Increasing awareness and understanding about the world is an essential element of our work in GOAL. This is why our Development Education team is so important. Development education is about discussing the issues and challenges we face in the world. For young people, in primary and secondary schools, it encourages thought and debate about global issues and what sort of world they want to create.
Our talented and enthusiastic Development Education team engaged in talks and workshops all around the country during the 2015/16 school year. They visited schools and libraries, encouraging students to reimagine the world and engage with some of the biggest problems we face today. Our team reached 14,900 students directly through these visits.
Talks and presentations remained popular, but the team gave fewer talks than the previous year and focused on promoting our workshops. These are particularly effective in getting children talking. “I enjoyed this so much. Can we go again?” said one pupil who attended a workshop in Gorey Library.
Primary school talks were mainly on the work of GOAL to coincide with popular fundraising events like Jersey Day, or on Syria and the refugee crisis. Secondary school talks were most often linked to school projects such as CSPE (Civic, Social and Political Education), LCVP (Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme) and LCA (Leaving Cert Applied).
“You really know how to talk to children and my third class were touched, informed and interested in what you told them. Thank you mostly for the sensitive way you dealt with their questions,” said Ms Ryan, 3rd class teacher, St Patrick’s Loreto Bray, Co Wicklow
Our workshops have become increasingly popular over the last year. The most requested topics included global citizenship, water and exploring conflict. Workshops are based on participation and getting students to become active global citizens. They’re all about getting the kids involved, enthusiastic and excited about how they can help to change the world.
"I enjoyed this so much. Can we go again?"
“Workshops were excellent. Included as part of a development education themed day and the best feedback, highest praise and affect was for GOAL's workshop. Thank you,” said one teacher in Carlow.
The workshops were so successful that our team facilitated them all over the country. “My favourite part was the drama because it was like getting sucked into South Sudan,” said a pupil who attended a workshop in Wexford library.
In 2015 a new initiative was introduced to expand our reach in schools – Write the Future. Both an educational programme and a letter writing competition for primary and secondary schools, it gave students and teachers a chance to participate in humanitarian issues. The theme in 2015 was Syria and the refugee crisis. Curriculum-linked lesson plans were developed and students were encouraged to write letters to someone who they felt could make a difference to the refugee situation. Over 1,350 letters were received by GOAL from schools nationwide. These letters were written to politicians, clergy members, teachers and principals, business owners and celebrities.
“The way I see it is that even with our own economic struggles we should rise to the challenge and accept more refugees onto our shores. Humanity and kindness are limitless,” extract from a letter by Ruben Grace, aged 11, St. Conleth’s, Dublin 4, addressed to Kevin Humphreys TD.
The Dev Ed team will continue their incredible work for the 2016/17 school year and are already making plans. They might just pay a visit to your child’s school and get them thinking, talking and planning how we can make the world a better place.