More Than Just a Sandwich

I have been leading a short global citizenship programme for our Year 11 students post-examinations.  We have been looking into the importance of global citizenship education, what it is, and how we can all become better global citizens.  In one of the first sessions I used my analogy of a sandwich and the endless variety of ingredients (see earlier post) needed to make a satisfying sandwich, and the representation through the eyes of a geographer placing two pieces of bread at exactly the opposite sides of the Earth at the same time.

wangari maathai

We also looked at Wangari Maathai´s simple but powerful story of the hummingbird, you can watch it here.  Still a real favourite of mine.

I challenged the students to form their own analogies of global citizenship after our early discussions and to submit their ideas in between sessions via a form.  I thought I would share just a few…

How can you best explain global citizenship or represent it (be as creative as you like – a sandwich, a hummingbird…)?

Clockwork – global citizenship is a mindset. It is like clockwork. When you work with other global citizens it creates a system or rather a society that allows humanity to coexist with the problems you are passionate about. Combining all aspects that create an effective global citizen you become a crucial part of that clockwork that allows for society to keep moving.

selective focus photography of pasta with tomato and basil

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Spaghetti – I would represent global citizenship as a spaghetti plate where all the cultures, ambitions and personalities intertwine and contribute to the whole, like the individual spaghetti pieces.

Sea– it has different species of different colours, that together, form the sea, and they come together to form something beautiful.

Ship – global citizenship can be represented as a ship, commanded and sailed by all the nations in harmony with each country and citizens taking part in sailing the ship.

drone footage of a beach

Photo by Herman. io on Pexels.com

Beach – each grain is a quality, as someone develops, their persona grows and becomes stronger. Each wave, metaphorical for opportunities, brings new grains upon to the beach, (qualities) shaping the strengths and weaknesses of one’s personality. However, sometimes challenges arise, but a good global citizen will learn from such threats or conflict and learn new attributes.

Circle of hands – I would represent it as the different cultures and minds around the world folded hands in a huge circle while a white dove passes by.

Ants – I chose ants because they are a small dot on the huge planet but by working together they can get things done fast and can really make a change.

silhouette photo of person holding door knob

Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

Bee – pollinating the flowers, and therefore helping the wider world.

Door – global citizenship is awareness which comes after you have opened your mind to new experiences and to being selfless or generous. When you open a door, there is effort behind this action however it is not as difficult as it may seem, and when the door is opened, you can be conscious of the real world.

What will you achieve in 2015?

Public speaking

Public speaking

As we begin 2015 I thought it might be interesting to reflect on the the Global Citizenship Award website and to review some of the statistics so far.  I would like to thank everyone who has followed the development of the site and award over the last six months and especially to all those people who have contributed, commented and (especially) achieved their award – 9 amazing global citizens so far.  I am sure that there will be many more in 2015.

Patrick and a piano

Patrick and a piano

A London underground train holds 1,200 people. The GC Award website was viewed about 7,850 times in 2014. If it were a London underground train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.  The busiest day of the year was November 11th with 328 views.

The most popular post / blog was: One Man and a Piano.  This post was inspired by a talented young man, called Patrick, who we met at Heathrow Airport back in November.  He was playing one of those stand alone pianos and instantly caught the imagination of my two oldest kids.

A Christmas Gift

A Christmas Gift

The next four most popular posts in order were:

2. Thailand Reflections

3. The Rice Challenge – A Scottish Perspective

4.  A Christmas Gift

5.  Congratulations to Karen Partyka on achieving the Global Citizenship Award

 

Where are you reading about the GC Award?

Where are you reading about the GC Award?

 

People who have viewed the GC Award website are from 101 different countries; with the UK, Thailand, US, Australia and Brazil the top five countries that have made the most views.

The New Year has arrived and what better time than to make new targets and to challenge yourself to bigger and better things through learning and reflective practice.

Personal target setting

Personal target setting

The GC Award team would love to hear from you and will monitor and celebrate your progress as we bring new ideas and developments together through a global citizenship approach to education. Remember you can choose to submit all 16 Identities together once completed (see these Global Ambassadors for example) or submit them one at a time as individual reflections / posts (see this post by Manoj on service learning).  You can submit your post / reflection/s here.

