How To Cultivate A Socially Conscious Classroom

Meet the Spanish teacher in Minnesota using GlobalGiving to teach her students that everyone, no matter their age, can make a difference.

Megan Budke

Spanish Teacher at Wayzata Public Schools

Who She Is:

Megan teaches Spanish to students in grades 6-8 in Minnesota. She is passionate about teaching interculturality and incorporating more socially conscious curriculum. She has worked as a former world language curriculum facilitator for her district, currently serves as the Vice President of the Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures, and collaborates with the Minnesota Department of Education to provide annual professional development to world language teachers. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Spanish, Spanish Education, and International Studies, and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She loves to read, hike, and garden.

Q: Explain the charitable project you assigned to your students in your Spanish class.

A: To conclude our learning about schools around the world, students investigated four pre-selected GlobalGiving projects. Each student then created a digital campaign in Spanish for one GlobalGiving project of their choice. On the last day of school, students used their digital products to “speed-campaign” and convince as many classmates as possible to support their chosen GlobalGiving project. Students voted for their choices using paper money, counted final totals, and graphed the class results on the board. The winning GlobalGiving project received a financial donation from students and teachers!

Q: Why was GlobalGiving a good fit for your project?

A: GlobalGiving provides students insights about what schools look like and need around the world. My students brainstormed what all students need to go to school, and they used the site to verify if their predicted items were needed or not. GlobalGiving projects feature specific items that can be purchased through different donation amounts—$10 buys school supplies for two students or $30 buys two chairs. This clarified the schools’ needs and made fundraising attainable in student-friendly terms. The summaries, images, and updates about each GlobalGiving project were also features that students could easily incorporate into their digital campaigns.

Q: Why do you think incorporating socially conscious curriculum is so important?

A: Showing students perspectives that are different from their own is so important. Exposing students to multiple viewpoints creates understanding and empathy. However, as teachers, we cannot just stop at investigating perspectives and practices. We must also demonstrate to students that everyone can make a difference, no matter how small.

Incorporating socially conscious curriculum provides students the knowledge of how to make a difference and enables them to start making an impact in the world, right from the classroom.

Q: What were your students’ biggest takeaways from this project?

A: Students were motivated to make a difference! Even though I did not grade this work, students really connected with their chosen GlobalGiving project. They were passionate about the cause they each chose to support because it was a real global issue. They felt connected to a global audience because GlobalGiving connected them directly to a project. They were so excited when they learned that GlobalGiving was liking and retweeting their work on Twitter—they could not believe such a large organization noticed and valued their work in Minnesota! The students truly felt they were making an impact in the world.

Q: Nuestra Escuela, in Puerto Rico, was the winning project for this contest. What did you and your students find special about this project?

A: Nuestra Escuela in Puerto Rico suffered extensive flooding and damage due to Hurricane Maria. Natural disasters are devastating and recovery can be a long road. However, natural disasters can also bring out the best in humanity as communities come together in support of one another. My students remembered hearing about Hurricane Maria in the news and they were moved by the damage it caused the school. This led many of them to select this project for their digital campaign and persuade their classmates to support the rebuilding of this school.

Q: What advice would you give to other teachers who want to broaden their students’ horizons and introduce them to global issues?

A: Examine units you already teach and explore how the curriculum could be shifted to include socially conscious global issues. What social justice themes naturally fit into your curriculum? What activities could be altered to be more globally focused? Who, besides the teacher, can be an audience for your students’ work? How can your students make an impact in the world? Working with your current curriculum gives you a starting place. It allows you to cover all the material you must teach, but you can use it to expose students to global perspectives and empower them to make a difference.

Learn more about different projects around the world and begin cultivating your own socially conscious classroom.

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Featured Photo: Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada - Homework Help by Boys and Girls Club of Canada


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