Dispatch from the Czech Republic - Global Issues in Brno

Published on 5th May, 2010 in Author Blog by Lindsay Clandfield

global issuesLast week was a “B” week for Global. I gave talks in Slovakia (in Bratislava), Hungary (Budapest) and the Czech Republic (Brno). I was quite lucky, not just because these are all interesting cities in a very interesting part of the world but also because I had managed to avoid the ash cloud from the Iceland volcano and could travel there and back without any problems at all. To top it all, the weather was gorgeous in every city I went to.

The day before I left for this trip, I received an email from Martina Pavlickova. She was one of the editors of a book called Global Issues in the ELT classroom. She had found out that I was going to be in Brno and asked if I would like to meet up with her and co-editor James Thomas to exchange experiences of trying to bring critical thinking and global issues into the classroom. We had a coffee before and after my talk, and had a browse through each other’s books. I wanted to use this post to give a little plug to them and their work.

Global Issues in the ELT classroom is a resource book developed by the Society for Fair Trade and the Austrian development agency Sudwind Agentur GesmbH. It was written by teachers from around the Czech Republic. It’s a resource book of lesson plans, covering issues relating to the eight Milennium Goals of the United Nations, which are:

1. Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty
2. Achieve Universal Primary Education
3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
4. Reduce Child Mortality
5. Improve Maternal Health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases
7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability
8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development

In total there are more than thirty lesson plans for adults and teenagers, dealing with issues such as Poverty, Slums, Child Soldiers, Gender Illiteracy, Fair Trade and lots more. The lessons are divided into levels and really work on critical thinking and creativity in the minds of the students. As the back of the book says: “It is anticipated that the level of involvement in the classroom will heighten their awareness of the most pressing of today’s global issues. It may even lead to some students choosing to become personally involved.”

I’ve been browsing through the lesson plans and they’re great. They make me want to go into class and use some of them right away. I believe that teaching about these issues does not have to be dull and earnest. It can be interesting, motivating and fun even. These were my aims when writing for Global. And Global Issues in the ELT Classroom is another very good example of this in practice. It rightfully won the British Council ELTon Award for Innovation earlier in 2010.

If you want to see examples of the material please go and check out the website www.globalissues.eu