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Living the Good Life

From "Exploring Global Issues"

Secondary

Description

Livin' the Good Life teaches students about quality of life and community indicators such as sustainability, inequality, poverty, and good governance.

Students develop indicators to measure quality of life and conduct a survey of peers and adults to obtain data for their indicators. They analyze the survey data using spreadsheet software and produce charts to demonstrate their results. Students compare their own performances as measured by the quality of life indicators against averages determined by the survey results.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Creating a survey (focusing on indicators - Number of ___ per ___).
  • Administering a survey to the public.
  • Creating an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Inputing survey data.

Strengths

  • Livin' the Good Life lesson gets students involved with a 'realistic process' - the creation of a survey, collection of data and the making of decisions based on results. All sectors of life use this process to try to make decisions for a community, region or country.
  • The central prupose of understanding quality of life is clearly stated throughout the lesson.
  • If more background information is required, use the 'Additional Resources' section of the lesson (nine films, books and websites are suggested).
  • The resource is very easy to use and all overheads/photocopy masters are provided.
  • Package is up-to-date.
  • Website address is given. Website will link a teacher to all the contact informaiton.

Weaknesses

  • Lacking assessment tools.

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Themes Addressed

  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Quality of Life

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives GoodNo 'standard' for a high or low quality of life is presented. Students will create their own criteria for 'Livin' the Good Life' and start to understand the connection between how quality of life is measured and quality of life's links to global issues such as sustainability, inequality, poverty and good governance.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very GoodQuality of life is more than economics (for example - wages, hours worked per week, etc.); the 'Livin' the Good Life' lesson illustrates that point well. Family, recreation, creative pursuits, volunteering, rest and friends are just some of the quality of life categories included in the survey and data analysis.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity GoodStudents take an active role in understanding how quality of life is measured, ways to measure quality of life and data analysis. In 'Living' the Good Life' students are involved with the development of the survey, distribution and completion of the survey, analysis of results, comparison of results and action experiences.
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

Each student will present the quality of life survey to six other people. Students will be engaged with community members in discussions on 'what is the good life?' and realize the differences in opinions. Provoking thoughts and feelings, not only in the students, but in the individuals completing the survey. Other action projects presented at the end of the lesson are excellent; however, the activities may require more development.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education GoodStudents can create a survey which is important to them. Also they get to express their own beliefs and values by completing the survey. Clarification of their values when survey results are analyzed.
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory

In the 'Writing Connection' component of the lesson, students research an African cultural group, and write a brief paper explaining how they think this tribe might measure "the good life" in light of their values, economic system, spiritual beliefs, and geographic location. An excellent website link is provided.

Students will start understanding the connection between how quality of life is measured and global issues such as sustainability, inequality, poverty and good goverance. Students will become more aware of the geographical, cultural, economic and other differences.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning GoodThe students' opinions and the opinions of people in their community are being used to create a quality of life standard for the area. Students will compare their personal quality of life against the community average. The lesson includes 'Action Projects' - students can also get involved in their community.
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future SatisfactoryQuality of life in the past is not mentioned. The survey and analysis of results give the present state of quality of life. The future is discussed in the 'Assessment Reflection Questions,' whixh refers to impacts on the environment, economy and society.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction GoodThough the categories for the survey are given, students develop indicators to evaluate quality of life. The survey results will vary greatly between individuals. The data entered into Excel will be similar, but individual comparisons will differ.
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
  • Social Studies (Civics. Economics, Global Studies, Contemporary World Problems)
  • Science (Evnironmental)
  • Math
  • Technology/Computers
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning GoodStudents develop their own survey, administer surveys and analyze the data.
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction GoodSurvey creation and administration, and data analysis will appeal to the cognitive domains. Some of the indicators in the survey (friends, spiritual pursuits, etc.) will appeal to the affective domains.
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation SatisfactoryThe lesson is divided into three days. Day 1 and day 3 give students the opportunity to discuss issues, feelings, trends, etc. in the 'Assessment Reflection Questions'. Students can demonstrate their knowledge of computers.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory'Action Projects' at the end of the lesson suggest that students write a 'Quality of Life Report' for their local newspaper (based on the survey). This is an opportunity for students to teach other community members. If the 'Action Project' component of the lesson is not completed then students are not empowered.
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control SatisfactoryStudents create the survey based on their interests, and the 'Writing Connection' and 'Action Projects' will allow them to get deeper into the issue, though on a limited basis. The 'Additional Resources' list should be utilized for keen students or classes.
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.