"Teaching the UN and Sustainable Development" - a workshop for teachers

VIENNA, 23 November 2017 - Sixteen teachers from different types of schools in Vienna took part in a workshop on "Teaching the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals" on 23 November 2017.

The aim of the workshop was to provide information on the United Nations and related topics for teachers of various subjects and to share new ideas on how sustainable development and the work of the UN can be addressed in the classroom. Different teaching materials and special services in German as well as in English were presented to the teachers.

First, the teachers went on a guided tour of the Vienna International Centre (VIC). Then UNIS Director Martin Nesirky welcomed the teachers and spoke about the crucial role of teachers.

The introduction was followed by a presentation by Irene Höglinger-Neiva from UNIS Vienna which included a wide range of teaching resources for each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The teachers learnt more about the teaching tool on the Sustainable Development Goals "The World's Largest Lesson", developed by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and various other resources that can easily be used in the classroom to engage students of different ages with the subject matter. Further, an exhibition on people who are forced to leave their homes can currently be visited at the Zoom Children's museum in Vienna, which is suitable for school classes.

The Chief of Visitors Service Johanna Kleinert spoke about what the UN Visitors Service can offer school classes. The teachers were informed about tours and various thematic guided tours at the VIC which they can take with their students.

Marie-Claire Sowinetz from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Austria then gave a presentation about the work of UN Refugee Agency and the current situation of refugees in Europe. She also introduced teaching materials, providing the teachers with background information and good tips on how to deal with this topic in schools. The presentation was complemented with interactive participation of the teachers who shared their own experience in working with students with a refugee background.

The response from the teachers at the workshop was overwhelmingly positive. The teachers were interested in all provided teaching material and said they will certainly be able to use it in class.

The workshop was organized by the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, in cooperation with the University College of Teacher Education in Vienna (PH Wien) and the UNHCR Office in Austria. The teachers are from elementary, middle, technical, and high schools in Vienna.