How to stop the Taliban from shutting down a school.

Education is, in itself, a defence against radicalisation.

At it’s most elementary level, educating ‘at risk’ populations, the young in particular, affords an immediate and effective intervention against radicalisation, no matter which cause that ‘radicalisation’ happens to represent.

Beyond that elementary level of immediate intervention, education has long-term benefits against radicalisation, not only by dispelling the ‘myths’ and misinformation often communicated by extremists but by providing a tangible and sustainable future for young people.

Introducing or improving education programmes where no system currently exists provides an abundance of benefits,  from giving populations the opportunity to remove themselves from poverty by boosting economic growth, to improved health, to improving gender equality, to encouraging tolerances, removing division and fostering peace.

In 2014, TTW founder Justin Miles was fortunate to meet Sakena Yacoobi, a remarkable woman who worked tirelessly and relentlessly, often ignoring her own safety, to change the face education for boys and for girls in Afghanistan.

In this inspiring and moving TED Talk, Dr. Yacoobi tells her enthralling story of how she ‘stopped the Taliban from shutting down her school’ and made education happen.

‘Doing The Danube’: Bringing the world to life in classrooms.

This summer explorer and adventurer Justin Miles will be kayaking the length of Europe’s second longest river, the Danube.

Throughout the c.3,000 kilometre journey Justin will be creating content and resources for schools to use and re-use; lesson prompts, ideas, conversation and discussion topics, images, video and written text. He will also be using a plethora of technology platforms to bring the world to life in classrooms, such as carrying a tracker with an online map showing his location, social media interaction, and interaction platforms such as ‘Skype in the Classroom’ from Microsoft (which forms part of their ‘Microsoft Educators Community’)

After his epic journey Justin will be available to speak with schools around the world using some of these same platforms, giving children the opportunity to ask the questions that they want to ask whilst giving teachers the opportunity to use his sessions and experiences as a tool to introduce new subject areas or to consolidate prior learning.

Dependant on conditions, time and other resources, the subject areas that may be explored could be

  • Using his own equipment to provide examples, Justin could explore ‘forces and materials’.
  • Hydroelectric dams currently placed on the River Danube produce vast amounts of electricity and, as the appetite for sustainable energy increases, so the number of hydroelectric installations along the river will grow. Justin will explore when possible actual production facilities on the Danube capturing content such images, video and written text.
  • With ‘sustainability’ high on the agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals, Justin will also explore the sustainability of his own adventure, investigating areas such power provision from solar chargers and heat exchangers, water consumption and ‘carbon footprint’.
  • The River Danube is the centre-point of a vast drainage basin covering more than 801 thousand square kilometres and drawing water from 19 countries. As he paddles, Justin will talk about water, where it comes from, the water cycle and pollution.
  • Passing through the countries, the river Danube offers a tremendous opportunity to discuss subjects such as geographical borders, cultures and customs, languages, communication, and how the River Danube has played a primary role in the history of the region, from defining countries to creating trade opportunities.
  • Food and nutrition play an important role in Justin’s training and for the actual adventure, so Justin will be looking at how he eats, what he eats and how correct nutrition makes to the body function and perform.

Throughout the journey Justin will also be examining and discussing barriers to education, including how education works for waterborne populations, displacement due to flooding and other natural disasters and displacement and disruption due to conflict.

The ‘Doing the Danube’ adventure is more than just another adventure, it’s an opportunity for teachers and pupils to see what they want to see and ask the questions that they want to ask, so if you’re a teacher please use the contact form and tell us what would help you to bring the world to life in your classroom.

To make this project a success, Justin as asking for support through a crowdfunding page and he would really appreciate your support. You can find the page here.

 

Stone Hill Middle School; Making Education Happen!

Every month TTW founder Justin Miles directly engages with up to 4,500 children from all around the world using various technology platforms. Towards the end of 2016, through Microsoft’s ‘Skype in the Classoom’ platform Justin connected with Stone Hill Middle School in the US and the class of Dr. Faith Ibarra.

During the session, Justin and the pupils in the class discussed some of the many barriers to education, including the vast distances that some of the children that Justin has met through his adventures have to travel to get to school. Some children have to walk to school covering distances of up to nine or ten miles, or more, each way, every day.

After the session the students in the class were motivated and galvanised in to taking action to help make education happen for children everywhere, so they decided to send some of their teachers over to the UK to take part in the first ever ‘Snowdonia Three Day Challenge’, raising funds to help children to receive an education.

