7 March 2018

International Women's Day 2018

International Women's Day is being celebrated tomorrow, 8th March, the theme this year being Press for Progress.  Pressing for progress, pressing for change, is vital for both women/girls and education. 

Education wise, it is still the curriculum which dictates the worksheets to be completed, the tests to be marked, the regurgitation to be endured (in between checking Snapchat or IG). Why not make tomorrow a different day, a day to remember?

Steve Wheeler highlighted the purpose of remixing -HOW TO REVITALISE YOUR LESSONS: REMIXING RESOURCES - by giving learners their own space to remix content, to create content and add their own meaning for learning. As I have said throughout this blog, learning is a personal process. By giving learners the time and space to create something which has personal meaning to them,  and then sharing among their peers, raises their performance and ownership of their learning process.  As Wheeler points out:

"Remixing may offer several solutions to struggling teachers in pressurised environments. In school, there is very little time for reflection or creativity. Much of classroom time is taken up with behaviour management, record keeping, delivery of content and assessment, and evenings and weekends consist of endless marking and preparation of teaching plans and resources. There is little time for teachers to create new activities and experiences for children, and often the same, tired resources are recycled year after year. The photocopier is the place where teachers gather every day to reproduce content time and again. It's little wonder that some lessons are boring, students lose interest, and resources are less relevant and not as up to date than they should be.

By 're-mixing' relevant content, teachers no longer have to 'reinvent the wheel', and gain more time to make new activities and exercises. In the hands of students, remixing can be a powerful motivation for learning. Textbooks and videos may not always excite students, but being able to extract content and personalise it for learning can be creative and gives students ownership. Further, remixing content allows students to extend and deepen their learning, allowing them to explore an extended context around the topic they are learning. Finally, sharing this new, remixed content among their peers and wider audiences through social media, can offer students incentive to raise their games and produce a higher quality performance. "

Learning and teaching contexts define what may be appropriate or not for a lesson; there are always so many factors to take into consideration (age group for instance as well as educational resources). 

However, it is simple to ask learners to discuss the role of women in their society and then to think about a woman who may be prominent in their society or history; or a contemporary female figure they respect and admire, who doesn't necessarily need to be a public figure.

There are always role models in our lives, even if they are not public figures. A compilation of learners' choices may be collected in a Padlet and shared. Learners would then present their choices and explain why they chose that person.  It's a simple way of focusing on adjectives, for instance, if in an ELT lesson (with the revision and introduction of adjectives carried out before they participate in the Padlet board). 

You can also try out International Women's Day Activity Task Cards from Teacher Starter, which offers a range of ideas and teaching resources (some free) for educators. 

International Women's Day also has free resources for education, which can be used or remixed to suit different learning contexts. 

More than just creating a selfie or clicking on a pledge for change, let learners really reflect and consider what positive gender changes in attitude would mean for them - whether that be the right to choose what profession they would like to take up or how they would like to dress. 

Equal rights for women does not exclude men.  Equal rights is for both. International Women's Day is an opportunity to get away from the photocopy machine, to give students ownership of a world which is theirs - letting them express how they can contribute to, by learning, reflecting and creating. 

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