What makes a good life?-eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world

I’ve been reading about education as a tool of democracy and a conduit to connect learners to broader social issues. It made me think about how to learners in their world of sufficiency, could have a better and more empathic understanding of people who live in poverty. 
What could a lesson look like in the classroom?

Background

$1.90 per person per day is the standard adopted by the World Bank and other international organizations to reflect the minimum consumption and income level needed to meet a person’s basic needs.

That means that people who fall under that poverty line—that’s 1/8 of the world’s population, or 767 million people—lack the ability to fulfill basic needs, whether it means eating only one bowl of rice a day or forgoing health care when it’s needed most.

The purpose of this activity is for students to raise questions and clarify their own thoughts about what things are most important to having a good life. They may also begin to see that although people living in poverty are lacking many material things, their lives may also include some aspects that the students value. This thinking will be important as students learn more about experiences of poverty.

Activity – The Good Life Road

Tell students that they will be considering what makes a good life. First, watch or read a stimulus resource as a class (such as Herbert and Harry by Pamela Allen, The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley by Colin Thompson, or the TEAR video, Working Together in an Indian Village

Divide students into groups of four or five and give each group a set of cards with the following phrases on them. (They are available to print at the Global Education website ) It is helpful if each card can be printed in a different colour.

Having clean water and toilets

Having jobs for adults

Having friends and family who love and help you

Being able to make choices about what happens in your life

Having a safe place to live

Having TVs, computers and other electronic stuff

A government that helps if you need it

Getting an education

Having lots of money

Being healthy

Having great toys

Having fashionable clothes

Being famous

In their groups, students read through the cards and make a decision about how necessary each item is for a person to have a good life. They should place each card along the Good Life Road, a line marked on the ground with ends marked ‘Very important’ and ‘Not important at all’. The cards should be positioned according to how important students think the item on the card is to having a good life. For example, if the group thinks the item on the card is vital to having a good life they should place it at the ‘Very important’ end, or if they think it is not important they should place it at the ‘Not important at all’ end. They can also place cards at any point in between

Discussion

When the groups have finished, the whole class should look at the continuum. The different coloured cards will help them to notice any trends across the cards from different groups. Students can comment on why they agree or disagree with the placement of particular items.

Is there general agreement within the class about particular items?

Are there differences between the class’s answers and what they think other people may say about a good life?

Do students’ lives actually reflect the things they say are important?

Are there any connections between the thinking in this activity and the people/characters in the book or video they viewed previously?

Do they think that people living in poverty are able to have a good life?

Can students think of anything they have in common with people living in poverty?

 

With thanks to the One World Centre.

Who is a refugee?

World Refugee week takes place from Sunday 19 June to Saturday 25 June. Many students and teachers find the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum seeker’ confusing.  I encourage schools to acknowledge the week and teach their students at least these definitions:


Who is a refugee? 
Any person who owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country.
Who is an asylum seeker?  A person  who has applied for protection as a refugee, but whose claims have not yet been recognised by a government. However, since recognition by a government is not required to meet the definition of a refugee, an asylum seeker may also be at the same time a refugee.
Who is a migrant? A migrant is a person who makes a conscious choice to leave their country to seek a better life elsewhere. Before they decided to leave their country, migrants can seek information about their new home, study the language and explore employment opportunities. They can plan their travel, take their belongings with them and say goodbye to the important people in their lives. They are free to return home at any time if things don’t work out as they had hoped, if they get homesick or if they wish to visit family members and friends left behind.
You can also find definitions of who is ‘climate refugee‘ and who is an internally displaced person?

Also useful-

The top 20 countries that have granted protection to refugees in the 21st century
Resources to assist teachers

refugeecouncil.org.au

If you are interested in participating in a collaborative global project researching the topic of refugees, please contact me at marilyn@bethinkglobal.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Action 2015

Two critical United Nations summits will take place this year. The first in September, where the world must agree new goals to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle inequality and ensure a more sustainable planet. The second is the climate summit in December where we must ensure the wellbeing of people today does not come at the expense of our children’s futures.

