A Roaring Success with WWF in 2020
How could we deliver on our mission to prepare each student to be a global citizen who could shape the world? How could we help teachers to bring to life the United Nations sustainable development goals in classrooms across the world, to give meaning at an individual student level to a set of agreements made by world leaders in Rio de Janeiro?
January 2020 saw the launch of a unique and exciting partnership between Globeducate and World Wildlife Fund, WWF – the world´s leading organisation in wildlife conservation and endangered species. Little did we know that this relationship would prove so impactful and important in what would turn out to be a very unusual school year that would demand something extra from all educators. Not only would Covid-19 cause school closures, it would be linked back to human destruction of biodiversity, making conservation and sustainability education a hot topic for 2020.
Global Agenda kick-off with ´Our Planet´
Globeducate teachers were ready and equipped. Our Global Agenda had kicked off in schools in January with multiple screenings of the Netflix and WWF joint production of “Our Planet”, narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Resources available in French, Spanish, English, and Italian were all supplied by WWF and used widely across the group, and students from across Primary and Secondary phases began to have enlightening discussions about the relationship between humans, animals, and Earth´s natural resources. Through the ´Our Planet´ sessions, students began to understand the importance of biodiversity and the relationship between different biomes such as Rainforests, Wetlands, Arctic, and the Desert plains of Africa and discussed pressing issues for this generation. Many of our students also produced beautiful art and craft work, and some raised funds for the WWF
WWF global community and summits
Our TIPS schools in India and Malaysia welcomed Chief Education Officer Daniel Jones and a group of representatives from WWF India to the Coimbatore and Chennai campuses in January, establishing a firm relationship there, and in Canada, Chief Academic Officer Kathy Young met online with WWF Canada to discuss projects the Blyth Academy students would be working on.
In March, as schools began to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a planned visit to the WWF Living Planet headquarters in Woking, UK, by three schools – Stonar, ICS London and ICS Paris – moved online. This first “Our Planet´s Future” summit for Globeducate took place over two afternoons and gave students aged 14 to 16 the opportunity to play the roles of biome experts and world leaders, thrashing out reasons to invest or make global agreements and commitments. It was the first time many of these students had engaged with others across the group online, and used Zoom meetings, and they impressed the WWF experts not only with their communication skills but with their competency in analysis, evaluation, and negotiation. A second summit took place in May, this time involving six Globeducate schools. Once again, the level of engagement and argument from the students was mature and fully engaged – and students were reluctant to switch off at the end!
In order to expose a greater number of students and staff to expert panels and discussion opportunities with WWF, we held a WWF “Our Planet, Our Business” webinar and saw more than 10 schools take part and have the opportunity to pose questions to experts in sustainability development. Kat Machin, WWF ´Our Planet´ Youth Officer, said, “Hands down, this webinar presented the most challenging and intellectual questions, and inspiring responses, I have seen to date.”
We all went wild for endangered species…
The year´s WWF activities culminated with Wear it Wild Day, 5th June – screens across the group burst into a colour assault on the eyes with wild animal themed costumes, masks and artwork, and we heard wildlife themed songs and poetry, as children from pre-school to secondary level came together across nine countries and three continents to raise awareness of preserving endangered species from all over the world.
Professional development in Sustainability Education
Teachers, inspired by the work already completed during the year, took up the opportunity to participate in WWF and TES Institute teacher training in sustainability education – teachers were invited to not only complete an established online course on the TES platform but were able to pilot a new online course for WWF. The courses offered 8 modules and aimed to develop confidence in teaching Sustainability Education.
We return to school this September with another engaging and inspiring programme of activities with WWF, including a group-wide Festival of Sustainability and more global webinars, bringing together our students and teachers from across the globe.