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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 6, April 2006

Teachers praised for raising global issues

by Marian Dodds

At the 2006 AGM, keynote speaker Stephen Lewis had high praise for our BCTF work in social justice, and in particular our leadership in international solidarity and global education. Describing the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, he spoke movingly and powerfully about how the pandemic is "denuding the continent of Africa of its women." He lauded the role of African grandmothers saying "Grandmothers are the unacknowledged heroines of Africa, they bury their own children and then care for their grandchildren." There were few dry eyes as we listened to his stories of visiting dying mothers and of orphaned children as young as eight left to raise their younger siblings. Reading the description for the new BCTF Global Education for Gender Equality workshop to the delegates, Lewis emphatically stated "the single most significant struggle in the world is the feminist one" and applauded the BCTF on our work in gender equality and global education. Teachers, he said, are often the only adults left to help these children repair their psyches. More than anything, children want and need a school. He urged teachers in BC to continue to help our students "understand collectively what is needed in the world" emphasizing that "we must take these issues into the classroom and allow young minds to grapple with the issues."

The BCTF/CIDA Global Classroom Initiative enables BC teachers to take the issues into their classrooms in a variety of ways at every grade level, in every subject area. Global education helps students develop a global perspective on our world, see interconnections, appreciate varied world views, and think critically and creatively about issues with a focus on solutions for a preferred future. Teachers are encouraged to visit the BCTF global education web pages to find numerous resources to assist them in expanding global perspectives in schools. At bctf.ca/social/GlobalEd/ you will find a PDF download describing each of the two global education workshops available, printable teacher-developed resources, and extensive links to other global education resources. The following suggestions highlight opportunities for teacher and student involvement in global education.

• Book a BCTF Global education workshop for your school, local PD day, or a conference. Two are available: Global Education: In and Beyond the Classroom, and Global Education for Gender Equality. The workshops are free of charge, available to teachers and faculties of education for student teachers. Contact the BCTF training department to book workshops.

• While visiting the global education web site be sure to click on Global education teaching resources. You will find 35 elementary and secondary teaching resources that have been developed by your BCTF colleagues over the past four years. You too could be published on this site—attend a workshop to learn more about opportunities to develop, pilot, and publish your lesson plan online.

• Find links to the free Developing World Map. Imagine if every classroom had this map on the wall and teachers used it to teach minilessons linked to current events throughout the year. Check out 26 specific lesson plans designed to utilize the map and that link to the millennium development goals. Anyone attending a global education workshop receives one of these maps. Book your computer lab to use this outstanding tool online with your class to instantly access data about the world for lessons on global issues and/or geography.

• Find help in the Methodologies section of the web site for answers to questions such as: What exactly is global education? How can I make my lesson plans more global? How can I actively involve my students in these topics? How do I teach controversial issues?

• Click on the Webliography section to find web links to in-depth information on a wide range of topics. This extensive research tool for teachers and students includes databases of global issues resources, reports, and studies, student global education projects, teaching resources, and links to CIDA and United Nations information.

• Check out some of the locally developed Board/Authority Authorized (BAA) Global Perspectives/Global Education courses and projects BC teachers have created under school projects on the site.

This unique BCTF Global Classroom Initiative, comprised of global education workshops, facilitator training and symposiums, and resulting in resources developed by teachers for teachers is supported by the BCTF and the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). For more information, contact Marian Dodds at the BCTF, mdodds@bctf.ca.

Global Action Week is April 24–30, 2006

Every child needs a teacher

Education International and its teachers’ unions worldwide are playing a leading role in Global Action Week to increase the pressure on governments to demonstrate greater leadership to ensure that all children get the chance to be taught by qualified teachers. Global Action Week aims at mobilizing public opinion to exert pressure on governments and intergovernmental agencies to provide free, quality public education for all. Global Action Week is an annual event to recall the commitment made by 180 governments at the World Education Forum in April 2000 to provide Education for All by the year 2015. This commitment was renewed in September 2000 in the context of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

To get over 100 million more children to school, countries need better infrastructure, teachers, and materials. This year, Global Action Week activities will make the case for teachers. Over 15 million new teachers are needed to attain universal education.

Here is a sampling of what is happening around the world:

  • In Haiti, the teachers’ union CNEH has drawn up a map pinpointing all of the schools that are run by a single teacher to present to political leaders.
  • In Canada, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation has invited members of parliament to a breakfast session to discuss the education millennium development goals.
  • In Brazil, the teachers’ union CNTE is mobilizing support for its proposal to convert the external debt of Brazil into funds for education.

Classroom resources for global action week can be found at www.ei-ie.org/globalactionweek/en/background.htm.

Marian Dodds is an assistant director in BCTF’s Professional and Social Issues Division.

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