The class then embarked on an innovative programme of activities to not only understand some of the barriers to education, but to raise awareness of the global education crisis in their own communities and to support their teachers with their ‘Snowdonia’ quest!

One of Dr Ibarras pupils, Jennifer Abraham writes

When Dr’ Ibarra introduced us to the idea of taking travelling to the UK to take on the ‘Snowdonia Challenge’ to support education provision I was really excited and nervous about how it would all turn out. Although I knew that I would play a part in helping Dr. Ibarra with the event, I didn’t know that I would develop a passion for the issues surrounding education provision.

When our class took part in a ‘Skype in the Classroom’ session with Mr. Justin Miles (Just) I became interested in the specific conditions and challenges that children go through just to go to school. As I researched more about limited access to education around the world I realized one really important thing; my school-mates and I are the lucky ones. We receive free, quality public education where we can put our energy in to learning and not having to worry about crucial things such as where out next meal will come from or how we are going to get home. However, the thing that struck me the most is that we, the lucky ones, are complaining! We complain about the school food being bad, or that the bus stinks. We wish on every single star in the universe for a ‘snow day’ so that school is cancelled. We do not realize how fortunate we are.

To help my schools to realize how lucky they are to receive the education that we do, I want to help Dr. Ibarra with the Snowdonia 2K17 project.

Jennifer, her classmates, Dr Ibarra and her colleagues have genuinely grasped the knowledge that not every child has the opportunity to go to school and taken ownership of the role that they can play in making universal education possible, now and in the future. This is exactly what the ‘Teach The World’ initiative was designed for; to educate young people and to raise awareness in younger populations that not every child has the opportunity to go to school, to engage them in the problem, and then to motivate and empower them to take steps to make education happen for every child, everywhere. As these young people grow older they will become the business people, the educators and the political leaders who can, and will, turn the dream of universal education provision in to reality.

All of the funds raised by Stone Hill Middle School will be paid directly to UK charity ‘Education For Everyone’ and then distributed to individual education projects around the globe, working with the people on the ground to make every penny go a long way.

For more information on the global education crisis and what is being done to make sure that every child, everywhere has access to quality education please search under ‘Sustainable Development Goal 4’ or ‘SDG4’, one of the seventeen Global Gloals.

 

 

 

 

‘Doing the Danube’

This summer, 2017, explorer and adventurer Justin Miles will be kayaking the entire navigable length of Europe’s second longest river, the River Danube.

The mighty River Danube covers some three thousand kilometres, passing through ten countries and three capital cities. Mile upon mile of ever-changing scenery.

Justin’s kayaking adventure on the River Danube this summer will be used to connect with schools around the globe quite literally ‘bringing the world in to classrooms’, to raise awareness of the global education crisis by discussing and exploring various barriers to education throughout the journey and to raise money for UK-based charity ‘Education For Everyone’ which will then distribute funds to support carefully selected education projects around the world.

With approximately one month spent on the river, Justin will have plenty of time to create resources and discussion topics for schools, teachers and children of all ages to use and, when technology permits, Justin will connect and engage with classrooms whilst he’s actually on the adventure.

Throughout this adventure, we will be exploring and investigating some of the many barriers to education which resonate and overlap with created resources.

To stage the River Danube adventure and make it as engaging and interactive as possible, Justin is seeking help and support through a crowdfunding page which you can view by clicking this link. You, your school or your company can get involved in a number of ways, from sponsoring a day of rations, to becoming the main ‘headline’ sponsor, or simply by making a small donation.

More news to follow, but in the mean time you can follow @ExplorerJust on Twitter or find ExplorerJust on Instagram

You can find out a little more about the River Danube here

‘Inspire A Child 2017’

‘Teach The World’ was contacted recently by the organisers of ‘Inspire A Child’, a project of ‘FliplearnKids‘ in Lagos, Nigeria to ask if we could help to inspire the young people that they work with in Nigeria.

The idea behind ‘Inspire A Child’ is as the name suggests – to inspire children to have the self confidence and self belief to become successful in their own lives – however they measure that success.

FliplearnKids writes:

Every second, a new child is born into the world. Some of those children will never see their dreams and aspirations become a reality, but the saddest are those who do not have dreams or can’t afford to because of the various challenges they face in life.

At times, just that little chance encounter with a person who believes in them, that single gesture, telling them “yes they can” or pointing them in the right direction is all it takes to change the course of a child’s life.

