Start global and think local
What informs our global perspective?
This section focuses on 'what informs our global perspective' and looks at the use of books, objects or other stimuli to prompt memories and say what we value. It encourages you to use picture books with pupils and use them as a frame to write about their own 'local area'.
Activity (adults): What informs our global perspective?
Get together with one or two colleagues or friends and ask them to bring something with them that will help them to think and talk about somewhere else in the world. It might be a novel, a non-fiction account, an object or a newspaper article. There are lots of possibilities but the idea of the artefact is to keep the focus quite narrow in the first instance.
Extend this by asking them to talk more widely about what informs their global perspective.
I recently shared a novel with colleagues called The Swimmer by Roma Tearne which is set in Norfolk and links to the author's place of birth, Sri Lanka. In the story the author helps us to understand some of the complexities of being a refugee, why someone might be so driven as to flee their own country and why fear and misunderstanding can lead to tragedy.
Although some people appeared uncertain about the activity, others spoke with enthusiasm and commitment and as a group we gained a heightened sense of what inspired people about the world and what had happened to them to change their attitudes and values.
Activity (children): Valuing the experience of others
In his story set in verse, If you're not from the prairie..., David Bouchard sets out to show us everything he values about living on the prairie in Saskatchewan, Canada. He writes,
'I knew others had experienced cold and wind, but I doubted that they had known mine. Could anyone understand what I was, without having shared my dust, my wind, and my blizzard?'
Can we ever really know something that we haven't experienced for ourselves?
I think we have to have to try, because developing an understanding that there are 'many ways to live in the world' lies at the heart of both geography and global citizenship.
Activity (children): If you're not from...
Start from your own local area and replace the 'prairie' with your own locality e.g. city, fens, island, village etc. The book has a simple structure:
If you're not from ...
You don't know the (physical or human or environmental feature)
You can't know the
If you're not from ...
You don't know the ...
Ask each pupil to contribute one page to a class book with a photo or painting to illustrate it.
Alternatively you could create a video using a programme such as Photo Story 3 (free from Microsoft). Using this programme you could produce something like this video clip:
Take a critical look at the video before you use it. It could be argued that there is a romantic sentimentality about the chosen music that isn't present in the actual words and therefore misrepresents the place.
Once pupils have tried this idea for their own local area you could use it in conjunction with another place in the world that you are studying.
Activity: When we went to the park
This activity is based on Shirley Hughes' book When We Went to the Park and is suitable for younger children.
When Grandpa and I put our coats on
And went to the park ...
We saw one black cat sitting on a wall,
Two big girls licking ice-creams,
Three ladies chatting on a bench, Four babies in buggies,
... and so many leaves that I couldn't count them all.
This is a simple counting activity with a little added description. Take your pupils out into the local area so they can observe carefully and think about describing what they see or hear.
So it becomes:
When _______ and I put our coats on
And went to the _______
We saw one (object) + (description - what? where?)
When they return to the classroom they could perform a play about what they saw and/or make a collective story book or series of paintings.
Time for reflection
After you've tried an activity with your pupils, spend a few minutes reflecting on how it might have changed their attitude to the world. Is there a sense that they now 'value the earth, people, places' in a different way? What has changed their thinking?
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