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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 7, May/June 2005

Global education engages and excites learners and their teachers

by Marian Dodds

Empathy, analysis, and action flow together in global education to make learning relevant to the lives of children and youth. Imagine your students actively engaged in lessons that teach them about human rights, basic needs, child protection, environmental issues, and other issues in international development that link to B.C. Ministry of Education learning outcomes. Better yet, imagine them planning socially responsible actions to make the world a better place. To assist teachers to achieve such goals, global education lesson ideas developed by colleagues as part of the BCTF/CIDA-funded Global Classroom Initiative are available on the Internet. And more teachers inspired to infuse a global perspective in their classrooms are now creating and piloting global education lesson plans to add to the 17 existing lesson aids created in 2002–03.

Here is a sampling of what students might be doing, based on lessons online at Global Education Teaching Resources:

  • Intermediate students race around the neighbourhood, their bikes loaded with sacks of heavy objects, in an activity that integrates math, science, and social studies while teaching empathy for the loads people in developing countries carry on their bikes to earn a living.
  • Students write about themselves as Willy, a young boy who must quit school to work in the mine after his father and older brother are injured on the job and then linking their experiences to current issues of child labour.
  • Secondary students discuss global perspectives on human geography and critically assess Canada’s foreign aid policy.
  • Primary and intermediate students learn from one another as they work first independently and then collaboratively on a project about fair-trade chocolate.
  • Secondary ESL students explore global interconnections by studying food and hunger in their country of origin and in Canada.
  • Music floats through the K–7 classrooms, connecting students to interdisciplinary actions for peace, ecological sustainability, global citizenship, and social responsibility.
  • Secondary students create displays for an in-depth look at world leaders for social justice.
  • Students and teachers at an elementary school take on a school greening project for the environment.
  • Students share their global issues research with the public through displays in public spaces.

The lesson plans link to other resource-rich sites for teachers interested in bringing a global perspective to their classrooms.

This year, building on the enthusiasm for global education nurtured by the first project, the Global Classroom Initiative expanded to offer a new workshop for teachers: Global education: In and beyond the classroom. Inspirational, relevant, interconnected, future focussed workshops led by passionate facilitators sums up teacher evaluations of these workshops. With assistance from a second CIDA Global Classroom Initiative grant, 12 enthusiastic B.C. teachers designed and then delivered 26 global-education workshops for teachers and pre-service teachers. From the North Coast to the Okanagan, Vancouver Island, and the Lower Mainland, more than 600 teachers attended a workshop this school year! Participants were thrilled with the resource lists and ideas shared in the workshops. The popular new Developing World map has been added as a workshop handout.

To be part of this exciting initiative, consider booking a fall workshop for a conference, your school, or your local. For more information, contact Marian Dodds, at the BCTF, mdodds@bctf.ca.

• For global education resources and lesson aids, see Global Education.

• View the interactive online Developing World map at www.canadiangeographic.ca.

• For CIDA teacher zone resources, see www.cida.ca/teacherzone.

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

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