We will always give individual constructive feedback and can guarantee that your achievements and experiences are inspiring others elsewhere around the world at the same time helping you to build a digital portfolio of personal achievement through global citizenship learning – something you will always have and use in the future.  Don’t let those amazing opportunities and experiences be wasted.  2015 is your year – go grab it!

Children and Diet

 Contributed by Dr Simon Crouch: @srcrouch

Facilitating Debate

Facilitating Debate

While this blog makes for a halcyon picture of reminiscence it highlights the struggle we face to ensure that children are both provided with healthy diets and the necessary signposts to teach them healthy eating habits.

In the UK it is recommended that all children aged 11 years and over should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Recent data suggest that British kids aren’t even getting close. Data collected over four years from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey indicates that only 10% of boys and 7% of girls are meeting that target.

Internationally we see a similar picture. In Australia the recommendations are even more stringent – four portions of vegetables and a further three portions of fruit per day for children aged 12-18 years. Similar to their British cousins Australian children are also falling woefully short with only 5% meeting the target.

Childhood obesity is becoming an increasing issue in developed countries. Child health is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes and obesity is one of the biggest threats to population health in an ever developing world. While physical activity is important for overall health it is a healthy diet that plays the most significant role in maintaining a healthy weight.

heart

There are many factors that impact on healthy behaviours, including family circumstances and the community in which individuals live, but with children spending such a large proportion of their informative years in school it is important that the school environment is promoting healthy diets.

Fish, chips and mushy peas topped off with jam sponge and custard may be a delight to tastebuds harking back to a bygone era but this meal arguably contains only one serve of fruit or vegetable (I am not even sure if the mushy peas count). In no way does it achieve the national standards which stipulate that every school meal must contain at least two serves of fruit or veg.

Jamie Oliver may not be loved by everyone but he has played a role in highlighting this issue and helped pushed governments to begin the slow process of cultural change. But students and parents alike need to continue to strive for healthier diets in all contexts, particularly where government standards do apply.

Education in schools is not confined to the classroom and should not be put on hiatus when the kids go for lunch. The school canteen is the perfect place to teach our children how to lead healthy lives, and perhaps the best way to their brains is through their tummies.

15 Years of Stuff!

Where is the Ark?

Where is the Ark?

To read this post with sound effects click here.

One of my favourite movies of all time and also an excellent final scene, although apparently it is mostly a painting, is the vast warehouse we see two men wheeling a large box into before the final credits of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Somewhere amongst the thousands of boxes the Ark of the Covenant has been hidden safely away by the government forever (or has it?) much to our hero Indiana Jones’ frustration.  Well I have news for ‘Indie’ the Ark of the Covenant could very well be on a ship somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean as this was a similar (not painted) scene in our Thai house not so long ago when we had the packers and shippers in.

Which one is it?

Which one is it?

I came to Thailand in 1999, over 15 years ago, to teach computers to primary students for two years.  I promised my mother I would be back in Derbyshire before she knew it! Now 15 years later I am finally returning home, back to the UK; with a wife, three children and 91 boxes of stuff!  I can’t believe it, where did it all come from and what are we going to do with it in the UK?

Stuff!

Stuff!

To be honest I am a bit embarrassed about it and we keep saying to each other, my wife and I – why on earth did we ship that?  During the last few weeks that we have been without our 91 boxes of stuff, things so important and vital that we felt they needed to be shipped half way around the world, there is only one item that has been consistently missed and commented on by all in the family.  The toaster!!  We do miss our toaster.

There it goes...

There it goes…

My own reflections during this transition process have made me realise how much material possessions we accumulate, especially just returning from Vietnam and spending time with family there and seeing how simple but easy daily life can be.  I know it is a cliche but who is actually happier?  In fact both sets of family are probably just as happy but I know which one has the more complicated life.  The irony is that we are going to have to keep most of our stuff in the 91 boxes for the best part of 6 months until we find somewhere big enough to live permanently and then move it all again – but this time just up the road.  I hope my wife remembers which box she packed the toaster in!

