Wednesday, February 10, 2016

MS Commits to Action

Last Friday, February 5 our grade 7 global issues and MS Student Council students were busy tackling the world's problems in a practical solution-oriented way. In what we hope is just the first of many Transforming Our World conferences, close to 130 students from ISKL and MKIS addressing the UN Global Goals for sustainable development.  The end result was a series of action plans (referred to as "Commitments to Action") presented at the end of what felt like a very short day (time does fly when you're engaged)! 

What was perhaps particularly impressive about this conference was that, from start to finish, it was a student-driven conference. Of course, teachers were there to guide and support, but the conversations, research, deliberations, learning activities and presentations were all entirely the work of our students. 

Much of the feedback from both student participants and adult observers pointed to an exceptional amount of focus, hard work, collaboration and solution-oriented conversations. It spoke of meaningful conversations, concern for the world and realistic empowerment. 

The day was incredibly well organized and students were able to develop skills in research, using technology, critical thinking, communication and public speaking. The final outcomes - the presentation of Commitments to Action (which can be found here) were particularly impressive, ranging form community plans to address waste to programs to ensure opportunities for girls, education programs for island populations and many more. 

Such powerful learning experiences offer a window into the development of "responsible global citizens".  As an observer of such opportunities for authentic learning through inquiry and combining experiential, cognitive, emotional and social growth with a purpose one cannot help but feel that unwavering sense of pride in children becoming global citizens literally as they speak. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Grade 7 "Solutionaries" Address the SGDs

Just two short months after the world's leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ISKL is already empowering students to develop the skills necessary to address the world's largest issues, albeit on smaller scale. Transforming Our World (website here), is a one-day "solutionary" conference facilitated entirely by students, is aimed at the following learning outcomes for participants:
  • Be introduced to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030)
  • Address a topic related to sustainable development in a meaningful way
  • Develop action plans ("Commitments to action") related to a SDG
  • Present action plans to an audience of peers
The event is organized in part by the MS Student Council, who is ably facilitating the opening ceremony and keynote address, the community events and the closing presentations. SDG focused workgroup are also part and parcel of the even and are all facilitated by grade 7 Global Issues students.

By the end of the day the students will have interacted with each other and with the SDGs in meaningful ways, deliberating the issues, identifying existing solutions around the world and creating a realistic action plan ("Commitment to Action") that they will present to their peers. Obviously the world cannot be changed in just one day and so the "commitments" will be passed on to trimester 3 global issues and grade 6 service learning classes as recommended starting points to service learning experiences!

A big thank you goes to the MS Student Council advisors, Ms. Feitas and Ms. Vivian, the Global Issues teachers Mr. Peters and Ms. Keithley and the MS Service Learning Coordinator, Ms. Smith. But the biggest of thank yous, of course, needs to go to the G7 Global Issues and MS Student Council students who are rising to the occasion and developing their leadership through commitment and energy in addressing such important issues with a "can do" mindset.