Wednesday, 23 November 2016

International Day for the elimination of violence against women November 25th 2016

Even though decades of mobilizing by civil society and women’s movements have put ending gender-based violence high on national and international agendas, not enough is done to prevent violence as we still witness  too many cases of domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence. From these lines I would like to suggest some activities and lesson plans which can help us to arise awareness on the topic in our classrooms. 

The first classroom proposal  I would like to suggest is based on an empowerment song by Katy Perry called "Roar": 

You can find some activities I have developed to work on this song here. The lyrics of the song can be downloaded from this link.

My second proposal is based on the huge impact celebrities have on our students. Therefore,  we can choose some celebrities that have taken a stand and support the cause to end violence against women. You can ask them to read this handout in pairs and vote for their favourite. Then, in groups of four they will have to reach an agreement and later report to the rest of the students giving reasons for their choice. 

If you like quotations, you can make students read  the ones here , which were said by famous people belonging to different fields in life. Ask them to work in pairs and print their favourite one  on a sticky note. You can find an easy tutorial that describes how to print onto sticky notes directly from your computer. Students can then leave inspiring quotes either created by them or said by a celebrity they admire  around the school. 

If you wish to develop a deeper approach on the topic, this lesson plan  from Amnesty  International is a very good option since it offers a range of activities for use in different curriculum areas  for 11-18 year old students. 

I hope that our classroom practice on November 25th can  contribute  to a faster solution to the  social scourge of violence against women. 

Thursday, 3 November 2016


UNESCO encourages us to celebrate the World Science  Day  for Peace and Development.  It  is annually held on November 10 and its purpose is to  renew the international commitment to science for peace and development and to stress the responsible use of science for the benefit of society. The World Science Day for Peace and Development also aims at raising public awareness of the importance of science and to bridge the gap between science and societies.

The WSDPD's objectives are :
  • To strengthen public awareness on the role of science for peaceful and sustainable societies
  • To promote national and international solidarity for a shared science between countries
  • To renew national and international commitment for the use of science for the benefit of societies
  • To draw attention to the challenges faced by science and raise support for the scientific endeavour
In order to raise your students' awareness on the topic, you can place the official poster on your classroom walls  and develop an activity that highlights the important role of  Science in society.  If you wish, you can use   this reading comprehension  activity that describes   how researchers from Virginia Tech attempted to reforest post-mined soil using biochar.  Teacher's notes and answers can be downloaded here. This activity is an example from, an excellent website to improve students' reading comprehension skills.

I cannot  end this post without sharing   the UNESCO Science report towards 2030 with you. It provides more country-level information than ever before. The trends and developments in Science, Technology,  innovation policy and governance between 2009 and mid-2015 described here provide essential baseline information on the concerns and priorities of countries that should orient the implementation and drive the assessment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the years to come. Therefore, a must-read for Science and Technology teachers.

Happy WSDPD and let us hope that our young students become aware of the essential relation between Science and Peace and Development and fight actively for it.