See you in 6 weeks!

See you in 6 weeks!

Thinking about (our) stuff and the pressures of consumerism reminded me of a couple of resources that I would like to share on this post, I have used them both on numerous occasions in the past for Geography lessons and also Global Citizenship workshops / sessions, take a look – I hope you like them:

The Story of Stuff.

Hungry Planet: What the world eats.

 

 

Setting personal targets help you to flow

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Cycling is a great way to push yourself, just as many other sports and hobbies are – especially if you enjoy doing them.  You don’t always have to push yourself though as it is often just as rewarding to do something to relax and to take your mind off things.  On the flip side I also find cycling an excellent opportunity to reflect, go over previous experiences and events and to also formulate new ideas for upcoming projects and activities.  I have realised that this happens best when really exerting yourself in the saddle and taking on the terrain – the brain seems to have a positive connection with the effort being put in to get up a steep hill and the exhilaration you feel by beating a best time or furthering a maximum distance achieved.  I am sure there is a biological explanation or a proven concept for this – I compare it to the state of FLOW, a theory first explained by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

IMG_1829

Flow is where you lose yourself in the function, when your skills to do something are being challenged by the difficulty of the task or a personal target to succeed.  You can often recognise that you have experienced this state when time has flown by – as a teacher it is especially rewarding when you hear your students say that they can’t believe it is the end of the lesson, ‘the time has just flown by!‘  To me this signifies that they have experienced the following attributes to their learning during that lesson:

Engagement, challenge, ownership, confidence, fun, skill utilisation and development

IMG_1788

I very much enjoy cycling with my own children and watching them grow in confidence as they have moved from their tricycles to learning wheels and then onto their first proper bikes.  My oldest son is now cycling with gears and is always inquiring about the science behind how they work and why they make uphill cycling easier, etc.  My daughter, who has only just turned five, doesn’t have gears on her little pink bike but loves the motivation and challenge to ride as far as her big brother – she has just rode her first 10kms and was very proud of her achievement.

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What impresses me is when I see them jump on their bikes without any encouragement and watch them ride around the garden and compound.  They set up little bike tracks and obstacle courses and challenge each other to do different tricks.  They are exploring their abilities themselves and using their confidence to be even better cyclists with a more diverse range of skills.  I want them to set themselves personal targets (Jonah now wants to cycle 20kms – without his sister!) but not at the cost of not enjoying the experience and possibly putting them off that activity or hobby permanently.  Getting the balance right is important, knowing when to let go and not to push them too far is not easy as a parent or a teacher but it is worth it to seek that optimum state of flow and an independent resilience to be successful in life.

You may also like this post: Congratulations to Poppy Mulford on achieving the Global Catalyst Award

Finding the leader in you

This is the story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.   Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have. (Author unknown)

Leading by example

Leading by example

What type of leader are you?  Leadership lessons from dancing guy.

I strongly believe that there is a leader in everyone and that as a teacher it is my role to help young people (and my colleagues) discover what type of leader they are and what skills and values they bring to the learning environment and team.

“A good leader, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, ‘We did this ourselves.’”  Lao Tse

It is wrong to assume that a leader always leads from the front, is bold and confident – gives directions and delegates tasks.  Leadership is about inclusion and bringing the best out in everyone, achieving success for the common good.  By doing this we must look to go out of our comfort zones and also encourage others to do the same – but always remembering that each persons comfort zone is very different to others.  This is what the Global Citizenship Award is all about, helping people leave their comfort zones and discovering who they are and what types of leader through global citizenship you can be in the world today and also in the future.  We all have a role to play and can contribute in many different ways.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.  It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”  Charles Darwin

Amit delivers the opening address at the We Walk Together conference

Amit delivers the opening address at the We Walk Together conference

Don’t become a slave to social momentum, don’t be someone that seeks comfort over change.  Try something new everyday, speak to somebody new everyday, challenge yourself to be different and find the leader in you.

