Thandiwe Banda GEYA 2018 finalist

Q&A with our GEYA 2018 finalist, Thandiwe Banda

This month we feature our Q&A with Global Educator of the Year 2018 finalists, Thandiwe Banda. In her Q&A, Thandiwe chatted to us about the importance of global learning, and challenges she has faced, integrating it into the curriculum.

We have included a short summary below. You can view the full Q&A here.

Q. What challenges have you faced in integrating global learning into the national curriculum? How have you balanced introducing new topics against requirements from the curriculum?

Global learning is very versatile and as there are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) it is possible to incorporate SDGs at either KS3 or KS4 when looking at applications of any national curriculum content. It is also easier to link to national or global days such as world environment day, world AIDS day etc to be able to do a whole school approach to global learning.

Q. What role has global learning played in your teaching? What impact/benefit has global learning had for your students and your school?

Global learning has been at the centre of my teaching as it encourages conversations among students and allows me to challenge them to think outside the box and understand why they learn certain topics and the importance of being a global citizen

Q. Why do you feel that global learning is important in schools?

As an immigrant from a country directly affected by pandemics such as malaria and other tropical diseases and poor economy among other things, I feel global learning is important in schools as it prepares our students to be empathetic to the needs of others and also to come up with ways they could have an impact through areas such as research and innovation.

Students will then develop into global citizens and be part of a global community and live sustainable lives.

Teachers and other adults also benefit from global learning as they themselves may not have first hand experience of issues affecting millions around the globe thus teaching SDGs will enhance their own understanding of global issues.

Q. Do you think that being shortlisted for the Global Educator of the Year Award will change how you work?  If so, what impact do you think it will it have?

Being a finalist has enabled me to connect with people across the country with the same core values as me and it has been rewarding to learn about other teachers doing their bit for global learning as well as what other ways exist to cover SDGs.

As a teacher my planning has been completely revolutionised to include SDGs in my daily conversations with my students and colleagues and I’m even more motivated to make more of a difference and continue teaching about SDGs.

I have decided to develop resources that link to every SDG in every topic in Science and post these on a blog so that more teachers of Science can access these as I found that people associate global learning to PSHE lessons as opposed to it being cross curricular.

Q. What advice would you give other teachers who want to bring global learning into their classroom, school or community?

Do not make it complicated, use resources already out there such as Practical Action’s Ditch the Dirt and other Think Global resources to cut back on your planning, if you have the chance, ask students to prepare lessons covering each SDG to present to the class and encourage debate. According to learning theories in psychology, the brain converts short term memories into long term memories easier if actions are repeated so make global learning a part of your teaching on a regular basis as there are opportunities in every topic in subjects such as Science, to incorporate the SDGs. You can use your colleagues to help you plan effective lessons to have the most impact.

Lastly and most importantly, have fun! Teaching is a lot more memorable if you enjoy what you are teaching and students recognise this so start with the SDGs you most relate to then use platforms such as Twitter to share your practice and find experiences from other teachers out there as awesome as you!

You can read the full Q&A here.

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