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    Welcome to GCLA (Global Citizenship, Leadership in Action):
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    This Q2 elective course will allow you to learn more about how the decisions you make, and the leadership you take, affect the world around you. 

    On Wednesdays, you will also take part in the middle school student council during Q2 as one form of "leadership in action."  The student council will continue through the school year, meeting after school on Thursdays with Ms Grubac and Ms Kenderic.

    If you choose, you may continue your personal development in global citizenship by completing the Global Citizenship Award over the next six months.

    Monday 3 November: What is global citizenship?

    AREA 1 - Understanding other cultures and outlooks

    • Why is it important to understand other people?

    AREA 2 - Personal Global Footprint

    What impact do YOU have on your environment?  What is your personal global footprint?  How could buy goods that have less environmental and social impact?

    • Being good with money
    • Environmental responsibility

    AREA 3 - Influence & Involvement with Others

    • Personal community service
    • Advocacy, persuasion or promotion
    • Active participation in decision-making processes

    Personal investigation--Area 1

    1. Choose a culture you wish to investigate (make sure you can find somebody from that culture who you can do a face-to-face interview with)
    2. Find other methods of exploring your chosen culture (book, film, internet research).  Books & films can be fictional.

    *Wednesday 5 November (90 minutes)

    Culture Exploration continues (45 minutes)

    What should a student council do? (45 minutes)

    • Mission, Leadership and Service
    • Strategic Planning 
    • Roles and Responsibilities
    • Effective meetings--getting things done, and bringing out the best in others
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    Understanding Other Cultures and Outlooks + Introducing Leadership as Service (10-16 Nov)
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    Film: There Once Was an Island

    • Climate change threatens a unique culture off the coast of Papua New Guinea.  How will they preserve their values and traditions?  Will they abandon their island, or find ways to preserve it? 

    WEDNESDAY 12 NOVEMBER:  Student Council meeting

    • First influence: Wednesday afternoon PA announcement
    • Compass Points exercise:  being self-aware about how we influence a group
    • First brainstorming session:  ideas 

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    Understanding Other Cultures (17-21 Nov)
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    MONDAY 17 NOVEMBER : Continuing to research another culture.

    • Rubric for grading is attached.
    • Your presentation may take any form (spoken, visual, film, etc.) and should take about 10 minutes.  Longer presentations may need to be 'shortened' in class, in order for the class to hear all presentations.
    • Click here for ideas: Multicultural 'World Cup for Kids' blogs on World Cup countries

    Cultural universals.  These are learned behavior patterns that are shared by all of humanity collectively.  No matter where people live in the world, they share these universal traits.  Examples of such "human cultural" traits include:


    communicating with a verbal language consisting of a limited set of sounds and grammatical rules for constructing sentences


    using age and gender to classify people (e.g., teenager, senior citizen, woman, man)


    classifying people based on marriage and descent relationships and having kinship terms to refer to
    them (e.g., wife, mother, uncle, cousin)


    raising children in some sort of family setting


    having a division of labor  based on gender (e.g., men's work versus women's work)


    having a concept of privacy


    distinguishing between good and bad behavior


    having some sort of body ornamentation


    making jokes and playing games


    having art


    having some sort of leadership roles for the implementation of community decisions

    While all cultures have these and possibly many other universal traits, different cultures have developed their own specific ways of carrying out or expressing them.  For instance, people in deaf subcultures frequently use their hands to communicate with sign language instead of verbal language.  

    Culture and Society

    Culture and society are not the same thing.  While cultures are complexes of learned behavior patterns and perceptions, societies are groups of interacting organisms

    People are not the only animals that have societies.  Schools of fish, flocks of birds, and hives of bees are societies.  In the case of humans, however, societies are groups of people who directly or indirectly interact with each other.  People in human societies also generally perceive that their society is distinct from other societies in terms of shared traditions and expectations.

    While human societies and cultures are not the same thing, they are connected because culture is created and transmitted to others in a society.  Cultures are not the product of lone individuals.  They are the continuously evolving products of people interacting with each other.  Cultural patterns such as language, traditions, and politics make no sense except in terms of the interaction of people.  

    Work on developing your presentation.

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    Understanding Other Cultures (24, 26 Nov)
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    • All student presentations, self- and peer-assessed using agreed rubric

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    Reflecting and Recording / Personal Global Footprint (1-5 Dec)
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    Personal Global Footprint (8-12 Dec)
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    Being Good With Money/Personal Global Footprint (15-19 Dec)
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    Being Good With Money/Personal Global Footprint (7, 8 Jan)
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    Being Good With Money/Personal Global Footprint (12-16 Jan)
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    Acknowledgements and Additional Resources
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    Inspiration for the philosophy and structure of this course came from Boyd Roberts's Educating for Global Citizenship (International Baccalaureate, 2009), Oxfam's resources Educating for Global Citizenshipand all the students and educators who affect their immediate communities for the better. 

    These descriptions from the IGC Award Discussion forum are helpful in sorting through a a selection of potential resources.

    Personal global footprint – the food we eat                      

    The IGC Award encourages young people to look at their everyday lives and the impact they are having, consciously or not, on people and planet. In working on their personal global footprint, food is an obvious place to start. By considering research about and the stories behind the food we eat we can become better informed and then consider how we want to adjust how we spend our money and what we eat. It is too easy, however, to latch onto a few simple mantras (like “local good, imported bad”) which do not reflect the complexities of some of the issues involved. A more informed and critical consideration of the issues associated with our food is necessary, even with younger students. Here are a few resources that may be helpful for exploring food within the context of the IGC Award. Some are produced for school use. Others are more general. In compiling this I have drawn on the excellent Global Dimension website, which lists and reviews many resources helpful in addressing matters global within schools  While some of the resources are geared to the UK context, they can certainly be very helpful in other contexts too.

