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Leena Rao is Vice Principal at CHIREC International School, Hyderabad, India, which was nominated in 2016 to be part of a pilot project programme for Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary Global Perspectives.
Following a successful pilot, the school introduced Cambridge Global Perspectives as a subject at primary level in 2018. Leena explains more below.
'The Cambridge Global Perspectives curriculum has added tremendous value to the primary programme. The 'challenges' that make up the curriculum have provided opportunities for teachers to incorporate new strategies and active learning techniques, take up the role of facilitators and customise the tasks according to the needs and interests of the learners.
The students look forward to the sessions because they get an opportunity to do something different from learning through textbooks and standardised tests. They are introduced to globally relevant topics, and they can learn through class discussions, project-based learning and presentations, and share their findings. The inter-disciplinary opportunities that the curriculum provides have also worked very well for teachers and students.
The benefit of the Challenges across all stages is that they draw students’ attention to global issues and help them think about how they can make a difference.
To give a few examples, as a part of the Challenge 'Looking after Planet Earth' that focused on collaboration, students planted saplings and bird feeders around the campus and local area to create a better environment for wildlife.
For the 'My chocolate bar' Challenge, Grade 4 students gave presentations in school about fair trade and urged students and their parents to promote products that carried the fair trade logo. For the research part of the project, students were encouraged to find out about where cocoa beans are grown and how much the farmers are paid. They then presented their findings in suitable graphs and charts.
We have collaborated with two schools which has been a unique experience for our students. Grade 3 students worked with Binus School, Serpong, Indonesia for the Challenge ‘How do homes provide us with shelter?’ and for a ‘Family Matters’ Challenge, grade 2 students spoke to their counterparts at Jan van Rijckenborgh school in Hilversum, Holland, about how they spend time with their families after school.
By working with students across the world, taking part in projects and presentations, students develop a broader outlook. They’re able to express themselves and get to understand other people’s perspectives. It’s about enhancing the skills of communication, research, analysis, evaluation and collaboration.
The emphasis is on developing the ability to think critically about a range of global issues where there is always more than one point of view. Global Perspectives also helps in building the Cambridge learner attributes among the students – of being confident, responsible, innovative, engaged and reflective.
Pupils are able to express their opinions on the global issues that really matter to them and their community. They have developed an understanding on how the challenges can be linked with the other subjects in the primary programme, including English, maths and science.
I would highly recommend introducing Cambridge Global Perspectives to schools at primary level. The syllabus provides students the skills they require for the 21st Century and helps them develop to become global citizens of the future.
CHIREC International school in Hyderabad, India, was established in 1989 and offers Cambridge programmes from pre-primary to Grade 10. Its mission is to instil values to develop thoughtful individuals and to provide students with skills to meet ever-changing global challenges, to be confident, to take independent decisions, to have access to the most innovative technology and learning tools. The school has 3800 students aged 4- 16.
Vice Principal Leena Rao attended the pilot training program for Cambridge Global Perspectives in April 2016 and was instrumental in introducing the curriculum in primary and lower secondary classes. She is passionate about mentoring students to become confident and empathetic individuals.