Reply To: Module 1 – Introduction to Development Education

Caroline Walsh

Development Education is fundamental in preparing children for the world we live in together as global citizens. It helps to open our minds, to look beyond ourselves and understand the interconnectedness of us all living on this planet.
The role of global citizens in today’s world is as important as ever. We continue to live in a world that is dealing with many social issues such as poverty, hunger, inequality and political instability. As citizens of this world, we must believe that we all have a role to play to improve our reality and for the global community. Common humanity connects and unites us all and we each have a role to play in addressing the causes of social injustice locally and globally.
It is important that we recognise the problems of our neighbours as our problems also. We are a global family, ‘within the human house’.
Change is the mantra of global citizenship and belief in the power of change is fundamental to this.
As a starting point, we must focus on the immediate task of improving ourselves and acting in accordance with the aspirations we have for our local community and the global community. Trying to be the change we see in our world is both accessible and powerful no matter how big or small one feels their contribution is.
A key element of being effective global citizens is appreciating our place and the place of others. This calls on us to extend our solidarity to others and do as much as we can to uplift those around us.
Education has a significant role to play in global citizenship. We are all created the same and are interconnected. To be a global citizen, we must care and empathise. We must honestly acknowledge privalege and disadvantage in our own lives and learn how we can work cohesively with our neighbour to offset disadvantage and establish more indicators for happiness for everyone.
I work in a DEIS band 1 school which is located in an area designated as ‘disadvantaged’. This article reminds us that we should all acknowledge the complex mixture of privalege and disadvantage with which we personally struggle. It emphasises people coming together, working together to offset disadvantage and establish more indicators for happiness for everyone. Our school provides many programmes for children to offset disadvantage in a range of areas. Parents are supported in their own personal development and also in their children’s education.
It is important that we teach development education in schools to provide the children with the opportunity to critically analyse information they receive and to feel that they can make a difference in the world.
A lesson outlined in this module outlines discussing with the children the difference between wants and needs. Asking the children, are wants the same as needs and why not? Then discussing what human rights are – every person to be treated the same, to be looked after, protected and to have basic needs met. To Help the children the concept of basic needs met, the teacher can ask, does every child have the right to sleep, to play etc. I think teachers would have to be sensitive to the children’s own situations and handle this lesson carefully especially as there may be children in the class, in cases where their basic needs are not met in some way, I do feel it still is important for them to understand that every has the right to have these but it might not always be the case for lots of different reasons.
Making a poster about a particular human right would be a nice activity for the children in groups or as a class.

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