Global learning in practice: St Louise's Comprehensive College
Location: 468 Falls Rd, Belfast, BT12 6EN
Global Learning Lead Teacher: Brenda Kelly
Join date: May 2015
Date of case study interview: September 2016
Key themes: International partnerships, participation in the World's Largest Lesson,
Nurturing a large student population of over 1,500, St Louise’s Comprehensive College is located on the Falls Road in West Belfast. It was one of the first post-primary schools to join the Global Learning Programme (GLP) in Northern Ireland and has made a great success of its participation. St Louise’s became involved in GLP through the desire of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to provide an international and global dimension to school life. The school had already engaged in many international projects and earned the full International School Award from the British Council. The GLP was seen as a way to extend these activities even further.
Drama Teacher and International Coordinator, Brenda Kelly, was chosen to lead the school on global learning. She trained with the GLP in May 2015 and came away with a broadened understanding of global issues. Since then, Brenda has worked closely with colleagues across a variety of subject areas to embed global learning throughout the school. Pupils have primarily engaged in global learning through Learning for Life and Work (LLW) lessons at KS3 and KS4, special assemblies, and pastoral lessons highlighting global issues.
Global learning has become a regular topic of discussion during staff meetings. Brenda also sends out emails containing global learning content and liaises with other teachers to centralise relevant resources. She has been delighted by the positive response from the management team at the school, as well as the wider staff body. They have also shown a willingness to change the schedules to ensure global learning can occur at a whole year group level. She has also received their support to organise special events in place of the usual timetabled classes.
The World's Largest Lesson
A recent triumph was St Louise’s participation in the World’s Largest Lesson 2016. Across a week in mid-September, educators around the world provided teaching to help young people understand the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs). GLP schools were encouraged to get involved in this initiative to take an active part in the Global Goals and show young people how they can drive change forward in our world.
Brenda coordinated St Louise’s contribution to the lesson. All of Year 8 was given a morning of teaching focused on Goal 4, Quality Education. First they attended an assembly at which a representative of the GLP spoke. Afterwards, they had a special two hour session with one of the school’s citizenship teachers. Beforehand, these teachers were sent a choice of resources to use by Brenda, who identified a range of possible lessons and directed them to the Global Goals website. A lot chose to focus on Malala Yousafzai and her campaign to secure the right of girls’ to attend school.
In some classes, there were opportunities to take part in a role play or debate key issues. One class developed a dance routine to accompany a major speech given by Malala. St Louise’s regularly explores citizenship through dance, which is a timetabled subject. Another class competed in a multi-lingual treasure hunt, in which they had to translate various signs as if they were an immigrant newly arrived in a country.
The morning was a huge success, with pupils clearly engaging with the subject matter despite most having little to no prior knowledge of the Global Goals. Indeed, the response of all the school’s students to the GLP has been very positive so far. Brenda has noted an increased awareness of global learning, with pupils showing a greater interest in world affairs.
Next, the school is planning to get involved in the Global Partners Junior programme run by NYC Global Partners. Through an online platform, this programme connects youths in New York with peers in classrooms across the word. The programme aims to empower young people to see themselves as global citizens and should be another great global learning opportunity for pupils and staff at St Louise’s!
“The GLP is a fantastic and innovative approach to developing and embedding global learning across the curriculum.”
- Global Learning Lead Teacher Brenda Kelly