    Resources are coded:

    G          General, not produced for a school audience. Some of these resources may not therefore be suitable for use with younger students.

    11-14   produced for use in schools with this age group       

    11-16   produced for use in schools with this age group       

    16+      produced for use in schools with this age group       

    Bottled water

    The Story of Bottled Water video (G)

    The Story of Bottled Water shows how marketing has created a perceived need for a resource that is often readily available from the tap. It is produced by the people who developed “The Story of Stuff” video. Although geared to an American market, it is relevant to people who drink bottled water anywhere.  In around five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water, its use of advertising and the associated plastic waste.

    (The Story for Stuff website has a number of very good animated videos on consumer demand and related issues.

    But the videos from The Story of Stuff organization come in for criticism. To get some balance look also at the video The Real Story of Bottled Water (G), which puts the case for drinking it  (Both these videos are available also on the Award Ning at

    This video is developed by an organization called Bottled Water Matters (Website at, where it argues the case for bottled water. Interestingly there is no About Us page on the website, and the organization is, apparently, financed by the International Bottled Water Association. (See Huffington Post report

    Food production and distribution

    Food and Farming (11-14; 14-16; 16+) A short booklet (available as a pdf at produced by Friends of the Earth UK. Although written for the UK context, much of it is more generally relevant. It argues that we should buy local, organically produced or fair trade food.

    Some counter views on organic food are presented in (G)

    A recent report from Stanford University concludes there is little evidence of health benefits from organic food (see  (G) for a summary). But the authors note that there are other arguments for organic food such as concern over pesticide use and animal welfare in some farming methods.

    Fair Miles (G) This booklet by Oxfam and the International Institute for Economic Development gives an admirable consideration of food production and transport, focusing on food trade between Africa and the UK. It considers the concept of “food miles” to be an oversimplification, and presents a more comprehensive and inclusive view of “fair miles”. As it says “Food is more than a plateful of emissions. It’s a social, political and economic issue that involves millions of small farmers in poor countries who export produce to the North. They have built lives and livelihoods around this trade. By buying what they grow, you’ve clocked up ‘fair miles’.” Whilst not specifically aimed at schools, it is very clearly written and illustrated with clear, colourful diagrams. Probably most useful with participants 16 and above

    Food Stories (11-16; 16+) is an interactive website that considers food in a broad context. This includes consideration of food production and consumer choice, as well as aspects of food which are less generally relevant to the IGC Award.  Produced by the British Library, it includes recordings of interviews with people concerned with food and colourful graphics. There is also an accompanying teacher’s guide.

    Sustainable Table (G) is a US website promoting sustainable food. There are general factsheets and information on a wide range of food-related topics, such as factory farming, food safety, local food and waste. There are special teachers’ resources.

    Nourish (G; 11-14; 14-16) is a website promoting good healthy food and an awareness of the issues underling food. The website includes a number of short videos on topics such as Fairtrade food, how supermarkets get us to but etc.

    Show R World (G) is an interactive website, which provides data in a visually interesting form on many features of global interest, such as population, education. It also gives information on production and consumption of certain key food animal and plant resources (see under Planet)



    Just Coffee (G) is a 20 minute film produced by Consumers International. It looks at the processes involved and benefits of various coffee certification programmes (Utz Kapez, organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance). There are interviews with coffee producers, campaigning organisations, and international coffee organisations. The film is at

    Oxfam has a number of resources relating to coffee production and Fair trade. These include the Coffee Chain Game (13+) which explores the coffee supply chain and where money goes along the way.


    Food Certification programmes

    Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the background to the foods they eat, and many are looking for indications that what they buy is grown and processed with proper regard for the workers and the environment. This has led to a proliferation in certification programmes, but also in the use of unverifiable claims – such as “sustainable”, “locally sourced” – sometimes examples of “greenwashing”.

    If we wish to be ethical shoppers, we need to become more familiar with the various certification schemes.

    Fairtrade is one of the best known, and applies to food and other products, such as flowers and cotton.

    The international certification body is Fairtrade International, and there are local certification organisations in many countries.

    UTZ certifies tea, coffee and cocoa. Its website (available in French, Spanish, Chinese, German and English) explains the certification programme and its benefits.

    The ecological case for and against vegetarianism

    Why it’s green to go vegetarian (G) is a 20 page leaflet presenting the ecological case for vegetarianism. Produced by the UK’s Vegetarian Society.

    But see also campaigning author George Monbiot’s article I was wrong about veganism (G) in which he renounces his own veganism, after reading Simon Fairlie’s book Meat: a benign extravagance , which he summarises here.



    Support Ethical (G) is a short video (1:43) on the importance of food choices, produced by how it should be

    The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter (G) Prominent philosopher on ethics in everyday life and Harvard professor Peter Singer  discusses. A lecture to a university audience -  53minutes.

    Is local food more ethical? (G)  A short video (2:10) from the Carnegie Council raises key issues about local food.

    For younger students

    Oxfam has a number of food-related resources for younger students, including

    Go bananas (7 -11) which traces banana from the Caribbean to the UK.

    Making a meal of it (7-11) includes a number of lesson plans and activities on food, food supply and distribution. These include

    Where does our food come from?

     Unpacking the supermarket bag


    Food issues more generally

    Consideration of our own food may lead us into a wider consideration of food supply and distribution more generally in the world.  A Healthy Diet. Who decides? (11-14) produced by UNICEF UK includes case studies and activities on food in three countries.

    Oxfam UK has some excellent general education resources (Food for Thought (11-14; 16+)) on food production and distribution, although developed for use in a classroom context and as part of a larger project rather than by students independently -

    Global Eye – a website (not currently updated) overseen by the Royal Geographical Society – has some background information and links on world food production and distribution at