Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum

School case studies

Global education aims to develop global citizens. Enabling young people to participate in shaping a better, shared future for the world is at the heart of global education. Here we profile learning and action in schools around Australia. The students and schools have:

  • developed awareness of a global issue
  • embraced the need to change
  • engaged in personal, community or global action
  • reflected on learning.

Bridging cultures

Connecting through technology

Fair trade

Global advocates

Global connections

Global maths

Global Peace School

Kids teaching kids

Hand washing for health

Human rights

Making a multicultural school

Microcredit fun day

Millennium Development Goals

Noongar kit

Poverty and fair trade

Protecting the local creek

Science and recycling

Sustainability leadership

Sustainable resource use

Walking for water

World Wise School

Protecting the local creek

School: Killara Primary School, Sunbury, Victoria
Year level: Year 3
Number of students involved: 25

Impetus for action

Students tested the temperature, stream flow, turbidity, pH and salt levels of their local creek. They discovered it had high levels of acidity and salt making it unsuitable for many macro-invertebrates.


The students developed a plan to protect the creek, which included planting trees and native grasses and putting hay bales along the banks and in the creek to lower turbidity; requesting tip managers, farmers and people further up Blind Creek to limit run-off; and placing collection grids in the creek and doggy-poo bag holders and bins in the reserve to limit rubbish. They wrote to the local council with their suggestions. They promised to actively support the plan with plantings and regular monitoring of the creek and fauna.

Although the council did no more than acknowledge their letter, there were long-term benefits as the students developed awareness of both the effect of people’s behaviours on the environment and their ability to exercise their civic rights. Behavioural changes were noted as a result of the students’ work: rubbish levels went down and environmental interest increased.

Killara students examine samples
Year 3 students at Killara Primary School testing water from Blind Creek

Being tuned into their own waterways and their right to express opinions, students were able to consider access to water, protection of the environment and decision-making from a global perspective. Learning about how people in other countries manage water resources extended their understanding about the diversity of opinions and priorities around environmental issues.

Microcredit Fun Day

School: Magill Primary School, South Australia
Year level: Reception – year 2
Number of students involved: 300

Impetus for action

Education officers from the Global Education Centre presented information about microcredit to students. They participated in a simulation game and examined personal stories to learn how small loans can make a big difference to people’s lives.


Students set up their own microcredit businesses for the school Microcredit Fun Day. Each class decided on a product or service. They learnt about their product or service, undertook surveys to gauge the market and wrote a business plan. They applied for a loan from the School Council.

One group of students learned how to apply hair gel and colour spray, another practised their skipping skills so they could instruct their customers, and another was taught hand massage by a parent. Students also made magnets, pet rocks, friendship rocks, honey-rock bracelets, necklaces, bookmarks, packs of playdough, lemonade and fruit jellies.

On the day itself the whole school was abuzz – students set up their stalls in the morning, and spent the afternoon selling all kinds of goods and services and buying those of others.

Some of the comments about the fun day included:

'We learned how to give change and goods.'

'I learned about people who lent other people money.'

'I learned that it's nice to help people without a job and that it's not hard to help them. Another thing I learned was that it's easy to run a business.'

'I learned that it is fun to go shopping at school and to sell.'

After the fun day each class counted the money it had collected, paid back the loan from the School Council and worked out how much profit was made.

Jellies for sale  
Students sold fruit jellies and coloured and gelled hair on the Microcredit Fun Day.

The profit, together with the Casual Day money, was $1,391. A cheque for this amount was presented to Save the Children at a special assembly celebrating Children's Week. The money will be used to fund microcredit projects in a village in Indonesia. The school hopes to keep in touch with the villagers as they take out loans to set up small businesses. 

Going further

Global education teaching activity Microfinance

Poverty and fair trade

School: suburban Melbourne
Year level: Years 9–10
Number of students involved: 25

Impetus for action

To re-engage students in their commerce subject by focusing on the marketing of sporting goods that are produced according to fair trade principles.


To add depth to students' understanding of personal finance they were asked to define or draw poverty. Their responses were stereotypical images of African people sitting around campfires. This limited understanding was used to launch discussions about where poverty exists and what should and could be done about it. Students read case studies to understand the impact of poverty on people's lives and investigate exploitation, child labour and fair trade issues. This led to exploring the concept of ethical consumerism.

Next, students were required to produce a poster, a flyer, or a radio or television commercial for ethically produced sporting equipment. The challenge was to communicate to potential customers why these goods were sold at a higher price than conventionally produced goods of similar design and quality. Through analysing the techniques used by big brand advertisers, students realised they needed to sell the concept of fair trade rather than the characteristics of sporting goods as the point of difference.

Students began to understand fair trade and how consumers can use it to positively affect levels of poverty in developing countries. They also began to have an understanding of the problems of traditional manufacturing in the developing world, the differences in income and the exploitation of workers and their families that can take place. Finally, they become more aware of the principles of consumerism, and the impact of their own behaviour.

Going further

Millennium Development Goals

School: high migrant, inner Melbourne
Year level: Years 9–10
Number of students involved: 25

Impetus for action

To add a global perspective to the 'Big City Melbourne' unit through connecting to the cultural backgrounds of students.


Students investigated the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals and collected data on progress to achieving the specific targets. They made predictions about the progress of specific countries compared to Australia before collecting detailed data. Students who had been born overseas were able to apply their prior knowledge of their country of origin to interpret or challenge data. Students were struck by the inequalities and poverty experienced by some countries and had deep discussions about the issues of universal primary education and gender equality. Analysing the materials also gave students the chance to become familiar with the role of the United Nations in promoting people's rights.

