Commonwealth in the Classroom

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Here in the UK, where the Commonwealth Education Trust is based, many students and teachers are getting back to school. With every September, the new school year starts – and with it, a wealth of opportunities to grow, discover, and expand our horizons.

This year, we invite all of our teachers and educators, whether or not they are heading back to school this week, to consider including the Commonwealth in their curriculum.

There are lots of great ways to get Commonwealth studies into the classroom in a creative and engaging way. Below, we list just a few of our favourite opportunities:

 1.  A River of Stories

A River of Stories is our four-set anthology of beautifully illustrated stories sharing the magic of the Commonwealth through the four elements; water, earth, air and fire. Each book encourages students to reflect on the importance of both the natural world and of working together across their communities, the Commonwealth and beyond to achieve environmental and social sustainability. Find out more about A River of Stories and access educational resources for the books at www.cet1886.org/childrens-literature/.

2.  Commonwealth Day

The second Monday of March every year marks Commonwealth Day, when the 53 nations come together to celebrate our collective network. This is an excellent opportunity to speak to your students about the Commonwealth, be that in a lesson, assembly, or even a party! There are also lots of events and activities across countries, often organised by local groups or High Commissions, that you and your class can attend. Find out more about Commonwealth Day at www.thecommonwealth.org/commonwealthday.

3.  Commonwealth for Kids

The Commonwealth Secretariat has produced an excellent guide to the Commonwealth for young people, including a quiz, trivia, and illustrations, which provides an easy and engaging way of teaching the network. Commonwealth for Kids celebrates the diversity, equality and friendship which marks the unique relationship between the 53 nations. Find out more at www.thecommonwealth.org/kids/.

4.  Commonwealth Class

Begun in 2013, Connecting Classrooms (of which Commonwealth Class is a part) is a global education programme run by the British Council. With classroom resources, short stories, webinars and more at your fingertips, the Commonwealth Class website is a great resource to bring the Commonwealth to life in the classroom. Read more at https://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/about-programmes/commonwealth-class.

5.  The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest schools international writing competition. Every year it celebrates a theme, asking young people to consider the strengths and values of the Commonwealth. Thousands of young writers take part in the competition annually, entering for an opportunity to win a life-changing trip to London. Find out how you can get your class involved in the competition at www.thercs.org/youth/essaycompetition.

Do you have other projects, resources, or opportunities that you think Commonwealth teachers should know about? Tweet us @CETtweets or connect with us on Facebook at Commonwealth Education Trust.

If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow