engage many of my law student peers and help the children of Ifetedo strive for a better and more meaningful life. I wanted to propose an initiative that would directly impact Ifetedo by advancing the course of quality education. Thankfully, I was able to share my vision with a special group of law students who agreed with my thinking and together we embarked on our journey.
My team and I were ready to begin! We first wanted to understand the community. We sought out the help of Mr. Bello Samuel, the proprietor of New Hope Group of Schools.
He was kind and patient and answered many of our questions regarding community traditions since we wanted to be sensitive to rural culture and morals. He also shared with us many of his frustrations with the current educational system. He lamented about the increasing rate of “examination malpractice,” lack of discipline among the student body, lack of interest in education, and the poor attitude of parents toward education. I also met and obtained the support of the Elders and Traditional rulers of the community. I interviewed them and also shared the gospel of the Sustainable Development Goals with them.
To further gather relevant information and facts, I also met with the Executives of the Community Progressive Union. They expressed their gratitude and were astonished that a non-indigene had decided to contribute to the development of their community. They gave me their blessing.
Following these interviews, my team and I decided to gather additional information by visiting every school in the community, both government and privately owned. We interviewed administrators, teachers, serving corps members, and students.
Not wholly trusting our motives, some management and teachers were reluctant to share pertinent information. We had to assure them that we were not reporting back to the government. We truly were a group of law students wanting to assist and give back to the community. To gain their trust we had to include some community members on our team and partner with the Community Union -National Ifetedo Student Union facilitate debate competitions as moderators in subsequent visits.
We were overwhelmed by the list of challenges that presented themselves during our visits. The list was long: inadequate teachers, lack of basic furniture such as desks and chairs, lack of writing materials, notebooks, textbooks and other educational needs, unpaid full teacher salaries by the government, absence of perimeter fencing to secure the school environment, undisciplined and unmotivated students to name a few.
Motivating students to want to learn was by far the most important and challenging problem. We held career sessions in some primary and middle schools emphasizing the importance of education and encouraging students to be serious and focused.
We reminded them, “Education is the best tool with which one can change the World for the best.” To further our cause, we donated writing materials, exercise books, dusters, and chalks after every student interaction.
On subsequent visits, teams of volunteers of iREAD to Live initiative who were undergraduate law students of Osun State University, College of Law emphasized again the need to work hard and take learning seriously. Students were told they could do anything if they are resolute and diligent. Sponsorships and endowment funding have become available for support for students examination fees for the Junior Secondary School Certification Examination. Children have also been given the opportunity to join the iRead to Live Reading Club where reading habits and improved literacy are fostered.
Through our visits, we also identified an urgent need for volunteers from the law school to supplement and support the efforts of the current teachers. This led to the launching of a volunteer program named iTEACH FTD 2018. Currently, volunteers are teaching mathematics, English, agricultural science, Christian religious studies, Yoruba, and civic education, as well as offering students mentorships through career talks and by providing textbooks.
To further encourage learning and motivation, we are holding an annual iRead to Live quiz, public speaking, and spelling bee. Through these strategies we hope to build student confidence, sharpen oratory skills, and prepare students for the future.
We also celebrated the UNICEF Children's Day 2018 by organizing a Football Tournament for the Boys and Track Events for the Girls. The event was tagged Sports and Education: Balancing Academics. All participants were given a package with notebooks, Biros, mathematical sets, and pocket dictionaries.
Much has been accomplished since the iREAD To Live Initiative began. Although other organizations have identified many of the same issues, they have chosen to use seminars while our program has a more hands-on approach. We reach out to individual schools and work directly with students. We have taken to the streets to engage directly with students through training and mentoring. Hopefully, this nurturing will make a positive effect on the future of our society and the world as a whole.
Facing the Future
We are still looking toward the future and are anticipating the following proposed projects:
• Purchase furniture for students and teachers
• Renovate and purchase books for abandoned community library
• Purchase or receive donations of writing materials, textbooks, school wears, and furniture for 10 schools in the Ifetedo community
• Equip reading clubs with books and journals
• Establish SDGs clubs in every school in the community
• Provide Wi-Fi access and power supply in the schools through the purchase of generators and Wi-Fi facilities
• Provide clean and portable water to at least five schools
The overall goal of this plan is to initiate, execute, and manage projects that will drive the organization’s vision to contribute to quality education for 80% of the government owned schools, private schools, and attendees of the basic and primary level by September 2019. To learn more about iRead to Live or to discover ways to support this work, please visit http://iReadToLiveInitiative.com.ng.
