The activities in this UNESCO Teachers handbook (77 pages, PDF) are rooted in Global Citizenship Education, an approach which can help foster young people’s trust in public institutions, transforming them into agents of change instead of allowing feelings of disenfranchisement and victimhood to fester. UNESCO works with UNODC to promote the rule of law, democracy and human rights through education.
The lessons in the handbook are interactive: democracy is demonstrated, as students participate in mock elections or take on the roles of judges – jurors – local mayors and refugees. Games and story-telling help bring social issues to life, prompting students to take a moral stand.
Diminishing Islands is one included game the young children loved to play. It teaches them about common causes for conflict, and about the need to work together without resorting to violence. Children occupy ‘islands’ of newspaper on the classroom floor, but as the game develops their ‘islands’ disappear, and they find themselves crowded onto just a few islands, until at the end, most are ‘out’. Afterwards, the teacher leads the class in reflection on how the game made them feel, and on how it relates to real life challenges – war, migration, poverty, inequality. One primary aged child who played this game learnt a valuable lesson about working together: ‘We have to do our best to help one another to survive because I don’t want to be alone on an island’.