Inspire A Child is an annual global initiative established by FliplearnKids, Nigeria, which brings together individuals, entrepreneurs, educators, and professionals from around the globe who have shown resilience in pursuing their own dreams, to communicate with children in Nigerian public schools. Those few minutes invested in speaking with the children participating ‘IAC’ could create a spark that ignites a vision of future possibilities, giving them dreams and aspirations and changing their lives forever.

‘Inspire A Child 2016’ went live in a mix of twenty primary and secondary schools directly involving in the region of 200 kids children in Lagos, Nigeria.

‘IAC16’, our inaugural event, was supported well with some tremendous speakers and presenters including:  Anthony Salicito (Vice President, Microsoft in Education-U.S.A), Prof. Pat Utomi (Founder, Centre for Value and Leadership, Nigeria), Ernestina Appiah (Founder, Ghana Code Club, Ghana), Melissa Loble (Vice President, Instructure- U.S.A), Jim Adams (N.A.S.A), Glenn Osianoh (Research Scientist at the German Centre for International Collaboration) and Benjamin Lannen (Educator, Australia).

‘Inspire A Child 2016’ gave children in Lagos the opportunity to explore the world beyond their classrooms and communities by speaking with some of the world’s most inspirational and passionate guest speakers and presenters, discussing a range of subjects.

Teachers involved in the programme were inspired too with many of the guests endorsing the important role that education plays in changing lives and shaping communities.

You can watch a very brief film from ‘IAC 2016’ on YouTube here

Following on from the success of the 2016 event, we are launching ‘Inspire A Child 2017’ with a theme of ‘Against All Odds’

Our plan for 2017 is to reach out to a minimum of 500 children in public schools in Nigeria. All of the children that we reach out to through ‘IAC17’ will be from low income families and most of those children, without intervention, won’t pursue their education to university level.

We have carefully selected our partners and guest speakers for the 2017, choosing to work with those companies and individuals who we believe will have the greatest positive impact on the audience based on our theme of ‘Against All Odds’. For example, we have partnered with CNN Heroes award winner, Becca Stevens; author, explorer and advocate for universal education provision Justin Miles (Teach The World) and other select entrepreneurs, professionals and educators who have become successful in their own right – against all odds.

As part of the growth of our movement, ‘Inspire a Child 2017’ will include schools in five locations around Nigeria; Lagos, Abeokuta, Ogun, Kaduna and Kano.

At the culmination of the ‘IAC17’ event students will be enrolled in our ‘Digital Academy’ where they will trained to use the very latest technology so that they can continue to get the most out of their education.

Our aim at ‘FlipLearnKids’ is to touch the lives of as many children and young people as we can, to give them vision beyond their current circumstances and to help them to create a better future for themselves.

To find out more about ‘IAC17’ and how you or your school or company could get involved in helping our children to create a brighter future for themselves, or to find out about ‘IAC18’ please contact ella@fliplearnkids.com

Creating A Barrier To Education?

Is one of the worlds superpowers actually withdrawing children from school and creating a barrier to education?

When ‘Teach The World’ advertised for guest writers for our blog, Lisa Moberg, a teacher from Arizona in the USA took the opportunity to share her personal experiences of when education provision goes wrong.

This story opens a very emotive subject, particularly so following Donald Trump’s “build a wall” election campaign: Mexicans living illegally in the United States and taking advantage of the free quality education system available.

When these ‘illegal immigrants’, some of them second and third generation, are identified and evicted from the US back to their native Mexico, what provision is there for the younger generations, the children, to continue their education? In Lisa’s experience there is no structured continuation plan which means that providing ongoing education becomes challenging at best and, in many cases, grinds to a halt entirely, adding to the number of children globally who are denied access to education.

Lisa Moberg writes:

“When I began teaching at a Title 1 school in Arizona in 2004, it was an eye-opening new chapter of my life.  For 30 years, I grew up and lived in southwest Washington state, where the average population included white, middle-class American citizens.  After moving down to southwestern United States, my new surroundings inspired a new awareness of race and cultures within my existing schema.  

I was excited to learn about the Hispanic citizens of my school and town through social interactions, cultural celebrations, and delicious cuisine.  It was enlightening to meet with the parents of my Hispanic students and learn about how they persevered through poverty and hardships to make it to America.  They all have one goal in mind: provide a better education and future for their children.