Sule Jacob Olaoluwa is an Under 30 aged change agent, an Advocate for the UN SDGs Goal 4 of Quality and Equitable Education for All. He holds a Bachelors degree in Public Administration and currently enrolled as a Fourth year Law student in Osun State University, College of Law,Nigeria. He is the Founder of iRead To Live Initiative, a non-profit organization which focuses on Supplementing Government Efforts in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of Quality Education in Nigeria. He is also an Ambassador for @TeachSDGs. He is passionate about the Global Goals and certainly the man you need on your Team. You can connect with Jacob on Twitter at @jhakes20.
By Monica Joshi, India
We tend to think of a global learning experience as something acquired through global visits. In my school at Sat Paul Mittal School, every moment can be a global learning experience. With its ever evolving management and enthusiastic principal, my school believes in extending the horizon of everyone who comes in contact with it be it the teachers, the students, or the parents. Adhering to the school's vision of producing leaders of tomorrow who are technologically proficient, socially aware, and sensitive to environmental and social issues, I, as the IT Head, have undertaken six global projects that not only teach Satyans empathy, but also lets students explore technical skills and gain awareness of the world beyond. All these projects are interdisciplinary with focus on the Sustainable Development Goals.
One such project is The Innovation Project. This project is owned by Koen Timmers, National Geographic Educator, Varkey Foundation Ambassador, and founder of Zelfstudie.be. Five hundred and ten schools and 85 countries across the globe have participated in this project.
The five week extensive project on Innovation focused on enhancing 21st century skill sets in students by concentrating on creativity and imagination, collaboration with International Schools, and communication through using ICT. Next up for me after signing up was introducing it to my kids.
“Innovation is change that unlocks new value” - Jamie Notterbelt. Believing in this, the Satyan Team consisting of 50 students from Age Group 11-15 and four facilitators including me as the mentor, had interactive sessions to arrive at Definitions, Product Innovation, and Use of ICT Tools in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
During Week 1, students researched the question What is Innovation?
Elon Musk The Boring Company Tunnels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5V_VzRrSBI, What is the Internet of Things? And why should you care?, Benson Hougland TEDxTemecula were shown to spark students to think, create, and innovate. The SDG Generation brainstormed, debated, and arrived on a concise notion that: Innovation is not about ideas; it is about making ideas happen. SLIDES
So, after a great discussion, my students decided that they would focus on SDG Goals 4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 17. Here is the video where they are talking about their plan: https://youtu.be/BAGzxU8DYew.
Week 2 :
Students were supposed to think on which innovations were making the world more innovative. Students focused on one specific SDG and tried to find an innovation that could be related to the SDG. They had to invent something to make the world better and then create a prototype. This was then matched to a global challenge.
Innovation is a change that unlocks new value. In light of this statement, my students by this time knew innovation now as creativity, adding value to an existing idea, and exploring a commercial and viable application of a new idea. Students appreciated the UN Sustainable Goals and tried to innovate a product in line with them. So, they narrowed down to Goal number 3, 9, and 11
My team brainstormed about different innovations to help the society. We prepared a chart in which we wrote about various ideas to innovate a product.
More discussions were conducted by our team to understand what to innovate in a product with focus on the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
The team finally decided on our product: REM SWAPAN, which is a sleep inducing mask made of herbs.
We started making a presentation on our product to help in explaining and marketing the product.
We finished our presentation and started to work on the script of the video we were going to make to explain the specifications of our product and how it is different from other similar/existing products on the market.
We made our final video and the members of our team pledged to take various actions to reduce the amount of Carbon Footprint from the Earth.
Creation of REM SWAPAN was indeed an amazing learning experience. Students made a prototype and explained their prototype by a tutorial. They were extremely happy after their submission. They had realised the value and importance of each goal and through discussions they were mapping each context with particular Goals.
I was feeling happy inside that my purpose of involving them in this Vision was successful. The Youth of today have the Power to change the traditional thoughts.
How are my students using ICT tools in an innovative way? My students made tutorials on usage of Sway, Renderforest, Minecraft, presentationgo and helped students in learning through experience. Sway is an easy-to-use digital storytelling app for creating interactive reports, presentations, and personal stories. Renderforest is an online video production platform that allows individuals and businesses to create “broadcast quality” videos for private or business use. Minecraft as a gaming tool could be used as teaching and learning aid.
