Here’s a lesson-planning challenge for you: In recognition of the upcoming release of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, a group called Project Everyone is calling on teachers to create the “World’s Largest Lesson” as part of an effort to inform every person on Earth about the goals in just one week.
The Sustainable Development Goals, the specifics of which will be announced in September, are an update of the Millennial Development Goals created in 2000. Like their precursors, the SDGs focus on solving global issues—specifically those connected to extreme poverty and climate change. The 17 goals are grouped within seven themes ranging from the practical (“fresh water and sanitation for all”) to the vague and lofty-sounding (“global consciousness”).
Project Everyone, led by filmmaker Richard Curtis, was created with the sole purpose of spreading awareness of the SDGs to all seven billion of the world’s inhabitants. As part of this goal, they’ve announced the World’s Largest Lesson program in partnership with UNICEF, education site TES Global, and Brussels-based teacher’s union association Education International.
The program is asking teachers to submit lesson plans by April 17 based on any one of the SGDs or on the goals as a group. A voter-selected winning lesson plan from each of ten regions will be expanded upon and added to a “gold standard set of resources” about the goals. One overall winning teacher will also take part in a filmed “celebrity lesson experience,” along with his or her school.
The project’s website emphasizes that, in developing the lesson ideas, teachers should imagine they have free rein to experiment with their lessons, explaining that the winning teachers will have access to whatever resources they might need: “This is a chance to ignore resource constraints and be truly creative. ... Just tell us what you would like and if your lesson wins we will do everything possible to perfect it by working with you to add exactly what you need.” (We bet you don’t hear that very often.)
Though Project Everyone has a general outline on their website about their plans for spreading the message to the world, there aren’t many details yet. Neither the site nor the group’s press release specifies just how the World’s Largest Lesson will be distributed to all 1.9 billion schoolchildren under age 14, especially given that they plan to do so over the course of just seven days following the UN’s announcement in September.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.