Scots teachers take learning global in Rwanda

It won’t be their usual summer break, and it’ll be a whole new classroom. The teaching will be different and their home life filled with cultural experiences and challenges. However, there will be bags of inspiration, enthusiasm, similarities and a warm welcome when fifteen Scottish teachers leave their classrooms behind on the last day of term and head to Rwanda to live and work for four weeks.

Fifteen teachers from the Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus area are taking part in the Global Learning Partnerships (GLP) programme, a learning opportunity that will greatly improve and support the long-term development of global education within their schools and enhance global citizenship values in young people.

The programme is run by The Wood Foundation (TWF), the philanthropic charity created by Sir Ian Wood and family in 2007. The programme falls under the ‘Developing Young People in Scotland’ category with the main focus on global citizenship. Other areas focused on by TWF in this category are youth philanthropy, childhood poverty, and positive pathways for young people leaving full-time education.

The GLP experience enriches practitioners while interweaving the effects of globalisation with Learning for Sustainability, providing children in Scotland with a unique and fascinating insight into another culture through the teachers’ experience of working and living in the East-African communities.

While overseas, the practitioners will also provide mentor support to enhance and improve the development of their East-African counterparts. Fully immersing themselves in the lifestyle aims to boost the teachers’ confidence, knowledge and understanding of teaching for Learning for Sustainability, returning to nurture socially responsible, outward looking pupils.

The fifteen teachers heading to Rwanda this summer will be the second cohort of teachers visiting Rwanda through the GLP programme after it was established in 2013, with the first group of teachers taking part in summer 2014.

Over the next few months Teaching Scotland will be following two teachers as they travel to Rwanda during the summer holidays as part of the GLP programme.

International showcase for Scottish education

Education Secretary leads delegation to New Zealand in partnership with Trade Unions
Scotland will lead a UK delegation to the International Summit on the Teaching Profession, organised by the OECD and Education International, being held in Wellington, New Zealand on March 28 and 29.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell and Larry Flanagan of The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) will make a joint address to the annual summit which brings together education ministers, national teacher trade union leaders from 13 states including the USA, Germany, Japan, Denmark and Sweden.

Ken Muir, Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) will also be part of the delegation which will represent the UK and highlight Scotland’s key educational strengths while identifying best practices worldwide that will strengthen the teaching profession and raise student achievement.

Mr Russell said:

“The key priorities of the Summit align with our own priorities for Scottish education: breaking the link between poverty and attainment, investing in teacher excellence and a curriculum focussed on pupils’ experiences to help them achieve success.

“Scotland’s teachers are amongst the best in the world. This is an opportunity to promote the excellence of our workforce and its critical role in helping our children and young people to achieve success while learning from other delegations including other top performing states.

Mr Flanagan commented:

“The International Summit on the Teaching Profession is an important event which will bring together teacher trade unions and education policy makers from across the globe. The summit provides an important opportunity for countries to work together to address the many challenges facing education around the world and to share their knowledge and expertise.

“It is significant that each delegation will be comprised of both teacher representatives and government Ministers; in Scotland we have a strong political consensus around Education and the summit will allow us to highlight the importance of constructive dialogue and partnership working in ensuring high-quality education provision. The EIS, together with kindred teacher representatives, will play a full and active role as part of the Scottish delegation alongside Scottish Government, led by the Cabinet Secretary.”

Mr Muir added:

“I am honoured to be part of this education delegation. GTCS already has strong links with the New Zealand Teachers Council and we have shared regulatory best practice over the years. I look forward to providing the conference with information about the on-going work of GTCS including the scheme of Professional Update which launches in August and our revised Professional Standards which have already generated much interest from overseas.

“We know Scottish education and the close cooperation amongst all parties involved is highly regarded abroad, but there is much we can learn from other countries and it will be interesting and useful to engage in this two-way communication of ideas.”

The Summit is jointly organised by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and Education International.

Welcome To Your 21st Century Global Educational System


We are entering into a new era of education with a global curriculum designed by the United Nations that will be implemented not just in developing countries, but right here in the United States.

