The Trading Game is part of a proactive approach towards Citizenship, including a new Citizenship department and a Human Rights group.

A Citizenship Department has been set up with a Head of Citizenship for Years 7 – 11 and another person who oversees Citizenship in the Sixth Form. There is also a Human Rights Group for Sixth Formers as an option in Enrichment Studies. There has therefore been full support for promoting Global Citizenship throughout the curriculum.

Following the success of running trading game workshops during One World Week to Year 7, in the academic year 2003 – 3004, it was decided that the current Sixth Form Human Rights Group should run similar workshops with the current Year 7.  If this is continued annually, all of the school will eventually have participated.

Aims

The main aims of the Trading Game Workshops are threefold:

  • To illustrate the unfairness and injustice of World Trade and promote discussion on how this can be changed with all of Year 7.
  • To give Year 12 pupils the experience of teaching about trade and expanding their knowledge and understanding of such Global Issues. 
  • To develop skills amongst Year 7 of co-operation in group work.

Preparation and playing

The Trading Game was obtained from Christian Aid. The pack contained full instructions on how to prepare for ad how to play the game. In simple terms the game is about groups of pupils, representing different countries, trying to make basic paper shapes to sell at ‘The Bank’. Each country has a different set of resources which are not fairly divided between the groups. For example some only have paper whilst others have rulers, pencils, scissors and other equipment necessary to make the shapes. 

The groups need to trade if they are to make shapes with the advantage being held by the groups representing the richer industrialised nations. 

The outcome of the game is to make pupils aware of the injustice of such inequalities.

The Sixth Form took part in the game before delivering it to Year 7.  They then decided which classes they would be going into and prepared the equipment they would need. Arrangements were made with the Head of Citizenship and classroom teachers.

  • Sixth Formers set up the game before the arrival of pupils, including arranging tables and equipment.
  • On arrival Year 7 pupils were placed at tables randomly.
  • The Sixth Formers introduced themselves, stated the overall purpose of the lesson and explained the aims and rules of the game itself. 
  • The pupils then began the game, quickly grasping that they would have to trade and bargain if they were to make shapes to sell to the Bank.
  • The game progressed with the Sixth Formers introducing various ‘trading changes’ usually to the advantage of the richer countries.
  • When they announced that trading should cease, money was counted and amounts written on the board. 
  • A discussion began with pupils talking about the inequalities they felt existed. This led to ideas of Fair Trade and the actions they as individuals could take.
  • “A fun way to learn”
  • “Better than just being told”
  • “It was good having Sixth Form teach us”
  • “We should make our parents buy Fair Trade”
  • “I didn’t like being a poor country, there was nothing much we could do. The rich countries could decide everything.”
  • “It wasn’t easy working in groups.”

Comments from staff

  • “I was very impressed by the Sixth Form, they can come again.”
  • “A very successful way of delivering this issue”
  • “I shall look for more adventurous ways of teaching Citizenship issues without being worried that they will be chaotic.”
  • “Using Sixth Formers is a good idea and could be done in other situations. It is good for both Year 7 and the Sixth Form.”
  • “I was surprised that the Sixth Form were so professional!”

Comments from the Sixth Form

  • “The 7E1 group were very sharp and quickly caught on to the ideas and motives of the game.”
  • “They worked out during the discussion which tables represented countries of the ‘Poor South’ and which were the rich nations.”
  • “There was a tendency for the boys to trade and the girls to make shapes.”
  • “The boys were generally more extrovert and assertive.”
  • “Some pupils had a negative attitude, usually those with few resources. They needed encouragement at regular intervals.”
  • “A minority of pupils were ‘negative’ and ‘lazy’ and had problems co-operating with their group.”

Top Tips from the Sixth Form

  • Make your initial introduction and explanation very clear
  • It is important to organise the tables and equipment before the pupils arrive
  • Increase your own knowledge of Trade before the Game.  The Year 7 asked many questions and raised many issues.
  • The plenary discussion needs to be well prepared.
  • Practice what you are going to say and do.
  • Ask more questions to make them think rather than just supplying answers.
  • The game must be seen as fun, but with a purpose.

Comments from Sixth Form on what they gained

  • “It gave me a chance to see how Year 7 interact.”
  • “I would like to do something similar again.”
  • “It was rewarding to see that they had widened their outlook on World Trade.”
  • “It was really pleasing when their teacher asked them to sum up what they had learnt and they mentioned issues we had tried to raise.”
  • “I realise that I need to expand my own knowledge if I do this again.  It would help answer some of the questions they asked during the discussion.”
  • “I realise that to teach something well you really need to have a good knowledge base yourself.” 

Evaluation

This was a very successful teaching and learning method which we shall use again in the future. 

It gave the Sixth Form an experience of the challenge of teaching Global Issues whilst also expanding their own understanding. The Year 7 are now more aware that countries are interdependent and we live in a globalised society. They can also appreciate that they as individuals can have a role in addressing issues of inequality and injustice. 

Since this school sees Citizenship as an important part of the curriculum it is easier to implement strategies to raise pupil’s awareness of Global Issues. It is therefore important that all schools should raise the profile of Citizenship and not simply pay it lip service.

Update

The recent Tsunami Earthquake disaster has prompted further discussion on the role of richer nations within our globalised society. Pupils have suggested forming a school link with a school in Sri Lanka affected by tsunami which they could sponsor. 

The Sixth Form Human Rights Group intend to build on this increased awareness to devise more lessons for lower school pupils on World Issues. Sixth Form taking Lower School classes will be an ongoing project.

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