Taking action

Capture

Forests, fuels and the future

woman and wood fire Stove top Alliance  Geneva, Tuesday 31 March 2015

What is REDD+?
REDD+ stands for countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Continue reading

3 reasons for adding global perspectives to ALL learning areas

Capture

The advantage of bringing global perspectives to history, geography, civics and citizenship, humanities, art, drama, physical education, social education, philosophy, literacy-in fact, to all learning areas not defined is being noticed by increasing numbers of educators. So what dispositions are being developed? Continue reading

Global Education-what IS it?

from NGV exhibition

from NGV exhibition

 

Global education is a concept with a diverse number of understandings.  Even the term ‘global education’ has different viewing platforms from global learning to global competencies from global citizenship to education for sustainable development. Continue reading

Education for Sustainable Development Part two

India tile

How can sustainability enhance the learning areas in curricula?

My favourite picture storybook is The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley  (Thank you Nuella.) You MUST read it.  The message I took away was live simply so others can simple live. (Thank you Gandhi.)

A curriculum that has sustainable futures at its core will be a dynamic and value enriched program of learning. The ways in which we can meet our current needs without diminishing the environment or reducing the capacity of future generations to meet their own needs is what a sustainable future is about.

So as a learner and facilitator, I brainstormed all the concepts of a global curriculum centred around the functions of sustainability – cultural sustainability, economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social sustainability …..so here goes…….needs and wants, human rights, politics, Millenium Development Goals, belief systems, value systems,  gender equity, poverty reduction, global cooperation, interconnection, human well being, peace, resolving conflict, partnerships, trade, water, forests, natural hazards and disasters, biodiversity, food security, endangered species, energy, desertification, effects of climate and its change, trading fairly, education,  identity, child Rights, Agriculture, ethical consumerism, migration, immigration,  refugees, population, intercultural understanding, cultural diversity, connections to the past, indigenous culture, global health…… phwew!! And that’s just for starters.

Write down these learning areas- Civics and Citizenship, Geography, Science, History, Technologies, Maths, The Arts, English, Health and Phys Ed, Languages and  Economics.

Now try and fit any one of the concepts above under just one learning area.  Can’t choose? That’s because sustainability and global learning cross all areas of the curriculum. A rich curriculum has interconnected learning.

The best way to work out where you can work with these concepts in your curriculum is to do a concept map.

Take a look at your existing curriculum. Could you enhance it and open the eyes of your learners a little wider by including a concept around sustainability?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Education for Sustainable Development Part one

Have you asked yourself, “What REALLY IS sustainability?”

A greenhouse nightmare

Since the late 1960’s, sustainability, which initially had an environmental focus, expanded to include economy and later social and cultural considerations.

In 1987 the approach to conservation brought together environmental conservation and development and so came the term ‘sustainable development’. This represented the first formal recognition that “development should meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, suggesting development, progress and growth had to take account of their environmental impacts.

So wider ethical issues such as human rights, in support of values, justice and fairness are integral to education for sustainable development.  Intercultural understanding strengthens respect for equality.  Peace and resolving conflict foster the values of empathy and cooperation.  A rights based education encompasses the concept of education for sustainable development and reinforces the awareness that we share a common destiny with others. (OHCHR 2006).

Sustainability has become a vast social, political, economic and educational concern. The UN has devoted a decade to Education for Sustainability. The Australian Curriculum considers sustainability important enough to be delivered across the curriculum.

Watch out for more posts on this topic.

Part 2 “In what ways could sustainability enhance the learning areas in my curriculum?”

Part 3 “How could I amplify sustainability throughout my school?”

Cartoon by Nicholson from “The Australian” newspaper: www.nicholsoncartoons.com.au – See more at: http://nicholsoncartoons.com.au/reproduce-a-cartoon#sthash.eni7rgBN.dpuf