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Reflections on development issues from a geography class

Published on 08/01/14

These items of work are written by my year 9 (8th grade) geography class. They are part of a unit of work on global development, which has included opportunities for them to prepare some collaborative materials to send to a school in St Louis, Missouri with whom a link has been established.

The key objective of the task was to follow research with a question which the Missouri class could answer. The technicalities of the link with the other school was one element of the ‘hook’ in the learning. Using Google Drive to collate materials, a simple iBook was collated and sent to the American class, who then responded via Google Drive. The sense of global connectivity in the project is important as it is, itself, an illustration of the topic. Presenting work to a peer group in another class in another school also raises the profile of the work and therefore, most probably the standard achieved.

The final product of the exercise was a Google Hangout. A recorded video conference with the school in the US. As ever, enjoyment and engagement with learning go hand in hand. I often find myself considering that much of the factual content learnt in class will either a) change or b) be forgotten. The process of learning is, as always, the most important and will equip the students for their next steps.

Hannah writes on healthcare provision

On the 10th of December 1948 the United Nations General assembly adopted a list of 30 rights which all humans should have. Under article 25 it states the right to a good standard of living, "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."

Although this article states that all humans have a right to medical care, some economic powerhouses such as China, India and the USA do not have universal healthcare. In China there are many public clinics but the quality of these varies greatly from clinic to clinic. The best clinics are the ones in the city and these are very expensive. In 2005 the Chinese government started a scheme to make healthcare more accessible to the rural poor who either do not have access to a clinic or cannot afford to go to one.

In the USA there have been several attempts to get universal healthcare, the most recent of them being "Obamacare". Due to the fact that the USA very split, roughly half being democrats and half being republicans, it is very hard to find a universal system that the entire country agrees will work. The USA is so divided that this week the government was shut down due to the fact that the House of Representatives (primarily Republican) want to delay Obamacare for a year but the Senate (primarily Democrats) refuse to pass it because they support Obamacare. This was part of a spending bill, which has now gone past the deadline that it needed to be passed by, meaning no one in the US government is getting paid (apart from the military, and ironically Congress.)

(Question asked: Do you think all people deserve a right to a free healthcare?)

Map of universal healthcare provision

Map of universal healthcare provision - green = universal healtcare provided

Lucy writes on the environment: do you have to be wealthy to look after the environment?

I disagree and think that you can look after the environment with any amount of money. How well and how much you can look after the environment, I think is slightly different, as if you have a large amount of money you can invest more money to help the environment how much this would help the environment would depend.

Indigenous tribes and people who seem to have little or no money, manage to live in harmony with nature not destroy it. This is because their life is tied to what happens to the environment and the wild life that they need to eat and hunt. In many cases it is the rich who are destroying the environment with heavy industrialisation and pollution, China is one of the big culprits of this as it is expanding economically very quickly. Japan on the other side has managed to develop in many ways and still manage to keep pollution low despite receiving polluted air from China. Therefore it is proven that anyone can look after the environment.

(Question asked: Who is most able to help the environment?)