Using Role Models to Inspire WLF Ambassadors | A Partnership with Amazing People Schools
Amazing People Schools (APS) has partnered with the World Literacy Foundation Ambassador Program to share the stories of historic global role models from their digital learning platform, inspiring young people seeking to be WLF Youth Ambassadors. I am Selena Whitehead, Education Team Manager for APS and I have the exciting job of telling you all how APS and WLF are developing this amazing partnership.
What is Amazing People Schools?
Amazing People Schools or APS for short, is a whole school digital learning platform with character at its core. APS re-tells the stories of inspirational historical characters from across the world. Those stories are used to stimulate and assist young people to explore the character strengths that these role models utilised to overcome challenges and difficulties in their lives, in order to become the icons that we know them as today.
The story of Martin Luther King Jr demonstrates this concept well. Known globally as an incredible civil rights leader, his story on our website is not limited to listing his achievements in standing up for what he believed in, but is told as a life full of fairness, integrity, optimism and consideration. Our digital learning platform allows young people to engage with his story, watch his animated video and learn about the character strengths he drew upon to become the man we know so well. Young people can then apply these learnings to their own lives. It’s been proven that developing character strengths greatly improves the odds that young people will thrive, regardless of the challenges they face, and this greatly improves all around wellbeing.
When used in an educational setting, the APS learning platform provides interactive digital resources that allow students to access these incredible stories in an exciting and engaging way. APS utilises written, audio and video content and provides the class teacher with the resources to support integrated whole class learning. The amazing thing about APS is that a school can use the platform and its huge bank of resources to embed character across the whole curriculum, allowing all young people to access high quality, age-adapted resources. And with character strengths playing such a vital role in wellbeing, social emotional learning, and positive personal development, Amazing People Schools can support young people to harness these innate character strengths, believe in themselves, and flourish.
Amazing Role Models, Oracy and World Literacy Foundation
One key skill that APS wanted to help the Youth Ambassadors to develop was oracy. Oracy is the word used as the means of developing the ability to express yourself fluently and correctly, in all forms of speech. APS has worked with the WLF to develop a number of key resources for the Youth Ambassador Program that help young people to develop oracy skills to support them in their work with the WLF and beyond.
The modules that we developed for WLF Youth Ambassadors as part of their journey included a focus on Advocacy and Leadership. Success in these two areas relies greatly on having good oracy skills, that involve not only speaking, but practising listening skills, managing behaviours and understanding the language necessary for effective communication.
Be a Voice in Your Community
WLF Ambassadors may be invited to speak at their school or university, in the media or with a community group, to raise awareness of and advocate for literacy, so oracy skills are key.
By preparing and practising speeches, a young person can learn to structure and organise their talk. And when delivering speeches, young people can develop a greater confidence in speaking, leading to higher self-assurance and a liveliness and flair when speaking publicly.
How can young people use APS to develop Oracy?
Many schools around the globe have used APS to develop oracy with their young people. Using the extensive list of amazing people stories on the website as a starting point, students have demonstrated oracy by re-enacting great moments from history such as…
- Charles Darwin speaking to friends on the night he returns from his epic voyage.
- Emmeline Pankhurst following her release from prison.
- Harriet Tubman on first waking up as a free citizen.
- Gandhi talking to the British Cabinet or facing a huge crowd in India.
- Queen Nzinga firing up her army of supporters to keep battling the Portuguese invaders.
Scenarios, Interviews, Role Play & Debates
A great way that APS can be used by young people to further develop finding their own voice includes taking part in different scenarios, such as:
- Simulation press conferences –It’s 1917 and there is a press conference concerning Emmeline Pankhurst’s recent release from prison. The ambassadors can choose from a variety of roles including interviewer, newscaster, radio and TV journalists, members of the public, government officials, other suffragettes.
- Public meetings –Imagine it’s 1603 and the plague is sweeping Britain. The authorities want to close theatres and other businesses in London. William Shakespeare has a new play that he wants released. Ambassadors can play may roles including theatre owners, shop keepers, poor and wealthy members of the public, royal officials and so on.
- Courtrooms –It’s 1922 and Gandhi is arrested on charges of sedition. Roles include the judge, witnesses, prosecutor, defence, press and members of the public.
Role-playing either one-to-one or as a group is a great way to practise oracy skills. When planning a role-play activity, it can be helpful if the young person has some good background knowledge about the character they are exploring. Teachers often use APS to set a task such as develop a play with a theme – for example persevering through difficulties, showing kindness or acting with integrity.
“What if …” questions are a good way to introduce discussion relating to the lives of the Amazing People and the content of the production. For example, “what if Ada Lovelace had lived for another 30 years?” “What if Martin Luther King jr. had not made his ‘I have a dream …’ speech?”
Debates using the stories of amazing people are a great way for young people to practise projecting their voice, literally and in substance. In the past, educators have used major events from amazing people’s lives as a source of debate for their students. For example, discussing whether Emmeline Pankhurst was correct in her stance of taking action, including violence or whether Gandhi’s non-violence approach should be emulated.
Amazing People Schools and WLF – helping young people thrive and flourish
Amazing People Schools are very excited to partner with the World Literacy Foundation Youth Ambassador Program and look forward to hearing the success stories from this year’s intake of ambassadors.
We believe that considering the lives of amazing people who used their voice is a key starting place for young people looking to develop their own. Not only can they learn by applying some of the guides and practices mentioned in this article, but they can also explore the actual character strengths that these amazing people needed to develop into the trailblazers we all know and admire.
It is in learning how to harness and bolster key character strengths such as empathy, gratitude, creativity, adaptability, that young people can effectively improve, not only using their voice for the greater good, but also their own confidence and wellbeing – helping them to thrive and flourish in their own lives.
If you work in education and would like to learn more about the resources available at Amazing People Schools, sign up for your free trial here, or get in touch with one of our friendly team here. We are also active on social media, follow us on our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts for excusive free content.