Collaboration with International Schools through Skype sessions have helped students appreciate that through use of ICT tools we have been able to take learning to a global outlook and reach. Innovation is indeed a vision for learning and growth; it is the promise of a mindset for a bright future.
It is not the end of the of the initiatives taken by the school on Global Learning, but the beginning of the 21st century out-of-the-box learning skills and collaboration which will help Satyans to become Global Learners.
I am Monica Joshi, IT Head, Sat Paul Mittal School, Ludhiana, Punjab, India. I am an SDG enthusiast as are my students, and it inspires me to take this as a challenge. Currently, I work to promote SDGs through projects for my students, teachers, and support staff. I am an MIEE [Microsoft Innovative Expert], MIE Master Trainer, Minecraft Global Mentor, and MEC Guest Speaker. Recently, I was selected for E2 – Microsoft Education Exchange, held at Singapore. I had presented a #Teachtalk at Edutech Asia-2017. My case studies has been published in Teaching and Technology case studies from India by the British Council in collaboration with Central Square Foundation. As a new age teacher, it is my duty to make my students equipped for the future and instill the skills of inquiry and knowledge building in my students. Besides this, I am an avid traveler and love to convince others to travel. Connect with me on Twitter at @klnamya.
By Sharon Davison, TeachSDGs Ambassador
Why explore the global goals?
The world is an amazing place with endless opportunities to enrich, inspire, and challenge our thinking. When I think about the world, I immediately think about what I enjoy most and how these personal experiences energize me and provide me comfort and enjoyment. So, why not stretch my thinking to ways to help keep the world healthy and flourishing so that others in the future will be able to enjoy what I do? I am committed to finding opportunities to explore the goals in ways that empower me, others globally, and my students. Together, we can all help take care of the world just by opening up our minds to the possibilities that the goals can offer. The goals are like a blanket, they keep the world healthy.
As an educator of young children, I am frequently asked about how I explore the goals and if five- and six-year-old children really understand what they are. I answer, YES! I believe that kindergarten is the perfect place to explore the goals because young children are natural observers and genuinely care about helping to solve problems.
I ask my students in the very beginning days of school about what they would like to do to help the world. We make a list. Then after we create a list, we begin planning and deciding how we can explore all of our ideas. I am always amazed each year at what my students want to do.
Our list this year…
Just from this list, I instantly could see ways we can connect service-learning, the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Vermont Early Learning Standards and the Global Goals. Through this content, it is possible to connect what you are learning.
For example, we explored the NGSS standard on Earth and Human Activity. This standard covers waste, what we do with it, how our behaviors can impact the world, and sustainability. The CCSS in literacy offer endless connections through writing, speaking, and listening which includes reflection. The other piece is to think about who in your local community you can connect with and invite in to speak about your quest around advocating for people to create less waste and recycle and reuse whenever possible. This type of experience allows children to become proactive, problem solvers for the world. Their passion is authentic, and they share their learning using social media, online journals, oral language through conversations, and the list goes on.
I created a book for my students to reflect in after we had explored many of the goals. Through reflecting on what we experienced, my students are invited to think inwardly about what they learned and why it was important. After thy create their booklet, they can share outwardly with others. This offers another opportunity to think and reflect on what others notice and learn from their ideas. Remember to celebrate what you are doing and how. Through celebration, you highlight learning and invite people to come and see and listen to your students’ voices about their experiences and what they have learned. The booklet is a great way for children to read and have a conversation about the goals and why they matter.
Books are a wonderful way to connect what you are doing and involve many different skills. Even young children through this type of experience develop positive attitudes about their learning. This is where the heart of our work is, through our student's eyes.
I am reflecting and thinking about this past year. I am proud and grateful for the support and opportunities that have been available to me, my students, and their families. Together we have built an awareness of why we need the global goals. Inside kindergarten, we Tweet and blog about what we are learning so others can participate. My students, through a variety of service-learning projects, have been able to be advocates about promoting positive change inside and outside of our school. I have included my students' voices in presentations; I have done so so others can hear their voices and the impact the global goals have had on their learning. Parents are involved and aware and are connecting the goals to their lives at home. I used the booklet as v1 way for my students to reflect and to have an artifact of their thinking.
So, positive change is happening one idea at a time.
