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Giving classrooms global context through the ‘World’s Largest Lesson’


Reading time: 2 minutes. Relevant campaign: World’s Largest Lesson 


Alison Bellwood, director of the World’s Largest Lesson, Project Everyone, exhorts teachers and school leaders to introduce the United Nations’ sustainable development goals in their school

In 2015 The United Nations launched the sustainable development goals (SDGs), a series of ambitious targets to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change by 2030 – ambitious, we know! But we’re starting to see some progress and if everyone on the planet, including children, knew about the goals and took action, things would move a lot faster.

Teaching about the SDGs (or global goals as we like to call them), is a great way of putting childrens’ learning into a more global, real-world context, and you can use resources from the World’s Largest Lesson to get started. Born out of a partnership between Project Everyone and UNICEF, we believe it makes education for sustainable development interesting and engaging and encourages children to become actively involved in achieving the global goals.

With a website full of free and creative resources it currently engages millions of children in over 130 countries each year. There are prescriptive lesson plans to choose from, or a library of ideas to create your own, run projects and stimulate action in support of the goals http://worldslargestlesson.globalgoals.org/.

This year there’s a focus on helping children work out what ’taking action’ means and finding ways to put their own talents and skills to good use.

Where do I start?

At the heart of our resources sit animated films introduced by figures students know and respect, like Emma Watson, Serena Williams, Malala Yousafzai, and many more. These films establish a context for the goals and inspire students to use their creative powers to support and take action for them.

Steps to introduce the global goals to your class:

  1. Watch these animations to familiarise yourself with the goals and hear about real examples of action: http://worldslargestlesson.globalgoals.org/animated-films/.
  2. Use our free online course as a guide and support, to equip you in teaching the global goals.
  3. Start with our introductory resources, including lesson plans, from which you can go on to teach about each goal more specifically: http://worldslargestlesson.globalgoals.org/introduce-the-global-goals/.

Then what?

Once your pupils know about the goals, you’ll discover many ways of weaving them through your teaching. You could ask your class to decide for themselves which goals they’d like to explore further, and help them to identify their own actions. There are guides to creating local community change projects or supporting existing campaigns; many schools find these suited to lunchtime or after-school club activities.

When can I start?

We frequently get asked when the best time to get started with this and the answer is always, now! We recommend incorporating this learning from early in the school year (24th September), to give pupils plenty of time to make a real contribution throughout the year.

Do I have to apply?

You don’t need to sign up or apply for anything, though you can register yourself to get updates from us. If you teach a World’s Largest Lesson you can add yourself and your school to our online community via our interactive map. It’s a great way of showing pupils that they are part of a generation that are keen to make change in their world. And it can enable you to find other teachers around the world who are doing the same and connect with them via Twitter.

So take a look, make a date and help achieve these ambitious global goals.

Further to the World’s Largest Lesson campaign is the Global Learning Programme. Since 2013, the Global Learning Programme (GLP) has been building a national network of like-minded schools, committed to equipping their pupils to make a positive contribution to a globalised world by helping their teachers to deliver effective teaching and learning about development and global issues at Key Stages 2 and 3. Find out more


Read on the SSAT blog: Integrated curriculum helps build a love of learning


Alison Bellwood, Director, World’s Largest Lesson, Project Everyone

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