How to Teach Children the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Back in 2016, the United Nations created 17 goals to tackle the world’s biggest problems. We have briefly explained each goal in a previous article. These objectives are set to be achieved by 2030 but in order to reach this target, the entire world will need to cooperate. Every one of us will need to adjust their lifestyle, from young to old.
In this blog post, we explain how you can teach children the importance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how teachers can involve parents and communities.
Start with yourself
If you want to deliver a message to someone in an effective way, you need to truly believe it. If you want children to grasp the importance of the UN SDGs, start with understanding them yourself. Read about the 17 goals on the official United Nations website and make sure you are able to explain them succinctly and simply.
Change your own lifestyle before asking others to do so. If you don’t believe what you preach, kids will surely notice. Show children how it’s done by using your own behaviour as an example. As everyone knows, actions speak louder than words.
Implement the UN SDGs in your current curriculum
Teachers can take a look at almost any of their current subjects and figure out how they relate to one of the goals. No need to create new classes or material – link them to your existing curriculum. However, introducing the students to the challenges the UNSDGs are aimed at beforehand is crucial. Ask them what they already know about certain world problems and commence a dialogue. Awareness is key in this arena.
Next, try to link one or more of the goals to each subject you teach. For instance, you could ask students to analyze articles about hunger and famine in your English class. Or let them write a paper about sustainable and smart cities. You could also ask pupils to calculate daily nutrition requirements or the yearly economic growth of a country in math class. In history class, ask them to research and analyze the evolution of poverty in Asia, and teach them how to avoid wasting water in toilets and the cafeteria.
Ideally, all teachers and the entire school staff should be involved to get the best result. Start informing them about the UN SDGs at school meetings and conferences. Tell them how you do it so they can learn. Evaluate the work you’ve done and set up action points in compliance with the director.
Involve parents and communities
One of the easiest ways to involve parents is through their children. Ask parents to complete a questionnaire about the UN SDGs. You could ask them if they already know any of the 17 goals and if they are changing their behaviour in order to achieve these goals. You could also ask them which one of the problems they deem most important, and how it affects their lives and that of their children.
The best way to involve the community is by getting out there and spreading awareness. Plant trees in your local neighbourhood, or clean rivers, streets, and brooks. This makes great content for awareness videos on your favourite social media platforms. Showcase the things you’ve done and demand a behavioural change of others, for instance, via a #competition. Teach others how to change their lifestyle by showing off the attitude of your own students.
If you start working on changing the behaviour of yourself, your students, and your community, it will reflect well on the image of your school and the one you have as a teacher. It’s also a great way to teach pupils the importance of international cooperation. Young people make up a big part of today’s population and teaching them how to tackle world problems is crucial for solving these issues.
Do you want your kids to learn how to change their behaviour and help solve the world’s biggest problems? Register them now in at SIS!
1 SIS Group of Schools. (2020, July 20). Four Reasons why International Competencies are Crucial. Retrieved July 20, 2020, from https://sisschools.org/blog/2020/07/four-reasons-why-international-competencies-are-crucial/
2 United Nations. (2020, January 24). About the Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved March 22, 2020, from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
3 Singapore International School. (2018, November 7). Register Now. Retrieved March 22, 2020, from https://sisschools.org/register-now