Thinking about next year, I look forward to exploring the goals again alongside my students, their families, and others globally, who like me, want to make the world a better place. The goals offer a lens where I can connect and weave in the content I “have to” explore as well as create authentic learning opportunities through my students' ideas. I believe in people and their ability to collaborate around a common need to make positive change for the world. How can you involve your students, their families, and your local community? This is the question I continue to ask myself because it offers me authentic ways to create opportunities to engage my students in real, solution-based problem solving that creates caring, empathic, and kind stewards of the world.
Link to booklet
Pictures below of some student work:
Sharon teaches Kindergarten in a public school. She is a passionate teacher who explores how to connect her students and their families globally. Through the use of technology, Sharon creates a rich, interactive, and collaborative learning culture where kindness and empathy are ever-present. She is a#TeachSDGsAmbassador. You can connect with Sharon on Twitter at @kkidsinvt.
By Tobias Simonsen
When I write this blog post, I first want to state how proud I am of the young people whom contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through development projects. Secondly, I want to say thank you, because I have been raised and empowered through a development system, where impact and possibilities are not distributed by rank – but, by desire for change and respect with young people and the civil society in a leading role.
I believe that investment in development projects are of immensely high value for societies and the young people involved, whom through their experiences will be active citizens - ready to take care of themselves and their surroundings.
My scout organisation KFUM-Spejderne I Danmark, is forming future leaders in Denmark and Tunisia, along with our close friends from Tunisia, Les Scouts Tunisiens. The two organizations have worked together since 2007, through a youth driven development corporation supported by various Danish and international donors, including the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish Arabic Partnership Program.
It all started as an ordinary cultural exchange program between two youth organizations, but developed because of the Arabic Spring, into a society development project, with focus on democracy, youth empowerment, and gender equality in Tunisia and Denmark. In Tunisia, through initiatives with direct and proven impact to the society, and in Denmark through knowledge sharing, reflections upon own practices and capacity building of young people in leading intercultural project roles was achieved.
And, there is a need for such corporations. According to the “International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS, 2016)” internationally conducted by “International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)”, engagement in activities to help people in less developed countries is not a high priority for any of the 13-15-year-old participants from the 24 participating countries. The participants simply can’t relate to how international projects are helping their societies.
The report clearly states that we need youth driven development projects, where young people directly can get in touch with citizenship and participatory democracy, so they can grow up and lead societies with the values they have gained.
Through KFUM-Spejderne and Les Scouts Tunisiens’ corporation, more than 800 scouts and non-scouts have been trained in entrepreneurship to enable them to create their own jobs and to face unemployment head-on. We have made young voice forums, where young people from all over the society in Tunisia have been brought together to get a mutual understand of each other and to receive training within public speaking and appreciative inquiry. We have presented a high number of young people for new cultures and stressed the importance of gender equality, resulting in a more diverse and young board of the Tunisian Scout Association – just to mention a few of our achievements.
Youth empowerment and focus on international solidarity is essential to achieve our Sustainable Development Goals. We need development systems which allow young people to advance their skills and knowledge regarding active citizenship, and where mistakes are not seen as a disaster, but as important learning opportunities. We need societies who are investing in their youth and who know that development funds are highly valuable both locally and globally.
Thank you for empowering me in the Danish-Tunisian Scout Corporation; let’s achieve the SDGs by giving more young people the chance to participate in development projects as well.
KFUM-Spejderne i Danmark and Les Scouts Tunisiens are both members of World Organization of the Scouting Movement, with more than 40 million members, is considered the biggest youth driven peace movement in the world. The partnership has recently been extended until 2021. Follow the partnership on #tunisiadenmark and watch the video with Amal below.
Tobias Simonsen is heading the communication in Denmark for the Danish-Tunisian Scout Corporation. He has been active in the Scouting Movement since he was five years old and were by the age of 20 elected as the youngest District Commissioner in his scout association. Tobias is this summer achieving his Master’s Degree in Organisation and Strategy from Aalborg University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Economics from the same university. Tobias is currently working at the Royal Danish Embassy in India and has previously worked with business models for scout centres in Tunisia and assisted a PhD project about Danish and German minorities during his time at Hamburg University. You can connect with Tobias on Twitter at @SimonseTobias.
By Tammy Dunbar, #TeachSDGs Ambassador
Carlos was a puzzle. He usually had a bright, engaging smile, loved to read, and was very well spoken. However, when it came to writing assignments, he froze. Two years before he came to me in fifth grade, he had qualified for resource help with writing skills. Goals were set, but it was painfully obvious that Carlos just could not get words down on paper.
