Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Birth of a Nation

I have been following with interest over the last few days the news coverage of the beginnings of the Republic of South Sudan.  It was this BBC news article which first captured my attention.  It talks about all the things that the new nation will have had to sort out in advance of its official "birth" yesterday, such as its political border, its flag, stamps, currency and its country-level internet domain.  South Sudan had an X-Factor style competition for its new national anthem.

It struck me that this would make a good school project.  Tell the children that your region - the north-east in my case - has decided to become an independent state.  They have to decide on its capital city (Newcastle?  Sunderland?  Durham?  Controversial!), a flag, currency and so on.  What they choose will depend on the cultural identity and heritage of where they live.  This could also work in language lessons.  Instead of their own region, you could choose a region of one of the target-language countries.  For example, tell them that Castilla y León is going to become an independent state.  They will have to do some research to find out more about it if they are going to create a meaningful profile for it.  And then of course they can practise their presentation skills by introducing their new country to the rest of the class.

Just an idea.

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