#5 Blog of 2017
Several months ago, Tricia Baldes and I had the wonderful good fortune of connecting with a kindred spirit on Twitter. Social media truly can be magical sometimes! Jennifer Williams is a force of energy, brimming with sound and effective teaching ideas, and she clearly has phenomenal vision when it comes to changing the world one youth at a time. Teaching Sustainable Developmental Goals should be interactive, relevant and inspiring. Dr. Williams has outlined ways to do exactly that. Read on and be sure to share your results!—Jess Burnquist
Title: Responding to a Call to Action: How do you #TeachSDGs?
Presented to: Rock Our World, Kindred Spirits Post
Presented by: Jennifer Williams, TeachSDGs
April 23, 2017
In 2015, within a document titled Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a plan was set forth to bring solution to the most complex and urgent problems that we, as global citizens, are facing. “This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet, and prosperity.” This, the first line of the preamble of the agenda, boldly framed not only a comprehensive road map for success, but also an offering of hope that the world will come together in common purpose to preserve and protect our futures.
With this plan set forth by the United Nations, 17 initiatives, known as the sustainable global goals or SDGs, were identified. Each goal, ranging from areas such as eliminating poverty (Goal 1) to reducing inequalities (Goal 10) to climate action (Goal 13), offers clear and measurable targets for countries and citizens to respond to the call to action to meet the goals by the year 2030.
Photo Credit: United Nations
But, with this road map for bringing solutions to world problems, where did students and educators fit in? How could classrooms mobilize and respond to this call to action and begin to support the efforts of the United Nations through awareness, advocacy and action? These were two of our guiding questions as we set out to find ways to bring the voices from education into the conversations about the SDGs.
As a globally minded educator, I had always sought ways to connect my students to the world through construction of global competencies, project-based learning and purposeful uses of technology. I felt compelled to find a way to empower my students to establish themselves as global citizens and view the world through a global lens. The goals, the goodwill in which they were created, and the promise they offered inspired me. And, in a special and unique way, I saw a path where our world of education—a community that for me represented courage, grit and optimism—could play a central part in accomplishing this agenda. I soon found that other educators were asking the same questions.
So, we asked.
How can we help?
And, soon we learned how. Following meetings with the U.N., UNESCO and UNICEF, we assembled as a Global Goals Educator Task Force with international teachers passionate about advancing and strengthening the work of the United Nations in its efforts to transform our world and meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Through research, advocacy and mobilization to meet the SDGs, educators working to bring the global goals to classrooms began joining together to create pathways and spaces for every educator to add his or her own voice and passion, and to take part in this collective movement to make the world a better place. Collectively, we have pledged to #TeachSDGs and to enable our students to connect to the global goals. And each day, educators from countries around our planet are joining in.
How do you #TeachSDGs? And, how can you begin?
Though “Quality Education” (Goal 4) specifically is set forth to ensure inclusive and equitable education for all, we view each of the 17 goals as being under our umbrella of responsibility within education. For us, as stated in one of our meetings with U.N. Ambassador Dessima Williams, special adviser for implementation of the sustainable development goals, although there are great benefits in acting collaboratively, we are now in a time where we need to shift from concentrating on collaboration to focusing on solidarity. As a cohesive team of global educators, we believe education is the answer.
So, you may be asking the very same question we were: How can I help? Here are six simple ways you can take action and begin your journey as a champion of the SDGs:
1. Take the pledge to #TeachSDGs: By visiting http://www.teachsdgs.org/join-us.html, you can sign the pledge to join in the TeachSDGs movement and come together with a global network of educators dedicated to bringing the SDGs to schools and classrooms around the world.
2. Download the free SDGs in Action app from the App Store: https://sdgsinaction.com
Photo Credit: Project Everyone
3. Introduce the global goals to your students: Print and post the SDGs poster in your classroom. Available here in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French and Russian.
4. Select a goal and get moving! Empower your students to act at local and global levels with SDG lesson plans created by World’s Largest Lesson.
6. Share your stories by using the hashtag #TeachSDGs on social media and within blog posts!
Charged and inspired. United through solidarity. Together as a single world’s classroom. We can be the needed answer to solving the most urgent problems facing our society today and in the future. We invite you to join us in our mission to #TeachSDGs—in this plan for action for people, planet and prosperity.
Tricia Baldes earned a master’s in English from Lehman College and has been a middle level educator since 2001. Her passion for human rights education has led to her writing curriculum and consulting with nonprofit organizations like Creative Visions, Speak Truth to Power and KidsRights. She co-authored the Rock Your World curriculum and currently works with the team as a program coordinator. In addition to presenting at national conferences for NCTE and ACSD, Baldes has led various teacher trainings and programs for students. She teaches eighth-grade English in Westchester County, N.Y.
Jess Burnquist earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Time.com, NPR.org, and various online and print journals. She is a recipient of the Joan Frazier Memorial Award for the Arts at ASU and has been honored with a Sylvan Silver Apple Award. She teaches high school English, creative writing and AP Literature in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and is a program coordinator for Rock Your World. Her poetry chapbook You May Feel Your Way Past Me is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in spring 2017.
Jennifer Williams is a globally minded educator who works with classrooms of the world to connect learning and experience through meaningful uses of technology. She is a literacy specialist and professor and serves on the board of directors for the International Literacy Association. You can connect with Williams on Twitter at @JenWilliamsEdu.