Once our daycares are forced to shut their doors because of purposeful and costly over-regulation by state and federal governments, babies will be forced into the 0 -12 educational system and the educational leaders will have accomplished their goal of compulsory education for even the youngest in our society. Once all children are herded into the public school system (because homeschooling will no longer be allowed), this is what our newly transformed educational system will look like. This is something they have been promoting to implement in Michigan schools during the Governor Granholm era and has since continued under the current administration.

You will drop your child off at the door shortly after giving birth. The school will provide your children’s health care, nutritional needs, infant support services, infant mental health (because you will probably screw them up somehow). Of course they will also provide reading, writing, and arithmetic. They will house child protective services workers in the school to constantly monitor your children for signs of neglect and abuse. The definition of neglect that can constitute a visit and removal of your children from your home includes inattention to a child’s emotional needs and failure to provide psychological care. They also describe emotional abuse (or psychological abuse) as, “a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance.” Yes, you read that right. The CPS can at any time present a case against you should they choose to interview your child and determine at any point you have rejected them, not supported or guided them.

If you should choose to raise your child with a particular belief, set of values, or religion, the government will deem that you are usurping your children’s rights and could remove them from your home. The idea of children’s rights vs. parental rights is a concept quickly wedging its way into the educational system. According to the California Law Review, “The incongruity between parents’ rights and established principles regarding the nature and inherent limitations of individual rights compels us to seek other moral and/or legal principles to support and legitimize this anomalous set of rights. Absent such justification, we might be forced to conclude that parents’ rights, like the plenary rights of husbands over their wives in an earlier age, ultimately rest on nothing more than the ability of the politically more powerful class of persons to enshrine in the law their domination of a politically less powerful class, and on an outmoded view that members of the subordinated group are not persons in their own right.”

Once the global educational system (which by the way, will be funded through pooled taxes amongst the nations, including your taxes, and equally distributed so that all countries will have the same educational opportunities) has established that they are the ultimate authority in your child’s life and have annihilated your parental rights, they will introduce their global agenda, I mean, curriculum. I had the opportunity when I worked for the Michigan Legislature to visit the ‘US-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence’ located at Michigan State University. They gave us a mug with the China and United States flags combined. This center promotes a global citizenship school. According to the document I received from the center, “The Education for Global Citizen (EGC) Schools were created to prepare young children for these new global challenges — to prepare children to become effective global citizens.” They also believe, “In the past, pre-school was focused upon the care and nurturing of the young child. Little more than day care while parents worked, many of these first generations of pre-schools placed little emphasis on cognitive, personal, and social development.” You ask why are we allowing the Chinese to introduce their educational ideologies in America? Just follow the money, and by money I mean U.S. treasuries. They also promote an extreme environmentalist view that consists of promoting population control and sustainable development (even though China is one of the leading polluters in the world).

Once the newly transformed global educational system has usurped parental rights and indoctrinated its global agenda into the minds of our little ones, your child will be old enough to make their own decisions on their sexual values (and by old enough I mean approximately ten years old.) Sexual values taught by the United Nations schooling system which promotes masturbation as healthy, for kids to advocate for their own sexual rights, and safe abortions.

When your kids decide they want to have unprotected sex your school will be there to provide, free of charge, and without your knowledge, the morning after pill, abortions, or for the proactive and responsible, birth control. Just ask parents in New York City, who already have the privilege of many of these benefits. The values and religious beliefs that you are no longer allowed to teach your kids because it could be harmful to their development will be replaced with the United Nations values of sexuality. In their Comprehensive Sexuality Education they state, “Often we may feel like questioning our parents’ beliefs and reasons for doing things, and this is very healthy! We may want to try new things for ourselves, and, at times, to take risks.” They will no longer emphasize America’s great heritage, our history or basic science education we learned as children. They will teach about the importance of doing our part for sustainable development, population control, and global warming.

