8 Apr '13

News How to teach … political campaigning

The Guardian Teacher Network this week has resources to help teach pupils how they can make their voices heard through political campaigning

Young people are often angry about injustice they see in the world and want to take action to right wrongs. The Guardian Teacher Network has teaching resources to help students of all ages learn how they can get their point of view heard locally, nationally and even globally, and hopefully make an impact.

Start off with some really useful resources from Send My Friend to School, which is part of the Global Campaign for Education. The campaign theme this year is the worldwide shortage of teachers – it is estimated that 1.7 million trained teachers are needed to get every child into school – over 1 million in Africa alone.

First, young people need to get a handle on the issues. This ready-made secondary school PowerPoint introduces the 2013 Send My Friend to School activities and explores the real-life stories of children missing out on education, the facts and figures behind the global teacher shortage and how schools can get involved. There is also a PowerPoint for upper primary, and lower primary school pupils get their own super-simplified version.

For more inspiration, find prepared case studies of children from the developing world who have had to struggle for their education, including the story of Malala Yousafzai.

The Global Campaign for Education has designed a tool book to help young people turn the classroom into a campaign office. Not sure how to write a press release? This DIY press pack template is really useful and can be easily adapted for other campaigns. Also see this lesson plan on persuasive writing.

MPs can seem rather distant figures, and it's important for children to realise they are elected by the local community and there to represent all the people in their constituency, including those too young to vote. This guide to a day in the life of an MP sets out what MPs do and how to get in touch with them. For politics basics for year 9 and above see this great guide.

Can what we have to say here in the UK really make any difference to children out of school around the world? This fact sheet lays out the chain of influence, showing how the voices of children in the UK can reach world leaders, and how those leaders' decisions affect schools and children in the poorest countries.

An example of best practice in this field is given by citizenship teacher Ben Miskell, who transformed his classroom into a campaign centre last year when his students went to work to persuade MPs to nominate Malala Yousafzai for the Nobel peace prize. You can listen to a BBC Radio Sheffield interview of the campaigners here. Thanks to Ben Miskell for sharing this PowerPoint of six lessons working on setting up a school council/student voice project.

Amnesty International's Speak Free: Freedom of Expression PowerPoint is a great introduction to the impact campaigning and speaking out can have. Find out how to form your own Amnesty school group here .

A little bit of history now, find this interesting resource from the People's History Museum on Campaigning for a Cause, containing facsimiles of three original campaigning documents from the museum's archives, including a Let Britain Act for Peace Petition, which was sent out to MPs across the country (when?).

Another current campaign your pupils might want to engage with is the No More Page 3 campaign. This is a petition which children and teachers can sign and could be used to generate some useful discussions in tutor time or the PSHE classrooms on sexism and the rise of "raunch culture". Stephanie Davies-Arai of the No More Page 3 campaign, and founder of the Lewes New School, has shared research on the impact of page 3 stereotypes and also ideas for a secondary lesson plan. The impact of sexism was highlighted by the NUT at its conference in Liverpool last week; find out more here.

Join the Guardian Teacher Network community www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network for free access to teaching resources and an opportunity to share your own. There are also thousands of teaching, leadership and support jobs on the site. Visit http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/schools.

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