Going further

Global education teaching activities Working for a fairer world, Measuring Millennium Development Goals progress

Sustainable resource use

School: Iona Presentation College, Perth, Western Australia
Year level: Year 11, Geography
Number of students involved:

Impetus for action

A teacher from Iona Presentation College participated in the One World Centre’s Global Teaching Advocates professional learning program, leading to the planning of a number of units of globally focused classroom work, including the one described below.


As part of our geography unit we focused on sustainable resource use around the world, including studies of a number of slum areas in different places. We explored the idea that demographics, population growth, values, culture and government intervention are important building blocks for sustainable resource use.

We looked at the extraction of non-renewable resources through the mining process and rehabilitation practices. We investigated silver- and tin-mining in Bolivia, its impact on locals and the activities of advocacy groups. We compared this to iron-ore mining in the Pilbara of Western Australia. Students were able to see how companies were held more accountable in Australia and the impact of their sustainable management practices. Also, through looking more closely at slum areas, students were able to identify the challenges faced by those communities as well as what other communities have to learn from the systems and practices undertaken in places showcased by documentaries such as Welcome to Lagos and Slumming It.

We also looked at the renewable resource activity of forestry and timber production. We participated in a sustainable forest field trip at the Wellington Discovery Forest EcoEducation centre where we went on a night walk to observe the vast diversity of the forest. The students made comparisons between forestry in pine plantations and native woodlands in Western Australia and Indonesia.

Students examined key demographic figures: education, infant mortality rate, wealth, GDP, distribution of income and population. From this they concluded that Australia has the ability to enforce sustainable practices, whereas in Indonesia and Bolivia there were more difficulties in balancing the need to attract global companies with the protection of local people and the environment.

Students evaluated their own consumption patterns and the imbalance of wealth around the world. They presented well-researched and thought-provoking persuasive speeches recognising the importance of researching the facts about corporations, the complexities involved, and the difficulty of balancing economic growth and sustainability.

They now have more respect for the ease of their lives and have taken steps to improve their own carbon footprints and impact on the environment. I know that if they had a chance, they would love to visit some of the places they learned about and take the opportunity to investigate how people with so little can live quite amazing lives.

Going further
Wellington Discovery Forest at the EcoEducation centre, Western Australia

Human rights

School: Beachlands Primary School, Western Australia
Year level: Year 5/6
Number of students involved: 25

Impetus for action

A teacher from Beachlands Primary School participated in the One World Centre's Global Teaching Advocates professional learning program. This lead to the planning of a number of units of classroom work, including the one described below, ongoing classroom work with a global focus, and whole-school professional learning about global education.


We began our unit by asking students to brainstorm a list of human rights. Then they were asked to order them according to importance. We used a large thermometer drawn on the wall, and students stuck notes onto it, with the most important at the top, and least important at the bottom. This was revisited throughout the unit and students had a chance to alter it as their knowledge increased. 

Over the following weeks, students used DVDs, books and websites to research issues of human rights including poverty, food, fair trade, immigration, refugees, microcredit and aid. They played simulation games to help understand the complex issues of inequality. To learn about the geography they drew the world, highlighting the seven continents. In groups they built a continent out of playdough, created a poster and did a talk about it. They learnt about children whose rights have been abused, such as ‘Iqbal the carpet weaver’ who advocated for children’s rights, and they wrote biographies about these children.

Students examine a map and globe to learn about different parts of the world. Students placed cards outlining human rights on a thermometer to indicate level of importance.
Students learnt about human rights around the world and placed cards on a thermometer to indicate their thinking.

Students’ knowledge was assessed through two written stories, one about what they would do if they were prime minister for a day and one about experiencing a disaster that forced them to flee their homes in a hurry.
At the end of the unit, students made some radical changes to how they ranked the rights of children, realising that some of the rights they had listed were quiet insignificant outside their own community.

Going further
Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand 

Hand washing for health 

School: Belair Schools, South Australia
Year level: 5
Number of students involved: 3

Impetus for action

Belair Schools’ International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) encourages students to choose an area to investigate that explores the idea ‘Decisions we make can help or hinder ourselves and others’.


After examining some global education resources from the Global Education Centre (GEC), the ‘Healthy Hooligans’ team decided to investigate how the choices we make in relation to our health affect ourselves and others.

The boys visited the GEC in their own time and returned to school with information, ideas and a lot of enthusiasm for their inquiry, particularly about the health of people in developing countries. The group collected samples of E. Coli and made bookmarks and posters to show how important it is to wash hands to reduce the transfer of germs to others.

During the PYP Year 5 exhibition, the students set up a booth in the school hall, welcoming all who visited their stall with a handshake. Their hands were coated with glitter gel and it was amazing to see how far the gel had spread around the hall during the exhibition. They explained that this was to simulate how germs can be transferred from one person to another when there is poor sanitation and hygiene.

The children were very motivated by the response they received at the exhibition. Their reflections indicated that they were far more aware of the importance of handwashing to reduce the spread of disease and are more respectful and appreciative of the toilet facilities they have at home and at school.

One of the students participated in the World Vision 40 Hour Famine and raised money to assist children living in developing countries.

The Healthy Hooligans team outline the importance of good hygiene for staying healthy. The Healthy Hooligans team created a display of informative posters to educate others about the importance of hygiene to stay healthy.

The Healthy Hooligans team collected and examined samples of e-coli from different sources to gauge the impact of washing hands. People at the exhibition demonstrated the spread of disease with glitter gel.
The Healthy Hooligans team educated people about the importance of good hygiene for staying healthy. 

Going further

Global education teaching activities Staying healthy, Ac