Encouraging Social Action

Free rice.jpg Issues like world hunger and the world’s energy crisis can simply appear too big to tackle for most individuals, but there are ways we can demonstrate that the collective action of individuals can make a difference.

My family and I participated in the very successful Earth Hour in Christchurch on Saturday evening – despite meaning that I missed watching the Blues vs Bulls game live on TV 🙂 We spent an enjoyable hour as a family playing Scrabble by the light of two candles. It was my kids who were particularly keen for us to do this, having been exposed to advertising about the event at school and in the media, so while we played Scrabble, we also discussed in detail the significance of the Earth Hour event. I’m a fan of Social Action outcomes in terms of what we do in education – even if they take the form of demonstrators or symbolic events such as Earth Hour – hey, 12.8% saving in the city’s electricity use for one hour has to provide some indication of what can be achieved on a longer term basis.

Back to the Scrabble game and the focus on vocabulary and word meaning – made me interested when I came across an online vocabulary building activity called Free Rice. The site has two goals; 1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free, and 2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free. For each word you get right the site sponsors will donate 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger.

This is a great activity site – with 55 levels and the ability to select the level you start at and remember this for another occasion. You even have the ability to listen to the word before selecting its meaning from a list of four options. And of course, using the site provides a great opportunity to highlight the issues of world hunger and what can be done about it.

2 thoughts on “Encouraging Social Action

  1. A quick comment here. Way to go Chch 12.8 % beating the predicted 5. I am a Big believer in social action and entrenching it in our schools, workplaces etc. The reality is we need social action, we need action, we need operacy(de bono). Social action sits well with enquiry also. I would like to see trusts,councils,govt etc help support and collaborate with students ideas and initiatives for social action ie empowering them to understand social action is valid and achievable.

  2. Hi Dave

    I agree with you about social action being so important in our schools. I am working with teachers in Canterbury and the West Coast to bring in more authentic contects for their learning. A recent project at Avonside Girls’ High School, challenged the entire year 10 group to come up with their own social action regarding reducing plastic wrap in their school. The results are stunning: increased engagement, leadership, higher achievement, more positive student/staff relationships to name a few. Not to mention some really good ideas!

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