Challenging stereotypes through global citizenship

Jordan Wilson (Namibia 2010/11), a Project Trust Global Citizenship Ambassador, recently delivered a number of sessions at Machanhill Primary school in Larkhall, discussing stereotypes, Africa’s diversity and that, to the pupils’ surprise, Cape Town has a McDonalds.

A poster made by a pupil at MSAHCJAH

Jordan said: “After attending Project Trust’s Returned Volunteer Training Weekend and studying a degree to be a primary school teacher for four years, my perception of the term Global Citizenship has changed and the importance of it being taught in schools has become clearer. By becoming a Global Citizenship Ambassador for Project Trust I have been able to go into schools and provide children with an insight into my personal experiences and also the world around them, hopefully giving them the same passion I have for wanting to be an active Global Citizen.

“At Machanhill Primary school I worked with the primary 5, 6, and 7 classes focusing on stereotyping of Africa. I wanted to show the children that Africa is not a country but a massive, diverse continent that contains a huge variety of cultures, people, sports, landscapes and weathers, not simply what you see in The Lion King. Having drawn some stereotypically African things like mud huts and dirty water we discussed some other stereotypes, with Willie the Groundskeeper from The Simpsons proving a good example of the impression that all Scottish people wear kilts. After this the children worked in pairs to create a poster to teach others about diversity in Africa. The kids really understood the lesson and produced posters including slogans like: ‘Don’t judge on what you see, dig a little deeper and then you will see.’”

Machanhill Primary 5 teacher Mrs. Hamilton said her pupils learnt a lot from the lesson:  “The class have a clearer understanding of the term ‘stereotyping’ and how stereotyping affects people in Africa. Jordan was able to talk about her experience of being in Africa and working with particular people; this made it seem much more real to our pupils.

“Children need to learn about the outside world and other cultures and traditions within them. The world is becoming a smaller place and our children need the knowledge to appreciate and understand other cultures.”

Jordan has found delivering sessions as a Global Citizenship Ambassador extremely rewarding: “I think that by engaging with children from a young age, we are stimulating their interest in the world around them. From being a Global Citizenship Ambassador I have learnt that children are very accepting and willing to learn about the world that we live in; they are genuinely interested to hear your stories and in turn become inspired.  The most rewarding part of this role is being able to share with the children the world outside the school doors and help them to learn about this in a way they can relate to.”