Think about the opportunities and possibilities instead of the challenges and problems.

If you change your thinking, you will change your actions!

Never heard of a hungi kengi?

Adpated from The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond

On a Southwest Pacific Island called Rennell middle-aged islanders can name 126 different Rennell plant species in the Rennell language.  For each species they can explain whether the seeds and fruits are inedible to animals as well as to humans, or else eaten by birds and bats but not by humans, or else edible to humans.  Among those species eaten by humans, some are further distinguished as being ‘eaten only after the hungi kengi.’

How did the hungi kengi turn normally inedible fruits into edible ones?

A very old woman on the island is able to explain.  The hungi kengi was the Rennell name for the biggest cyclone to have hit the island in living memory, around about 1910.  The old woman had been a child at the time (and is now in her late 70s or 80s).  The cyclone had flattened Rennell’s forests, destroyed the gardens, and threatened the islanders with starvation.  Until new gardens could be planted and began producing, the people at the time had to resort to anything at all digestible, including not just the usual preferred wild fruit species but also that would be normally ignored – i.e., the fruits as being ‘eaten only after the hungi kengi’.  That required knowledge about which of those second-choice fruits were non-poisonous and safe to eat.  Fortunately, at the time of the hungi kengi, there were islanders alive who remembered an earlier cyclone and how they had coped then.  Now, this old woman is the last person alive in her village with that inherited experience and knowledge.

See also: ‘Laboon’ – the wave that eats people

Today there are about 7,000 languages still spoken throughout the world.  On average 10 languages become extinct every year and extinctions over the next century will leave the world with only a few hundred.

Why do languages become extinct?

What are the implications of a language becoming extinct?

200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes

This is a geographers dream – imagine having this resource in your classroom or even better Hans Rosling himself come and speak with you and the students…

200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes

How has globalisation and interconnections impacted the economic and social development of the world’s countries over the last 200 years?

How and why has this development varied globally, nationally and regionally (locally)?

Will every citizen of the Earth be wealthy and healthy in the next 20, 50, 100 years?

‘La-boon’ – the wave that eats people.

Why are languages and traditions important?

More than 250,000 people were killed by the Asian Tsunami on 26th December 2004 but not one Moken sea gypsy person was killed by the tsunami on Koh Surin in Thailand – why?

What can we learn from this with regards to the challenges that way face through globalisation and interconnections?

Watch this short video about the Moken sea gypsy community in Koh Surin in southern Thailand

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Photo credit

How are places and people interconnected and why is this important?

“interconnect” (verb) (of two or more things) to connect with or be related to each other: The problems of poverty and unemployment are all interconnected.

DID YOU KNOW?

“interdependent” (adjective) depending on each other:  All living things are interdependent.

GLOBALISATION

Task 1

Place the following nine ways that places and people are interconnected in a diamond (1, 2, 3, 2, 1) rank order based on which ones you think HAVE had the largest impact on people and changing places and environments up until today (substitute any of them for a better example that you think is missing):

Digital technology / mobile devices
Languages, culture and traditions
World Wide Web (internet)
Economy and trade
Transportation and exploration
TV, radio and media
Politics
Education (literacy)
Tourism

*Please prepare a few sentences or add a comment to this post to justify your rank order / placements.

Task 2

Place the same nine ways that places and people are interconnected in a diamond (1, 2, 3, 2, 1) rank order based on which ones you think WILL have the largest impact on people and changing places and environments in the next 20 years (substitute any of them for a better example that you think is missing).

*Please prepare a few sentences or add a comment to this post to justify your rank order / placements.

Task 3

Place the same nine ways that places and people are interconnected in a diamond (1, 2, 3, 2, 1) rank order based on which ones you think SHOULD have the largest impact on people and changing places and environments in the next 20 years (substitute any of them for a better example that you think is missing).

*Please prepare a few sentences or add a comment to this post to justify your rank order / placements.

Things to think about:

Why are interconnections and inter-dependencies important for the future of places and environments?

How do people participate in an interconnected world?

How should global citizens participate in an interconnected world?