Hello, I’ve been thinking a lot recently (which is why I am probably a few steps away from depression). We have a power over a group of people in society which must be used correctly, if we are to head to a healthier and brighter future for this nation. The power to equip the young minds, future parents, workers and leaders of this nation. If only we could make the most of their age… if only we introduced Social Studies in our classrooms.
Here is how it is in my mind. We introduce a new subject at school: Social Studies, it is to be taught four hours a week- each class 120 minutes, and how well students do in that subject can be a change maker in their grades (I add this point because I know how grades are taken seriously, if you place a lot of marks on a subject, it will be ‘respected’ more and deemed important- just the mentality!)
Here is how it works. All the teachers across KRI who teach Social Studies go through an intensive training course (not in Europe, trainers will come to Kurdistan, and train the teachers on site). All the teachers will not only be examined, but will be interviewed as well, their salary will be different from other teachers, higher, but also, they will be on contracts.
The Social Studies subject will be all interactive, hands-on activities and fun-learning. However, it will be tailored to each age from grade 1 until grade 12 (and it is a compulsory subject in year 12, weather you are humanities or a sciences student).
Social Studies, will build confidence, public speaking, it will allow for critical thinking, decision making and problem solving. In social studies, the teacher acts as a facilitator, working on toolkits. Students talk, express, do role plays, have home assignments and present presentations.
In Social Studies girls and boys will learn in a transparent, factual, educational environment the changes taking place in their bodies during puberty, the hormones and their effects on actions and thinking.
Young girls and boys will learn what it means to volunteer and work, to knock on doors and spread awareness, to collect signatures on causes and how to respect and treat animals.
In Social Studies, our students will go to Halabja, and have elderly Peshmerga visiting them to talk about a love for ones country; they will visit the zoo and learn about animal rights, and respect to astray cats and dogs; they will visit tourist sites and rubbish tips to learn what one bottle thrown out the window in the car will do to the world; they will visit farmers and learn the importance of using water well; they will have doctors visiting to give talks on the effects of hookah and smoking; they will speak to lung cancer patients and diabetics who will give presentations and answer questions. They will visit elderly people’s homes, interview an elderly, then present their story to the rest of the class. Students will meet families who have lost loved ones in a driving accident, they will listen and interpret those experiences to bring back to classroom discussions.
In Social Studies, every child, in every school, will go home and make posters, they will present, they will do research and interview people. In Social Studies the art of social media use will be focussed on. School projects and assignments will be given on the effects of social media use, on destructive comments and respect to people’s individuality and privacy.
In Social Studies, the art of time management will be mastered.
The curriculum will focus on topics every semester including drugs and alcohol, smoking in all its forms, it will focus on nutrition, the human body and impact of diet; students will learn that boys can cook meals at home and there is no shame in that.
In Social Studies, youth will speak to women in shelters who have been abused by their husbands, they will read articles about perpetrators of violence against women, and analyse them. Undertake presentations and present solutions to certain cases. They will listen to the news and bring back social affairs into the classroom for more in-depth discussions and debates.
In Social Studies, the teacher encourages expression of each child’s view, and looks for their interpretation of the world around them, and that’s what will be examined. Not wrong or right answers, but how thoughts are articulated, and how creative a student is.
Social Studies, is based on Life Skills and Capacity Building, a subject that will be the pillar to change what really needs to be changed in this society- the mentality of the citizens, and toxic social issues that no matter how beautiful our roads are or how many tall buildings we have, the mental disease will not be treated until it goes back to our classrooms in villages and cities, all across the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
And that, my friend, is what is on my mind this very moment,
Until next time,
lots of love from My Nest in Kurdistan