The United Nations has an agenda. That agenda is to unite the world under a socialist one-world government and they will start with indoctrinating your children. Welcome to your 21st century schools in America.

Campaign to launch the World’s Largest Lesson

The World’s Largest Lesson is an initiative to teach children in over 100 countries about the new Sustainable Development Goals that will be adopted by the UN General Assembly later this month.

As part of the campaign to tell everyone about the Global Goals, the World’s Largest Lesson will engage children and young people in the global effort to build a more sustainable future for every citizen.

“The World’s Largest Lesson will do more than teach children about the global goals. It will engage them in the effort to achieve those goals – educating them about the challenges that are shaping their futures and encouraging them to drive change in their own communities,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Young people can help achieve the global goals by holding their leaders accountable for the promises they are making – and by holding themselves accountable for building a better future for everyone.”

The World’s Largest Lesson will be held in classrooms on every continent during the week of 28 September. A potential 500 million girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 14 will have the chance to learn about the Global Goals, which range from ending extreme poverty for all people everywhere, to tackling climate change, and giving all children the opportunity to gain a quality primary and secondary education. Government leaders and ministers from a number of countries will be teaching and participating in lessons.

Specially created lesson materials include an animated film by Aardman and author and education expert Sir Ken Robinson that introduces the Global Goals, and a downloadable comic book by Josh Elder, Karl Kesel and Grace Allison.

Download the animation, lesson plans, and photos

“The World’s Largest Lesson is a fantastic opportunity to tell all children, everywhere, what the Global Goals are and how they can play their part to make sure they are achieved,” said Richard Curtis, founder of the Global Goals campaign. “It would be wonderful if all teachers could make sure the World’s Largest Lesson is taught at their school. By making the Global Goals famous we can give them the best chance of working around the world – and help make us the first generation to end extreme poverty, the most determined generation in history to end injustice and inequality, and the last generation to be threatened by climate change.”

The World’s Largest Lesson provides a unique opportunity to foster global citizenship in schools across the world. It supports student learning across a range of subject areas such as science, geography, citizenship and technology and helps teachers explore important global issues such as human rights, poverty and climate change.

Building characters of the future

How appropriate it is for Mr Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education, to enshrine the memory and legacy of Robert Owen in the history of Scottish education.

His vision for The Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change is that it ‘will be devoted to our understanding of how to improve the life chances of our young people’, and provide a window into the world, in which others will learn with and from Scotland and further the cause of educational equity – a hallmark of Owen’s legacy.

The centre will promote successful practices and be a lighthouse for educators across the globe. It will further advance the cause of equity of outcomes and solidify Scotland’s place in the global community. What an honour it was for me to receive the Robert Owen Award and I was grateful for this bold recognition.

As I read about Owen’s beliefs, philosophies and achievements, I see many parallels between these and our modus operandi as educators today. For example:

1. Robert Owen believed in the importance of education

Robert Putnam (1993) once concluded that communities which succeeded socially and economically did not become civil because they were rich, but rather became rich because they were civil. The best predictors of success, he concluded, were strong traditions of civic engagement. Putnam described these aspects of civic engagement as social capital.

A literate society with an educated citizenry is certainly the lifeblood of democracy. Society is dependent on the human capital that is nurtured by a good education system.

Teachers contribute to the development of a civil society. We enrich public participation and contribute to nation building. We encourage democratic values and responsible citizenship, giving students the skills to anticipate problems and to contribute to solutions. We also help them to understand what it means to be human in our increasingly interdependent world. As educators, we must ensure that our country continues to be the embodiment of a civil society with strong social capital. Each day, within our classrooms, we create the society that our children and grandchildren will inherit.

Literacy, one of the most important outcomes of schooling, is an investment in human capital and the foundation for future learning and success in school. Being literate is liberating and empowering. By focusing on educating young children, Owen not only engaged in community development, but also made one of the best investments in the development of human capital and a civil society.

