Gandhi – be the change (to the curriculum) you wish to see

The other day on Twitter, a twitter friend of mine tweeted asking fellow teacher followers to tweet about a significant figure who was inspirational to them. I saw various people tweeted, from Churchill, to Einstein, Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks. I thought before tweeting and in the end I chose Gandhi. The Mahatma whose non violent methods of campaigning led to the creation of a free India. So inspiring to me that I’ve decided to plan a history topic around him, for year one.

Statue of Gandhi in London

Gandhi, he says, but why, how?  Is that too challenging for such a young age group?

The rationale goes like this. In a PPA meeting, my colleagues and I were thinking of the long term direction of the year and it’s topics. In the ks1 history curriculum programme of study it states that pupils should be taught about changes within living memory, events beyond living memory and ‘the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements’ (see below). 


 Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong were currently being studied in year 2’s explorers topic so we were mindful that we didn’t want to duplicate the curriculum. I came up with the idea of Gandhi, thinking it was quite a different choice. Actually, it does fit the criteria. The Mahatma is a significant figure of the 20th century, his non violent methods of campaigning not only brought freedom to India but also inspired other figures such as Martin Luther King and Mandela. In fact, Gandhi’s campaigns first started in South Africa, where he fought for Indian rights in South Africa before returning to India.

This topic lends itself really well as a cross curricular topic as it not only allows for history looking at the events of his life, but also for looking at India and comparing that to life in Britain, thus achieving a geography objective of looking at a contrasting locality. We could even combine PE and look at Cricket and it’s popularity within India. We could even bring in PSHE where we can look at choices we are free to make and those that are made for us, not to mention his famous quote ‘an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind‘. 

This is just the start, these are just ideas and plans. Hopefully it will all work, something’s may have to be altered in time, but it’s genuinely got me excited. I’ll keep you appraised as to how it works out and any questions or suggestions you have, please do contact me. 

As Gandhi famously said ‘be the change you wish to see‘ and his is a significant message and story that is worthy of investigating and educating future generations about. Inspiring words that will inspire great learning (I hope!) .

Revered as ‘Father of the Nation’


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