On Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th May, 304 classes, from schools across the UK and beyond (some 9,000 students), joined us for our latest Lyfta Live lesson: Celebrating Cultural Diversity, in celebration of World Day for Cultural Diversity on 21st May. This time we explored a more familiar environment for many, through the storyworld Keep London Smiling, in which we met Transport for London station officer Sylvain. We explored themes linked to British values, particularly around mutual respect and understanding, and celebrated the diversity of British society.
Students participating in a Lyfta live lesson - Celebrating Cultural Diversity
In an increasingly complex, interconnected world, providing opportunities for discussion and celebration of cultural diversity is key to promote inclusivity, increase empathy and to build strong communities. This Lyfta live lesson gave students the opportunity to reflect on why it is important to experience a diverse range of people and places, and gave them the opportunity to think about and tell others about their own local communities.
The lessons started with a warm welcome to a diverse range of classrooms and record crowds; a whopping 304 classes (some 9,000 students). Our in house teacher Noel brought the Lyfta globe up on the screen and we zoomed in first in the UK, then London; the location of this storyworld. Noel gave us a few interesting facts about the make up of London. Did you know there are some 10m people living in London? 20m people visiting as tourists annually? An incredible 250+ different languages are spoken!
Students were asked what they knew about London and what special places can be found in the city. The word cloud below shows their responses:
Word cloud with students' thoughts on London and special places that can be found in the city
We zoomed in further by clicking the Lyfta pin to travel into this storyworld and meet station master Sylvain who moved to London from Côte d'Ivoire via France. We explored 360° scenes of the station and the local park, as well as of Sexby Gardens in Peckham - a quiet green space where Sylvain comes to relax and reflect.
Students were asked to reflect on why they think it is important to experience lots of different places and meet a diverse range of people.
"So you know how people act and how they do different things"
"Lots of people live different lifestyles, it is important to know what other people are going though"
"To learn from other people and their experiences"
"Celebrating cultures and learning about different religions"
"We can experience other people's lives and walk in someone else's shoes"
"So we don't judge people on their appearance"
"Because it's interesting and exciting!"
"Because it helps with our social skills and we'll understand each other's culture"
"Fascinating to know about other people's lives"
Students from Drayton Park participating in Lyfta Live Lesson - Celebrating Cultural Diversity
Noel invited students to watch the short documentary 'Sweet' about Sylvain who has made it his mission to bring smiles to the faces of commuters who pass through his station, to create the sense of community, connection and belonging that he missed from Côte d'Ivoire.
Students reflected on what they had seen and learned from the film and why the film might be called "Sweet":
"He has had different experiences of different communities and he is trying to create more connections in his community"
"He cares about his surroundings and everyone around him. He is having a tough time, but he is trying to spread a smile. He is a sweet person that tries to make everyone's day."
"If more people were kind and caring, even though they are going through a hard time themselves, the world would be a happier place."
"His level of kindness is something we could all replicate"
"A very caring person who believes small changes make a big difference. Creating ripples of community where he goes."
"A smile costs nothing and it speaks every language"
"He's kind and caring - we want to meet him!"
"He makes London a brighter place"
"No matter where you are you can be kind to everyone"
Students from Foxfield Oak participating in Lyfta Live Lesson - Celebrating Cultural Diversity
This live lesson included students from right across the UK, including from Cardiff, Portsmouth, London, Canterbury, Newcastle, Bletchley Park, Essex and Doncaster to name just a few. We also had classes from Spain who shared what it is like to live in their home city of Murcia. They told us about La Manga beach, the hot weather and the cathedral that reflects their culture. We also heard from students from a Welsh speaking school in Cardiff who taught us a little Welsh. So "Diolch" to Ysgol Gymraeg Melin Gruffydd!
We heard lots about the diverse communities and places represented on the call:
"We live in Canterbury - it is quite remote, you get lots of freedom and can explore. Beautiful grounds. You can just walk around, and it's beautiful"
"We are in Bletchley Park. It has loads of green areas. Everyone is welcoming if someone is new. It has lots of different cultures. Bletchley Park is the home of the WW2 code breakers."
"There's a place in Halifax called The Piece Hall where we celebrate music. There's a church nearby and every Christmas and Easter we come together and go to a service."
"Our school is in Wolverhampton. It's very diverse and I like that everyone is friendly and kind."
"We're in Portsmouth so are part of a seaside town. We have a historic dockyard and Portsmouth football ground!"
"Where we live in Newcastle is really good because my friends all live nearby so we can all play in the local park."
"Doncaster is an amazing city. It's the first to become a city by the new King."
"There's a sense of community in our local area. We make loads of friends. We've got Lakeside which has a bowling alley and shopping and you have lots of countryside too!"