Global goals and sustainability-minded students

Issue: Volume 97, Number 19

Posted: 29 October 2018
Reference #: 1H9n9A

A New Zealand school that helped launch a United Nations education initiative in 2015 continues to grow global citizenship amongst its students.

Southland Girls’ High School (SGHS) first came upon the World’s Largest Lesson while researching how to further their global citizenship teaching and learning. The international initiative was still in its early stages and was calling for lesson plan submissions from around the world.

The World’s Largest Lesson is a set of free and creative resources for educators to teach lessons, run projects and stimulate action in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved
by 2030.

SGHS’s lesson submission about linking the preceding Millennium Development Goals
to the SDGs was chosen as one of eight winners to become part of the worldwide launch in 2015.

Extending leadership skills

Teacher Sharee Ineson says the lessons complemented the learning her students were already doing as part of the school’s Global Minds programme by giving them the opportunity to extend their leadership skills into the global arena.

“Anything we do is about what we can do to work towards those goals and achieve the targets for Southland and New Zealand, and contribute globally to the initiative that’s been set there by the United Nations.

It’s been a perfect platform for the World’s Largest Lesson to allow them to take it further and share what they’re doing with students all around the world and yet have a common language with it.”

Sharee’s students have worked on projects such as promoting free or low-cost community healthcare providers for people to access healthcare during the early stage of illness and a social media campaign to increase sign language capabilities.

To do this, students developed an aim and associated goals connecting with SDG targets. They then researched their selected area from a global, national and local perspective, identifying causes and effects and gathering perspectives from students of different cultures.

Finally, they formulated a course of action and evaluated their plan, process and outcome as well as their leadership contribution to the collaborative action.

“They directly link it to the Sustainable Development Goal – they’ve researched what the target is for that goal and they’ve aligned their own thinking and aims and goals to that so they get that local, global genuine link happening,” says Sharee.

“Those global competency skills and working with students of other cultures and really deepening your perspective around different issues and empathy within that and the communication and teamwork skills that come with that, they’re a really big part of the learning outcomes: the skills of working from scratch, working through an action plan and actually carrying it out. An important component is reflecting on learning in terms of themselves personally as leaders, their strength and confidence to be able to be part of an interconnected world.”

Why is global citizenship important?

Global citizenship learning is important because the generation in school now will be leading the world in 2030 and will need a global competency skill set, says Sharee.

She encourages other teachers to use the global citizenship resources in the World’s Largest Lesson, which includes material for use with students in early childhood to secondary school.

“It’s really cross-curricular, so anyone can pick up something and tweak it to fit what you need to do with your learning or just to take your learning a little bit further. As soon as people read it, they’ll realise they’re doing a lot of it already. It just puts the icing on the cake, so to speak, to take something you’re doing and connect it to a global focus, which just builds that global citizenship.”

The World’s Largest Lesson

The World’s Largest Lesson is an international initiative between UNESCO, UNICEF and the UN. The lessons help students explore simple changes they can make in their local communities and identify projects to work on and contribute to achieving national targets for achieving the SDGs. These activities can help students develop empathy, creativity, communication, a future-focus and the ability to work collaboratively – important competencies in today’s world that are well aligned with the vision and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum.

For more information on the World’s Largest Lesson and the Sustainable Development Goals(external link) 

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:59 am, 29 October 2018

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