I hate teaching about healthy lifestyles. There, I've said it. I find it boring and too often it actually becomes mildly patronising. Yes, it's ok for me to enjoy a beer or a glass of wine (which are both bad for the health, depending on which study you read, of course) because "I'm a grown-up". Yes, even though I really don't like cucumber you should always eat things that are healthy. Yes, you should drink lots of water. We all know it. But what's worse is that our students are so blinkin bored of hearing it every year that they no longer pay any attention whatsoever.
So I wanted to do something a bit different. Because I'm stubborn like that. And because I could. And because I'm stupid and wanted to create loads of extra work for myself.
And because I wanted to actually get my students thinking. Oh, and I wanted them to learn something about the world, not just some words in a strange language. Ah, Intercultural Understanding.
Colombia. Land of drugs and violence AND THAT'S IT. Well, in the eyes of your average year 8, anyway. Having taught some absolutely lovely Colombians a few years ago I know that's most definitely not the case. It's a beautiful country that's been deeply, deeply effected by the issues connected to the drug trade that stretches well beyond just "people take drugs". In rural areas there are real issues to do with lack of infrastructure and health provision where the authorirites simply can't reach out safely. So that was my first thought.
But then I got sidetracked. That happens quite frequently when i'm trying to devise modules.
Did you know that Uruguay, the relatively small and underappreciated nation sandwiched between the powerhouses of Argentina and Brazil, is proposing to becoming the first nation in the world to legally approve the selling of marijuana? They're convinced that current policies across South America and the world simply don't work. Beyond that they're also scared that the drug violence and culture sweeping the continent will reach them soon.
So what do ou r students think about that idea? Let's discuss it. Yes, let's learn a wee bit about how to be healthy, but only as a springboard on to something far more meaningful. I love using Eva Lamb's idea for wordmats to allow students to have all the language they'll need at their fingertips before you start teaching, saving time on pointlessly introducing it when thanks to their phonics work they should already be able to say it!
Yes, it might be a bit strong in places- I think the Spanish government's campaign materials on the subject are superb (they're in one of the folders in the unit below) and would make great display materials supporting a strong PSME anti-drugs message. When I discussed the concept with some year 8s before writing the module they were blown away that any country would be "crazy enough" to legalise any drug. But then they really started to give me some very thought-provoking opinions- exactly what I want classes to do, just in Spanish.
So this is one that I didn't get to teach in my short time in the school, but really would love to and will do so as soon as I get the chance (if I head back into the classroom!). All feedback HUGELY appreciated. (apologies for typos + Word autocorrects by the way!)