13 May 2007

motivating high school kids with the crisis in darfur...

as senior high school youth prepare for graduation it seems a good time to ask the question, "what does it take to get high school kids motivated to participate in political actions, say, in the way they were in the late 50's (african-american youth motivated by the reverend martin luther king, jr. and his collegial peers) and middle class white youth of the 60's and early 70's motivated by opposition to the vietnam war and bobby kennedy?"...

perhaps it's the high school teacher, the one who is him or herself motivated and sees their role as one of more than training kids to take tests but to be tested by the burning moral an ethical issues of the day...

one of those is my local amnesty international colleague lynne robinson who teaches ell at mcgavock high school in nashville...lynne uses human rights curriculum as a part of her ell classes...

and so it is that adrian bahan has motivated youth at mcgavock high school to learn about and act on those lessons...this is just a reminder that each of us can always do a little bit more, be a little creative when it comes to motivating youth to act...as "elders" it's our job and responsibility to find ways to connect and reach out and set examples in ways that will catch their attention...

here's a brief exchange between adrian and myself as part of that reminder...now go and do something yourself, in your home, in your neighborhood, and in your schools...

peace out <3

Hey Randy,

thank you so much for letting me use the pics. They are going to add a new dimension to our campus wide awareness drive. I have developed a lesson plan to get students aware and involved of the situation and would be more than happy to share it with you if you are in contact with any other educators. I think that having the students go around collecting petitions along with a letter writing campaign would be an excellent extension of the unit plan. One group of students are really into soccer and they want to see if there is a way to get money for athletic shoes and soccer balls to NGO's to distribute to the kids in IDP camps. I thought that was a fantastic idea. What if we had a campus wide shoe and soccer ball drive? Is it feasible to send deflated balls and shoes halfway around the world? I know from research that what the aid agencies really want is money, but it might be easier to offer students a choice on what they can donate. Anyway, I'm just glad that my students are displaying some empathy and realizing that through a collective effort, they can affect change.

Adrian Bahan
885-____ex. ___

From: aiusa_tn_dude
Sent: Thu 5/3/2007 2:05
To: Bahan, Charles A (MNPS)
Cc: Lynne Robinson;
Subject: Re: Darfur materials

Dear Adrian,

I received your contact information from your colleague Lynne Robinson. She shared that your class had been studying the situation in Darfur and that you were looking for an action or something interactive for your students to work with on Darfur.

I sent with Lynne a photo exhibit <http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/sudan/photo_exhibit.pdf> that can be installed easily on the classroom walls, some action postcards on Darfur, as well as a petition <http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/sudan/sudan_petition.pdf> . The more students might take the latter outside the classroom to spread this action would be really nice. You will find endless on-line actions and background materials on Darfur at this Amnesty International web page <http://www.amnestyusa.org/Our_Issues/Darfur/page.do?id=1041028&n1=3&n2=52> .

Our local Amnesty International chapter has a blogsite <http://www.aiusa149.blogspot.com/> as well as a myspace page <http://www.myspace.com/aiusa149> . There have been a few postings re: Darfur on the former...

Maybe we could chat...I have some curriculum tools that may be of interest to you in the longer term related to human rights education generally. I hope that these tools are useful.

Randy Tatel
Amnesty International
Local Chapter Coordinator
1306 McAlpine Avenue Nashville, TN 37216
tel: 615-650-2938
mobile: 615-473-2950

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