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In recent years as we live in an increasingly interconnected world, the importance of Global Citizenship Education has become more and more apparent and urgent. In our Jesuit context this was highlighted again after the International Congress of Jesuit Education Delegates JESEDU-Rio2017 last year.

As Harvard Professor Fernando Reimers stated in an interview with The Global Citizens’ Initiative, “We must prepare the next generation of leaders to find solutions to the problems of the future, to invent the future so to speak, and in order to do this they must be globally competent because their future will be completely intertwined with the future of their fellow human beings in this small earth”. 

So how are we doing this? How are we teaching our students to become Global Citizens? We would like to introduce you to a series of Global Citizenship Lesson Plans, which focus more specifically on the topic of Interreligious Education.  

“The Delegates commit to work with the schools to ensure a module (or some such unit of the curriculum) of interreligious education is implemented. This module should allow students to learn about it from the world’s religions and respect the various ways religions express and celebrate the divine”. Action Statement JESEDU-Rio2017 

This series of 5 Lesson Plans, created by Professor Fernando Reimers and his team, aim to enable students to explore the intersection of values and religion and guide them in reflecting on and discussing these topics with others in an open, mindful and respectful manner thereby learning the similarities and difference between world religions. The Lesson Plans which are part of a World Course of 60 Lesson Plans for students from 5 to 18 years old called ‘Empowering Students to Change the World’ aim to help empower and teach our students to become Global Citizens. The Lesson Plans are all based on the Sustainable Development Goals, with this particular series focussing on Goals Number 10 (Reduced Inequalities); Number 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and Number 4 (Quality Education). Professor Fernando Reimers has kindly offered to share these wonderful resources with the Educate Magis community in the hope that we will use them to empower our students to change our world.

The Lesson Plans are aimed at 5th grade students or students between the ages of 9 and 12 and are available in both English and Spanish.

5 Lesson Plans (English): 

5 Planes de Clase (Español): 

Each Lesson Plan is scheduled for a Lesson of 60 minutes and can be adapted to one’s own context and timeframe. The goal of these 5 Lesson Plans is to guide students to learn about diversity, culture, and communication through the lens of religion. By learning about the role of religion in their own lives, communities and across the world, students will come to appreciate the richness of cultural diversity. Students will also discuss how people can communicate across cultural differences, learn to value interreligious dialogue and will come together to solve problems.

These learning materials aim to explore how students’ own values relate to the values of others, what religion looks like in their own community, what it looks like in other parts of the world and how they can communicate and collaborate across religions and solve conflicts. In Lesson 1, students watch and reflect on a powerful video which asks, “If the world were 100 people, who would we be?”. By proportionally reducing the world population to 100 people, this video aims to put a human face to the numbers and make complex global issues more relatable. The following 4 Lesson Plans use a combination of class discussions, group work, reflections, activities and finally a mini group research project.

As part of a such a rich and diverse global network of Jesuit schools, we have a wonderful opportunity not only to use these Lesson Plans, but then to share our experiences of using them and connect our students across the world to engage in respectful and enriching interreligious dialogue with students of other Jesuit schools.

We would love to hear your feedback on using these Lesson Plans or other materials you may have come across to teach Interreligious Education. Please post your comments here!