In just under a month we will be starting the IATEFL Global Issues SIG special event – Food Issues Month! This event is an online, asynchronous event with the aim of “Teaching food with a conscience”. We are already beginning to get interest on how to take part, so we’ve put together the following little guide for you.
The idea behind this month is to raise awareness in your classes and your schools about an issue relating to food. We deliberately chose a broad topic to allow people flexibility of choice. As long as it’s about food and issues (as opposed to, say, a lesson about food in different cultures or favourite foods or food idioms) we’re interested. Read about the event here.
Here’s a veritable cornucopia of concrete ideas though on how you can participate.
1 Like our Facebook page and follow the tweets
Show your support by liking our Facebook Event page. Then, during the whole month of October please come back regularly to the Facebook page to see what people are saying. We’ll be tweeting about it too, using the hashtag #foodissuesmonth
2 Share an activity or lesson plan
Submit an activity or lesson plan idea to the facebook page or to the page we set up at our blog here on October 1st. We’ll be doing a weekly highlights of these here at our blog.
3 Inspire us to inspire our learners
Post a link to a picture, video, poem, game or website that links to one of these issues. Please state briefly what you would do with it. Again you can do this via our blog page, the facebook page or twitter for the moment. We are looking at how to expand into other networks too.
4 Teach one of these issues and tell us about it!
Teach a lesson based on one of the resources you see shared during the month and let us all know how it went. We can all learn from each other in this way.
5 Share the knowledge
We’d love to see some short book reviews or film reviews about any of these issues that can inform us as educators. If you’ve read or seen something that inspired you about food, please let us know.
6 Do some action research.
Do some form of action research with your learners relating in some way to the topic. This could be a survey, some materials creation or something else. Share the results with us here!
7 Get creative
Make a real or virtual poster to link to the issue. We’d love to gather a collection of classroom-generated poster images for the website and do a feature on this on our website. You don’t need to restrict yourself to a static image, we’d love to see your own videos too (although please be aware we can’t show videos or photos of learners without permission here).
8 Take real action
Begin a food-related project at your school. This could be petitioning the school restaurant or cafeteria to include more healthy or more local food, begin a healthy eating campaign among younger learners, start or donate to a food bank, begin growing food… We’re sure you can think of other ideas. Please share with us how it goes.
9 Link up with another food-related non-profit organization
Make links between your class or school and a non-profit food organization. Invite a guest speaker, do a presentation, take the class on a field trip. Any of these links should ideally be done in the English language medium but it isn’t absolutely necessary. The report or follow up could be done in English if the organization does not have representatives that speak the language. Again, let us know how it goes.
10 Spread the word.
This event will only be successful if we spread the word about it. Make it a point to tell at least three other teachers what we are doing during this month. Post a link to your school’s website. Put one of the posters up in your school.
From a teacher in the American Midwest – at Iowa State University
“KING CORN” a documentary about the American diet
(this entire film is available on YouTube)
Background of the film:
The filmmakers had their hair tested by a scientist and learned that the corn in their diet ended up in their hair.
They had recently learned that the diet of their generation is leading to a shorter life span than their parents’ generation. The American journalist Michael Pollan had written about the prevalence of corn in the American diet and they wanted to follow up on this. (The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan)
So they decided to grow one acre of corn in Iowa, USA and learn about how it gets into our diet.
Questions for students after watching some portions of the film:
The scientists told them that the carbon in their bodies is from ____________________.
Why do Americans eat so much corn? Where is it?
In what ways did tractors change farming life?
May: Planting time
How are these numbers related to planting: 31,000
“not a hand’s on experience” – what does this tell us about the planting process?
How does the bakery change during planting season?
August: Tasting the corn
What does the corn taste like?
What words does Michael Pollan use to describe Iowa corn?
How will their corn be used?
How many bushels per acre were harvested – their grandfather: