One way of continuing to expand horizons in the current climate is through the use of Lyfta. Lyfta provides an accessible window to the world, and allows teachers to facilitate human encounters that students might not otherwise get the chance to have.
What is Lyfta?
Lyfta is an award-winning learning platform, made up of interactive 360° storyworlds of real homes, workplaces and environments from around the world. Students can explore Lyfta, unlocking rich media content, and getting to know real people through powerful and inspiring short documentary films. The content, resources and ready-made lesson and assembly plans cover a range of vital themes such as sustainability, wellbeing, human diversity and compassion.
Watch this short film for a flavour of what Lyfta has to offer:
Our ultimate vision at Lyfta is that children will have ‘visited’ every country in the world by the time they leave school. They will have met at least one human being from each of these countries; experienced different cultures, different languages, different jobs, roles and perspectives. They will have seen and formed a connection with hundreds of positive human stories modelling resilience, problem-solving, teamwork, and many other critical skills, values and competencies. They will be able to understand for themselves how interconnected and interdependent we are, and will have gained a deep awareness of their power and role in the world.
Teachers from a range of different primary, secondary and special schools across the UK and Finland already use Lyfta to create engaging and impactful lessons and assemblies across a range of curriculum areas including literacy, PSHE, RSE, PE, geography, citizenship, science, RE, and design & technology. We have been delighted to play a part in the incredible impact our teaching community has seen with the students they teach using Lyfta.
Using Lyfta to challenge students’ attitudes
Here is how one teacher at a school with very little cultural diversity in the classroom, effectively used Lyfta to challenge student attitudes.
This teacher, at a school in the southeast of England, was concerned with the rising levels of nationalism in the area. The students at the school were all from white British heritage, and had had little opportunity to experience living alongside people from diverse backgrounds or to explore the world beyond their local area. At the start of the session, students were asked to consider six faces of people they would meet through the Lyfta storyworlds, and were asked “which of these people do you feel you have the most common ground with?”
In the first survey, students said that they felt most affinity with person 1,4 and 6; the people that looked most like them, in their experience. By the end of their time exploring the different environments and watching a short documentary featuring each of the people, they were asked to respond again to the question. The shift in attitudes was huge. Across the board, the students felt they had more in common with all of the people, but in particular, those that had scored lower in the first survey - person 2, 3, and 5. Most remarkable was the shift in affinity with one particular person; Muhammed, a Palestinian taxi driver in his 50s who moved to the top of their list.
Through this simple and powerful exercise, the teacher was able to start an important conversation with her students around difference, bias, diversity and more. She was able to provide them with an impactful and engaging experience, which will have a lasting effect. We know from research carried out by Immordino-Yang and Damasio in their 2007 study, We Feel Therefore We Learn, that when cognition and emotion come together, deep learning takes place. If we are to change hearts and minds, we cannot simply ‘teach and tell’ students about the world, we need to find more emotionally engaging ways to inspire them to take action to build a better world for us all. Lyfta provides an effective and simple way to do this.
Six faces case study:
There's a limited number of places available for teachers from state-funded schools in England and Scotland to join our fully funded CPD training. Participants receive free access to the Lyfta platform and resources for one term. Find out more and sign up here.
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