Halfway through the year, we were reading Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, which Carlos very much enjoyed. But when I asked the class to write about their favorite part of the book, Carlos could not, or would not, do the assignment. I made him stay in at recess to work on it with me.
As Carlos sullenly settled in, I reached for my laptop, without Carlos seeing me, and asked him just to talk about his favorite part of the book. Relaxing a little, he began to discuss what he most enjoyed about the book. When he was done talking, I tapped my screen a couple of times, and then asked him to read what was on it. He started reading aloud, then said, “That’s what I just said!” I urged him to finish reading it out loud. When he was done, I told him that’s all I wanted him to do: write like he talks. That’s when I saw the look of understanding on his face along with a growing smile; he was making the connection between what he had said and what was showing on the screen.
My “aha moment” was that there must be even more ways that technology could help students overcome obstacles and find success.
Having co-authored the successful Human Differences project, I knew the power of collaborating on global projects. This Skype project paved the pathway for students from 50 schools, in 37 countries on six continents, to use the Sustainable Development Goals to talk about invisible and tactile walls between people and the need to build bridges of understanding in their place. I was really energized by the incredibly positive teacher and student responses from these global and life-changing, collaborative connections.
Then I ran into my dear friend and super librarian Julie Hembree at a Microsoft Hack the Classroom event.
For six years, Julie and the students at the school where she taught as a teacher-librarian had raised funds and sent more than 7,000 books to teachers in the Microsoft Educator network in Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia. Julie knew that the 126 million illiterate youth in the world today are looking at an almost certain life of poverty.
Teaching in a school with a high percentage of low-income families, I also understood the challenges of cultivating literacy in our classroom. As we spoke, we knew our efforts needed to be bigger, bolder and powered by empowered students and teachers.
Using the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (Quality Education) as our guide, we developed the Cultivate World Literacy global Literacy project.
Using the tools students have freely at their disposal, like Learning Tools, OneDrive, OneNote, Skype, and Sway, students of all ages and abilities would both celebrate literacy and research the issues of illiteracy. Using Skype in the Classroom, they would connect with others around the globe to share their knowledge.
One hundred thirty classrooms across 34 countries and six continents joined in our initial project. We were honored to have Dr. Ada Okika, Executive Director of UNESCO Center for Global Education, as one of our many celebrity supporters (authors, journalists & dignitaries).
Cultivate World Literacy takes students and teachers through a journey, of focusing first on themselves and the issues of literacy at their local level, then moving beyond themselves in order to gain a perspective on the importance of literacy worldwide. Finally, they arrive at the ultimate challenge of becoming agents of change.
We hope Cultivate World Literacy project will be a catalyst for change. We have already seen hundreds of students share favorite authors never heard of before in other countries, read books out loud to each other via Skype, raise money to fund Read-a-Thons and Books to Africa, write DonorsChoose projects to purchase emergent readers for Kindergarteners and truly cultivate a love of reading with each other and the world.
We are honored and humbled that Cultivate World Literacy has won the 2018 ISTE Literacy PLN Award.
We dream of this grassroots movement continue to empower students who don’t want to see another generation of children living in poverty, and emboldening students and teachers to step up and make a difference. They will rally for children, regardless of their circumstances, to have the opportunity to read, write, and have a quality education.
The memory of the smile on Carlos’ face inspires me to believe that by cultivating world literacy, and empowering students in the process, we can help our students rewrite their future.
Resources for Cultivate World Literacy
Website for Cultivate World Literacy
Microsoft in Education Collaborative Skype Lesson Plan
Tammy Brecht Dunbar, M.Ed., S.T.E.M. Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Fellow, Certified Educator & Master Trainer; 2016 California Woman of the Year, Assembly District 12; #TeachSDGs Ambassador; CV: bit.ly/TammyBrechtDunbar
This blogpost was originally posted on EdWeek on April 24, 2018: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2018/04/using_partnerships_to_build_a_better_world_through_education.html?preview=
By Dr. Jennifer Williams
"Your efforts to work collaboratively as educators are a good start. Though if we are going to reach these global goals, we must find ways to move beyond working in collaboration alone and instead join together in solidarity." These powerful words spoken by then-United Nations Ambassador of Grenada, Ambassador Dessima Williams, have stayed with me for well over a year. Said with hands together, fingers interlaced and firmly locked, I believe this word "solidarity" continues to echo for all of us that were in that meeting that day.
