While discussing the topic of climate change and biodiversity, Global Perspectives teacher Ljubica Krstić organised a small role-play. Prior to the game, the impact of humans on biodiversity had been mostly discussed from a global perspective. However, the game was designed to familiarise students with a local issue that had been in the newspapers for months.
Through a short PowerPoint presentation, the students were introduced to the construction of the Stubo-Rovni dam on the Jablanica river, built by the Public Enterprise Kolubara. The dam was to be opened and it was to flood the surrounding area, destroying precious ecosystems as well as some religious and cultural monuments, such as Gračanica Valjevska. One of the key opponents of the construction of the dam was cleric Dragan Davidović, so students split into two groups assuming positions of various personalities involved with the issue. One student was the representative of the Kolubara Enterprise, the other was a local farmer concerned about his crops, the third was a local waterfront house owner concerned about his view, the fourth was an environmentalist concerned about the ecosystem, the fifth was the cleric Dragan Davidović himself, etc.
The teacher was the mayor, so they all convened at the city hall to discuss what to do next. The students’ task was to identify with their personalities and to argue for or against the dam from those particular perspectives.
Students immersed themselves in the situation and identified with their personalities so strongly that by the end of the lesson it was necessary to intervene so that spirits would calm down. The judgement was reached. The dam was to stay.
In this lesson, the students had an opportunity to fully experience small-scale problems of everyday people in connection with the structural changes of an ecosystem.
Playing games and connecting knowledge from different areas
In their global perspectives lessons, our students realised how important communication is by practicing mime. Acronyms like brb, omg, lol etc. that are often used on the Internet were written on small pieces of paper that were then folded and mixed in a box. Volunteers mimed the acronyms to their peers and the student who would guess the word would select and mime the next word. This went on until the final acronym was named. After the game, the slightly more serious part of the lesson began and students explained how and when the acronyms are used in day to day communication as well as the pros and cons of using them.
Another practical, useful and above all fun activity was the simulation of a job interview. Global Perspectives teacher Tatjana Vilček acted as a job applicant while her students acted as the employers. Based on the answers she gave to the interview questions and her body language students discussed the kind of impression she left as an applicant. After that, students discussed the importance of body language and nonverbal communication.
Student reactions to such creative lessons were amazing. These exercises have shown that students acquire knowledge in a more efficient way when they engage in the subject matter through fun and interesting forms of interaction. Such activities also help develop the student’s interest for the subject. Practical examples are easily remembered and can therefore be recalled any time and incorporated into new units and new definitions.