We’re back with Mareike Hachemer for part II of our interview. Mareike was a Top 50 Finalist for the prestigious Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize and received the opportunity to meet other inspiring teachers around the world. She gave a thought-provoking Tedx talk in Heidelberg on how teachers are instrumental in changing the world. Let’s hear what she has to say.
4. Many teachers have curriculums that are overloaded with standardized testing and established milestones. What advice would you give to teachers who would like to incorporate these Global Goals, but must focus on achieving certain testing rates for funding?
My teaching friends from countries that have heavy standardized testing tell me that their students are performing even better now because they are learning with their hearts and souls. In Germany we have a lot of exams too, but I get to design most of them myself. I look at the curriculum requirements and try to find all the flexibility that I can find. Then, I look at the Global Goals to see how they can be linked and come up with a few ideas. I ask my students what they would like to do. I’ll let them know what needs to be involved to fulfil the requirements and then we create a unit or a personal project around that.
As an example, we have just recently studied Apartheid and Civil Rights Movement. We learned about Martin Luther King, Desmond Tuto and Steven Biko. That was the focus of our curriculum. Our initial question was, “How can we create social change?” We used these examples to explore the question and covered all exam-relevant topics. We used all of our research to outline and write articles about successful protests that we then exchanged with American students. Some of these students actually told us that what they learned through our articles had an impact on whether or not (and how) they would protest when their world is affected by political change. My students also realized that they also have an important role with regards to political events.
Even though it is possible to connect Global-Goal-Learning with standardized tests, this type of learning should also be understood as another argument for a less standardized approach to teaching, learning and assessment. If our learning is connected to the goal to change the world, it becomes obvious that we need everyone to contribute the best they can as an individual and not in a standardized way. We can achieve so much more when we understand that our diversity is our strength.
5. Near to the closing of your Tedx talk, you mentioned that you added Culture & Art to the Global Goals. Why is it important? And how can teachers integrate these subjects into their goal-driven curriculum?
Culture and Art are what makes humans particularly human, emotional, expressive. It connects our rational to our irrational and makes us complete. We learn how to convince others, how to entertain, how to design and how to fascinate. We learn that we are creators.
I’m not advocating for a curriculum that is all focus, all duty and all determination. We need the space and the freedom to experiment with these topics, to discover them and other subjects creatively. And we need to learn about our own happiness. Doing good can be very rewarding, but is also sometimes frustrating and hard. You never achieve as much as you’d like to. So, emotional development, empathy, and expression are just as important. Culture & Art are fantastic ways to develop empathy and connect on emotional levels.
Have you had a chance to watch Mareike’s Tedx talk? Be sure to take a look here:
Don’t miss part I of our interview with Mareike Hachemer.
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