Standing outside on the steps that had earlier led us into the United Nations building, with flags of the world now moving in unison as the cold New York City January wind blew past, and after tasked in our meeting by Ambassador Williams and a team of UN delegates to find ways to use education to help realize the Sustainable Development Goals, I remember looking at my colleagues—fellow teachers who also knew we needed to do something, anything, we just were not sure what—and, saying "Well, how about we start with a hashtag?" And, at that moment, #TeachSDGs began.
Charged with advancing the work of the UN in relation to education through advocacy and outreach, we quickly recognized that our group of four educators all from North America, though steadfast and determined, was far from representative of a world that knew many definitions of teacher, school, and system. To meet a universal call to action that ensured no one would be left behind, we needed more voices. So, with no more than a hashtag and a little determination, we set out to find others who were ready to mobilize and get to work in our grassroots efforts to help reach these 17 goals that hold a promise of transforming our world.
Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnership for the Goals, though last in line numerically in a sequence of goals that we as a world are committed to reaching by the year 2030, is one that is viewed by many as a connector goal binding the 16 before it. SDG17, represented in dark navy blue with five white circles that overlap and converge at many points, prioritizes coordination, cooperation, and global partnership. Though many outside of education are quick to associate only SDG4: Quality Education with teachers, educators today are faced with the need to engage with all the goals as our classrooms of students know poverty and hunger, inequality and injustice. As teachers, we take action for the climate and for clean water, and we seek well-being and peace for our students and for all citizens of our world. We, by design as a profession, are focused on all the goals. As I see it, Global Goal 17, much like the job of a teacher that looks out for all students in a classroom, is the essential caretaker.
Connecting Points: Strengthening Worldwide Partnership
The complexity of the global goals requires sound infrastructure and unified vision. Inspired by SDG17, we as the cofounders of #TeachSDGs developed a plan to prioritize process and coherence in our efforts to bring global educators together in conversation and cooperation to transform the world. Too, as we believed it was critical to be aware of our privilege and perspective, we worked to move beyond our networks and empower the voices of others. Four soon grew to 17, which then, through a process of pledge-taking, expanded to over 1,200 global educators. Lines on a symbolic map that connected #TeachSDGs would now cross oceans, continents, and borders and pass through beautiful lands with names such as Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Romania, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Paris, Akungba Akoko, Ghana, Iran, San Diego, Islamabad, Sri Lanka, Buenos Aires, Brussels, and many, many, many other world locations.
Distributed Leadership: Removing Hierarchy to Prioritize Solidarity
Sustainable Development Goal 17 calls on us to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnerships for sustainable development. For us, when formulating our efforts and our processes, we could not envision that a system built on a hierarchy of power could effectively allow for transmission of ideas or sharing of knowledge and expertise. Just as the global goals belong to each and every citizen of the world, we believed that #TeachSDGs belonged to all educators. For facilitation of any type of progress, the approach needed to be integrated, equitable, and accessible. To flatten leadership, we knew we wanted to move to a model of leadership by committee, and we were set to keep #TeachSDGs a movement that was for and always by teachers.
Onward: Seeking Out New Ways of Communicating & Innovating
Today, we are organized by committee with a focus on responding to the call to action to meet the Sustainable Development Goals through (1) global projects, (2) resources and publications, (3) world events, (4) advocacy and outreach, (5) communications, and (6) partnership. With 104 ambassadors leading the way, we recognize that for our world to succeed in hitting the targets by 2030, we must have sufficient means to access and implement the goals. The goals invite and encourage us to reconsider the ways we communicate and share information. For us, use of collaborative forms of technology has been the accelerator to scale out messages, ideas, and announcements. We have engaged in technologies with free tools such as Twitter, Skype, Voxer, WhatsApp, Empatico, and Flipgrid. We've brought global educators together in Twitter chats, in global games with Kahoot!, and in global student learning experiences with World's Largest Lesson. Technologies connect us and allow us to make data-driven decisions based on people-centered strategies.
Each day, educators take the pledge to teach the SDGs at www.teachSDGs.org, and we are working to provide the needed resources to our ambassadors and others that aim to get the message out to those that may not have access to technology or reliable information. Bit by bit, it is through partnership and in solidarity that we move forward. We invite you to join us as a partner in the movement to #TeachSDGs by trying one or more of these ideas framed according to direction provided by Sustainable Development Goal 17:
TeachSDGs Team & Contributors