Learning | 1 November 2022

Why was ‘Baby elephants in need” your top issue? The story behind the Issue

Why was ‘Baby elephants in need” your top issue? [Students] “More and more elephants are getting killed every day for their tusks.” “Elephants are not being treated fairly and should get a second chance.” “ Because baby elephants all deserved to be cared for and looked after.”

First, we modelled different viewpoints on controversial issues.  For example, the ivory trade provided a perfect context to explore the experiences of life as an elephant poacher – where the hunters get hunted.  In Kenya, Wildlife officers shoot to kill when hunting ivory poachers.  We provided evidence about both the legal and illegal ivory trade, highlighting the complexities around convincing locals that elephants need protecting.  Wildlife crime is deadly serious, however, in Africa, local people need to be able to stay safe, make a living and feed their families.  We posed the question to our students ‘who cares?’  We also provided them with an opportunity to sponsor a baby elephant, orphaned due to the ivory trade.  This illustrated that we are able to take action and make a difference, but only if we are aware of such issues and how we feel about them.  Through student-centred pedagogy, regular exploration and discussion, young people can develop, refine, define or adjust their opinion.   The idea took off.

Term two had a focus on innovation.  This fitted in with a local competition ‘The young innovators award’, which many of our students were entering.  Given that ‘issues’ can start to take on a negative spin, we selected uplifting and hopeful contexts.  We brought Science and technology to life by highlighting amazing inventions.  For example, to combat environmental concerns, a Japanese company can convert plastic to oil.

Issue of the Week 43 / 2022

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