A couple years later the utopic ideals of the Hispanic parents of my students were shattered.  Sheriff Joe Arpaio began his legendary “crackdown” on illegal immigrants in 2005, and has boasted of arresting at least 30,000 immigrants.  Several of my Hispanic students started fearfully coming to school, cloaked in an invisible shroud of anxiety, wondering if their parents would be next.  The children started living with their grandparents, not knowing exactly where their migrant farm-working parents ran off to.  

One of those students is Millie.  She was a very kind, sensitive little girl with a big heart.  Millie was struggling with her reading skills, and I wanted to meet with her guardians to discuss how to help her further.  Millie’s parents had left when the illegal immigration crackdown began, and she lived with her grandmother who only spoke Spanish.  They didn’t have a computer or phone to communicate with, so I had a translator write a note in Spanish, inviting the grandmother to a predetermined conference at school.  As the hours ticked by past the appointed conference time, I realized the family was a no-show.  It wasn’t surprising, but I felt a sense of urgency as Millie was suffering academically.  The next day, I sent another note, stating that if they don’t come to a conference, I would stop by the house for a visit.  It wasn’t meant as a threat, but was perceived as one.  The grandmother came immediately after receiving the note, and we had a great conference, although I was concerned about the visible physcial pain she was in.  When I asked her about it, she replied that she had been involved in a farm equipment accident, but she could not go to the hospital to receive help.  Reading between the lines, I knew she was an illegal immigrant.  It was heartbreaking to see the pain she was in, but this devoted woman was staying in the United States to keep Millie in a school that could help her with her educational needs.  Later, I asked Millie why the grandmother came so quickly after she received the second note.  “Abuela doesn’t want you to know where we live,” she replied, “you might tell the police.”  Curious about what that meant, I followed her school bus a few days later, and watched Millie go to her house.  They lived in an abandoned shack, with no windows or electricity.  It was a bittersweet reminder of how some parents/guardians will do anything for their children to receive an education.

In the same year, I had another student whose father received a letter from the Federal Government, informing him that he needed to go back to Mexico as he was an illegal immigrant.  The family came to me in tears, begging me to help him stay in America.  But when I conferred with my school district about this request, I was legally bound to state how his interaction in my classroom directly impacted the student’s education.  Well, as he was a migrant worker and worked long hours, the father never came into my classroom.  Therefore, I couldn’t provide any legal assistance.  Subsequently the father moved down to Mexico, and the mother and children followed him after the school year was over.  They were heartbroken to leave a stable, quality education in the United States, the only one the children knew, to go back to something they worked hard to get away from.

Although the education system in the United States has its flaws, it has a great many incentives.  It’s free, offered through various amounts of programs and school settings, and can be accessed from preschool to college.  This is not the case for the Mexican children, and what is even more frustrating, the American children who were ripped away to go back to Mexico have an even more uphill battle to overcome.  

During the Immigration Crackdown, more than 205,000 parents of American citizen children have been deported back to Mexico.  That means there a lot more English-speaking children now living and learning in Mexico.  There are several issues with this new problem of deportation.  First, the majority of American children do not speak Spanish fluently, and the Mexican schools do not provide bilingual programs or English-speaking classes.  So now the children have a whole new language barrier to overcome.  Some parents are trying to overcome the achievement gap by enrolling the children in online classes.  But the average Mexican income does not meet the high cost of online education, and this is another hurdle to jump.  According to data from the “Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),” almost 19 percent of Mexican youths between the ages of 15 and 19 were not enrolled in an educational program or working in 2010.  These students are losing the most important element of their educational background to close the achievement gap and overcome poverty.

Even though I teach and live in America, I can see and hear the children without access to education.  They are living right across the border from me, and they used to be my students!  We need to rescue the trapped American children and provide them with a quality education in their parents’ home land.” 

We would appreciate hearing your thoughts and discussions on this post, so please join us on Twitter to continue the conversation. @ExplorerJust @ifofficialuk @L2Gura

  • Is the United States contributing to the number of out of school children?
  • Should the US government have any level of responsibility for the continued education of illegal immigrants?
  • Should any country have any level of responsibility for the future education of deported illegal immigrants?
  • Should the US and Mexican governments collaborate to create and execute a strategy for educating these excluded children?
  • Does your own experience confirm or contradict Lisa’s experience?
  • This piece also begs the question where else this, or similar, is happening?

We really want to hear from educators, politicians, NGO’s and anyone with experience of making education happen. Please take a look at this page and get in touch to share your story.

Please note that as a project TTW does not have any political bias and we, the team, try to reflect that impartiality throughout the programme.