Belong, explore and succeed with Lyfta at Warden Hill Primary School

Content Team
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As part of our series of blogs looking at impact in Lyfta global education schools, we hear from teachers at Warden Hill Primary School, on how they are using the platform to focus on their values to ‘belong, explore and succeed’.
Warden Hill Primary School
Warden Hill Primary School
Warden Hill's Values
Warden Hill's Values
James Antonious is the assistant headteacher at Warden Hill Primary School. He enjoyed the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning training with Lyfta and shared how he had delivered a very successful lesson with his 10 and 11 year old students as a starting point. The potential impact on teachers and pupils alike at Warden Hill School. James both summarised his first introductory lesson and shared the lesson plan and PowerPoint slides he had developed to accompany this lesson. He explained:
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"The lesson focused on compassion and walking in somebody else's shoes. It was designed to challenge misconceptions about where Muslims live and develop a greater understanding of bereavement."

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James explained that this lesson supported Religious Education (RE) teaching and some Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), and his lesson plan includes the instruction 'compassion is a key skill in life and is in all of the major religions of the world - read the quotes and build on the children's prior learning through the RE Curriculum'.
James' lesson plan and PowerPoint slides were created with the help of one of Lyfta's lesson plans to support the learning objective, 'can I show empathy and understand the difference between empathy and compassion?' The following questions shaped the session and discussion:

Lesson plan: Muhammed's story

My expectations:
  • We are going to explore a family meal time.
  • I want you to explore with empathy.
  • I want you to be detectives and really explore the surroundings.
Explore the room, the decoration and the food:
What do you notice about this room?
Key Questions:
  • What is interesting about this room?
  • Use your senses. What can you hear, see, smell, feel, taste in this room?
  • What is similar/different to your home?
  • Does every home in the world look the same?
  • How is this similar/different to your meal time?
  • Does everyone in the world have the same culture with food?
  • Where in the world is this?
  • Do you know where Palestine is?
  • What religion do they follow? Are there any clues?
Watch the video:
  • What did you find interesting about the video?
  • How is Muhammed's day the same/different from yours?
  • How does Muhammed deal with the death of his wife?
  • How does Muhammed keep his culture alive for his daughter?
  • What could be the reason for Muhammed's migration (move to Finland)?
  • Migrants are different from refugees. 'Refugees are brilliant' discussed in your Year 5 book. Boy at the back of the classroom. A refugee's life is in danger if they remain in the home country.
Closing discussion:
  • Did you feel empathy today? When?
  • Did you feel the suffering of Muhammed?
  • Compassion is the desire to act
  • How could we help?
  • How could we make a difference?
  • This real life story reminds me of powerful books like No Ballet Shoes in Syria, Boy in the Back of the Classroom, Everyone is Welcome and Beegu?
James was very impressed by the impact this first lesson had on this group of students and in particular the high level of discussion and oracy shown through how children chose to respond to these questions. He reported some of this in the following way:
Warden Hill
Warden Hill
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"The children were so engaged and focused they loved the interactive nature and the powerful stories. It helped develop oracy within the class and helped challenge unconscious bias and misconceptions. It was amazing to see all children enjoying the lessons. It challenged all and developed a greater understanding of the world around them. The children did not want to stop the Lyfta adventure to go to PE because they were mesmerised. I loved teaching these important global citizenship lessons."

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It was useful to hear how the lesson was perceived to be both enjoyable and challenging, and that the children had been 'mesmerised' by the experience. James also commented upon the impact of this lesson on the behaviour of one particular child:
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"I noticed a particular child with challenging behaviour focussed and ready to discuss their thinking. They loved learning about a new culture and its coming to life with the interactive platform."

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Introducing the Sustainable Development Goals and Awra Amba

Prior to the training, James had not heard of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but now felt inspired by this new knowledge, with his self-reported SDGs knowledge moving from a 1 to a 3 on a scale of 1-5 where 1 is 'not heard of the SDGs' and 5 is 'SDG expert teacher'. In the review session James shared how he also planned his follow-up sessions which included exploring a new location in Awra Amba each lesson and introducing key SDGs through this:
  • Session 2 SDG Education for all - Awra Amba school and how it differs from the UK.
  • Session 3 SDG No poverty - Challenging misconceptions of aid.
  • Session 4 SDG 3 Good health and wellbeing - Compare and contrast NHS, American Health Insurance system and Awra Amba's care
When reconnecting with James a little after this review, he was able to share more about how these follow-on sessions had gone. We learned that he used Muhammed's story first to teach about compassion and empathy but also as a way to try out and play with the Lyfta platform. He mentioned that 'the level or oracy during the discussion was amazing' and that this was particularly interesting because there is a focus on oracy and spoken word across their local authority area. James talked about how Lyfta resources could support this initiative and also linked it with 'English, geography and PSHE'. He shared that he had used Lyfta for 5 weeks and lined it up with the SDGs and started with Awra Amba where there were 'really interesting discussions'.
James explained that his next action was to 'spread across the whole curriculum in other areas and other parts of the school'. He also commented how he liked how the resources challenged preconceived ideas of African countries.
We learned that James had already recommended Lyfta and the CCGL training at a deputy headteachers' meeting, saying:
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"I said it was a wonderful and interactive platform that allowed powerful stories to challenge children's thinking about the world around them.

Leah was a wonderful trainer. The process left me inspired and wanting to teach using the Lyfta platform straightaway. I am very excited and would love to continue using the Lyfta platform and share it with my staff."

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Not only did the students enjoy the learning experience, it was clear that James had thoroughly enjoyed the training and the subsequent teaching experience. James showed how Lyfta and global learning can support and enhance school and local authority priorities around for example oracy, as well as curricular requirements such as R.E. and PSHE.
This case study also further exemplified the importance of introducing teachers to the SDGs and that they can be then used as a very effective framework for embedding global learning and building empathy.
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Human Stories
Personal Development
Character Education
Cultural Capital