Written by Abigail Chifusa, Global Schools Project Officer.
It is the culture of the Global Schools Program (GSP) to recognize and celebrate the achievements of Advocates every month. These Advocates are featured and given the spotlight for their endless contributions to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Below are the six featured Advocates recognized for the month of December.
As an Advocate for the Global Schools Program, Daria has conducted more than 20 Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) lessons and has developed an educational program helping to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into lesson plans at her school.
Acting as an advocate, Gülden introduced and disseminated SDGs to her school community in order to develop competencies that empower individuals to reflect on their own actions, taking into account their current and future social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts from a local and a global perspective.
“Being a member of the Global Schools Program has helped me open my classroom doors to the world. We have embedded SDGs into our yearly plans which enabled us to approach global issues with a global perspective. I am very much honored to be awarded an Advocate of the Month recognition,” she said.
Hala Sweilem is a PYP Coordinator who lives and works in the UAE. She began her journey as a Global Schools Advocate in August of 2022. With the support of her school leadership, Hala enthusiastically and successfully introduced the initiative to implement the SDGs by integrating them into learning and teaching.
During the induction week at the school, Hala carried out an SDGs workshop for teachers and discussed the importance of the SDGs and possible ways teachers could integrate them into their programme of inquiry and planning. She proposed the idea of forming an SDG committee to drive the initiative along. She was pleased to see many teachers and some admin staff enthusiastic to join. They had several meetings to discuss the idea of a Sustainable Garden at the school, alongside other contextually important initiatives, and began to take action. She also formed an ECO Club of many passionate students who played an active role in planting and recycling material for the Sustainable Garden.
As the House System lead, Hala linked the monthly themes to the SDGs and involved the school community in several activities that tied in with the SDGs. Students and staff were actively involved in taking part in the weekly activities to collect house points to support their house and make an impact.
In agreement with the school leadership, Hala signed the Global Schools Pledge for her school with an aim to commit to the SDGs and to raise awareness about the impact of the school’s daily practices and actions.
In the coming months, there will be many opportunities for the school community to engage with and understand more about the SDGs and develop practices that reflect positively on the world. For the PYP Exhibition, the focus will be the SDGs under the theme “Sharing the Planet” and it will be a valuable opportunity for the school community to see the significance and impact of the SDGs both locally and globally.
Hala believes that “If we don’t educate the young to have a future-focused vision and become an internationally-minded generation that is keen on making a difference in the world, then why do we educate?” Education has to have a purpose and a vision.
MOHAMED HELMY TOLBA
A few months after finding his passion for theSustainable Development Goals, Mohamed has worked in the community and joined the Global Schools Program, leading many school projects (project-based learning activities about the SDGs). This has made him more aware and able to invite more teachers in his school to join the work using the Global schools kit and lesson plans.
In order to get his school resources for teachers to join the ESD and SDG school wide projects, making it more useful for students and the school community, Mohamed used this opportunity to apply on behalf of his school to become part of the Global Schools Program.
The last few months he was able to plan and lead activities as follows: In September his school commemorated the Peace Month focusing on SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong institutions– where they discussed and had activities applied. October was Mental Health Month focusing on SDG 3 – Good Health and Wellness. In the same month, the International baccalaureate section had an introduction about SDG 3 – Good Health and Wellness– with its activities to be applied on their CAS project for the year. Anti-bullying campaigns were launched in November focusing on SDG 10 – Reduce Inequalities– and in December, his school carried out a school-wide fundraiser for buying stationery and toys to distribute it to orphanages and refugee schools focusing on SDG 1 – No Poverty, SDG 4– Quality Education and SDG 10 – Reduce Inequalities.
MURALI KRISHNAN JAYARAMAN
Murali Krishnan Jayaraman has been carrying out various activities as a Global Schools Advocate for the last 6 months. He has spent considerable time acquiring knowledge on Sustainable Development Goals and applying them to the students in his classroom through various Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) activities on a regular basis.
He has done this by incorporating the activities within the curriculum which is highly essential to help children to connect with them as part of everyday learning and not as extra curricular activities.
STEPHANIE LYNN EDWARDS
Stephanie Edwards is the ATL and Sustainability Coordinator at Torrequebrada International College in Málaga, Spain, where she is also the teacher of a passionate group of 11 to 12-year-old global citizens.
Through integrating the curriculum with SDGs, her students have become active members of the community by asking residents questions about local issues related to the global goals, analyzing data, and creating proposals for the town hall in a large interdisciplinary project.
Stephanie started a monthly school-wide litter pick-up and a Volunteer Fair that she is currently organizing which will help pair students and families with service opportunities in the community. She strongly believes that an experiential curriculum is the most effective way to learn, and service work is a great opportunity for students to learn by taking action.
Stephanie’s school is an SDG Certificate applicant, and she is coordinating school-wide changes in order to include ESD.
During meetings, she offers support to fellow teachers by providing relevant teaching resources. She also began a monthly survey to identify teacher needs and to record their progress towards teaching SDGs in the classroom. In November, 92% of teachers reported teaching content relating to at least one SDG in a unit.
Furthermore, Stephanie's work on integrating ESD into the curriculum was recognised by the SDG Certificate Programme when she was recently invited to give a presentation on this topic to educational leaders around Spain at the first SDG Certificate Programme Meeting for School Management and Innovation Teams.