His focus on literacy enhanced students’ life chances. Because literacy is the gateway to all learning and an important means of social mobility, he made it possible for individuals to extricate themselves from a life of poverty. It follows, then, that as teachers, we must recognise the potential of our publicly-funded education system to bring about significant changes within our society.

I know educators do not like to be compared to other professions because teaching is such a unique occupation. But I cannot resist sharing the following perspective hoping it will stimulate vigorous debates. Whittle (2005) said: “In schools of the future leaders will assume highly consistent academic results the same way flight crews assume flawless performance, the same way doctors and patients now expect near perfection in certain basic procedures.

“In hospitals and airplanes, lives are on the line. In schools, the quality of those lives is determined. The standard should be the same.”

2. Robert Owen believed in the power of education to create a more just, harmonious society

Character education offers great promise for us to educate both hearts and minds and is the deliberate effort to nurture the universal attributes upon which schools and communities find consensus. These attributes, such as respect, honesty, fairness, empathy, and perseverance, provide a standard for behaviour against which we hold ourselves accountable. They bind us together across socio-economic, racial, religious, cultural, gender and other lines that often divide people and communities. They form the basis for our relationships.

Our experience demonstrated that implementing a character development programme based on community engagement in a systematic and intentional manner allows us to find common ground within a diverse society. Character development continues to be important in schooling. Parents and businesses want schools to develop the habits of mind and heart necessary to develop the important “soft skills” required for personal fulfillment and successful interpersonal relationships.

Teachers have always been character developers. What is new is that there should be a provincial or national focus on ensuring communities play a key role in determining the attributes upon which these programmes are based.

We also learned that, when there is a whole school effort to infuse these attributes in all policies, programmes, practices and interactions, there is a positive impact on school culture. Student achievement also increases as teachers spend more time on teaching and less on discipline.

In the early stages of implementation of character development programmes in Ontario, we asked schools to send us anecdotal accounts of the effect this initiative was having. Their stories demonstrated it was making a difference in schools. Our early efforts proved that when character education is done well, it has the potential to further the goals related to student engagement, motivation, achievement, volunteerism, and citizenship.

Owen was one of the early proponents of character education, believing in its importance and writing extensively about the formation of human character. What I admired most was that he was not just interested in making money, but in creating a new type of community at New Lanark. Drucker (1999), in his book, Leading Beyond the Walls, also exhorts us to create community, saying: “Society in all developed countries has become pluralist and is becoming more pluralist day by day… But all early pluralist societies destroyed themselves because no one took care of the common good. If our modern pluralist society is to escape the same fate, the leaders of all institutions will have to learn to be leaders beyond the walls. They will have to learn that it is not enough for them to lead their own institutions, though that is the first requirement. They will also have to learn to become leaders in the community. In fact, they will have to learn to create community.”

As professionals, we keep our optimism alive. We continue to envisage a future bright and full of possibilities because we chose teaching as a profession. We are asiduous in efforts to improve public confidence with a sense of urgency, recognising that children cannot wait. In doing so, we stand on the shoulders of education reformers like Owen and view the world through his lens of equity and social justice. If we choose to act on our beliefs, we will certainly uphold Owen’s legacy.

Resources to support active global citizenship

Scotdec Global Learning Centre works with schools and educators to promote active and participatory global citizenship education.

Scotdec has created a number of practical, classroom resources which support active Global Citizenship in many curriculum areas.

Global Youth Work

A Global Citizenship resource for youth work and activities suitable for school use. Using six everyday commodities as a starting point to explore global interdependencies: water, tobacco, chocolate, textiles, mobile phones and sustainable food.

Our Forest, Our Future

An online resource to help teachers and pupils explore the interdependence of people and forests and the vital role forests play in sustaining our environment.

Failte Malawi

A Global Citizenship resource for primary schools. The activities in this resource pack encourage pupils to explore the links and commonalities that are shared between Scotland and Malawi.

A’ Adam’s Bairns?

Exploring equality and diversity in Scotland past and present. This online resource explores slavery and the slave trade in the context of Scotland’s history and the issues which challenge us in Scotland today.