Development Issues – A Course for Transition Year

This learning unit supports students who want to explore the global development issues that affect our world. It will help them develop the skills necessary to affect positive change in their own lives and also to see their actions as part of a wider change for a more just world.

The course is designed with four core modules, these include:

  1. What is Development Education?
  2. Poverty
  3. Conflict
  4. Gender Inequality.

The core modules are designed with comprehensive lesson plans and supporting resources which enable a teacher who is new to Development Education to facilitate engaging lessons. The outline of the course allows the teacher to build their own capacity for the subject. Extra reading materials are provided to delve further into each topic.

The course has four supplementary modules:

Following the skills learned in the core modules, teachers can develop their own lesson plans based on the active learning methodologies used in the core modules such as walking debates, think-pair-share activities etc.

Aims of course

The course allows students to investigate the causes and consequences of actions on these global issues. Through research, debate and critical reflection, students should have a greater understanding of the complex world around them. It equips students with the knowledge, ideas, skills and values to participate as active global citizens.

Students should be well equipped to take action within their own communities and be empowered to have a positive impact on a local and global scale.


ISBN: 978-0-9930234-4-6

Published: 30th November 2015.

More info: on the background to the project and the team that worked it.

Part 1. What is Development Education?

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define Development Education.
  2. Name the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
  3. Learn about the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
  4. Students should recognise diversity in the classroom.

Key Skills

  1. Express opinions on MDGs and post 2015 Development Agenda.
  2. Understand global inequalities.
  3. Recording, organising & summarising information in a learning journal.
  4. Team building and communication.
  5. Students should empathise with global inequality.
  6. Develop research and presentation skills.



Activity DE 1 Students participate in a simulation activity to explore the diversity within the group and set rules for an open space for further classroom discussion and debate. Teacher notes Activity DE 1 | Student Activity DE 1

Activity DE 2 Students are encouraged to understand and empathise with inequality so that they consider reasons why Development Education is an important topic. Teacher notes Activity DE 2

Activity DE 3 Students discuss and research the meaning of Development, Development Education and Global Citizenship in order to put the course in perspective with their lives. Teacher notes Activity DE 3

Activity DE 4 Students research and write an agreed class definition of Development Education in student learning journal. Teacher notes Activity DE 4

Activity DE 5 Students familiarise themselves with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) and recognise the success of the framework. Teacher notes Activity DE 5

Activity DE 6 Students familiarise themselves with the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Teacher notes Activity DE 6 | HO DE 6

Part 2. Poverty

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define poverty.
  2. Measure levels of poverty.
  3. Identify people at risk of poverty locally, nationally and globally.
  4. Interpret links between poverty and access to credit/money.
  5. Identify actions taken by Government and communities to alleviate poverty.
  6. Respond in a positive, active way to the issue of poverty.
  7. Present information on Credit Unions & the Grameen Bank.
  8. Examine Ireland’s response to global poverty.
  9. Debate the relationship between Poverty and all the other modules/issues on the course.

Key Skills

  1. Express opinions on causes & consequences of poverty.
  2. Examine patterns & relationships in the causes of poverty.
  3. Interpret images/photographs.
  4. Interpret statistical information on global poverty.
  5. I.T. – log on & use streaming video resource.



Activity P 1

Students define Poverty by using images and understand the global poverty picture. Teacher Activity: Using Images to define Poverty | Poverty Images (Powerpoint) | Student Handout: Images of Poverty and Wealth | Word-bank: Feelings

Activity P 2

Students investigate the cyclical nature of Poverty by participating in an activity to look at the causes & effects of poverty. Teacher Notes: Problem Solution Tree | Student Activity: Problem Solution Tree | Counted Out

Activity P 3

To identify people at risk of poverty and introduce the idea of social exclusion, students debate statements based on poverty. Teacher Notes: Walking Debate | (Link to walking debate posters from Dev Issues toolkit)

Activity P 4

Students’ research how Poverty is measured globally using concepts such as GNP and HDI. Teacher Notes: Measuring Wealth and Development | Student Activity: Poverty, Inequality and Development | Student Activity: Wealth and Human Development Answer Sheet

Activity P 5

Students familiarise themselves with the continent of Africa and research an African country identifying the causes and effects of poverty in that country. Teacher Notes: Becoming familiar with Africa | Student Activity: Blank Map of Africa | Completed Map of Africa

Activity P 6

Students investigate possible solutions to Poverty on local context and global context. Teacher Notes: Investigating Solutions to Poverty | Student Activity: The Grameen Bank

Activity P 7

Invite a speaker from St. Vincent de Paul, Barnardos, Gorta Self Help Africa, Trocaire etc to speak about poverty.

Part 3. Conflict

Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss and identify issues of conflict on a personal and local basis. Discuss School Anti-Bullying Policy.
  2. Learn methodologies to solve conflict
  3. Identify regions of conflict in the world.
  4. Investigate colonisation in Africa.
  5. Understand the concept of Genocide.
  6. Research a case study on Rwanda or another incident of Genocide.
  7. Investigate the role of the United Nations and the Red Cross in conflict situations.

Key Skills

  1. Examine patterns & relationships between conflict & conflict resolution.
  2. Identify how language & stereotyping are used to reinforce conflict situations and distinguish between factual information and the views of the film’s director.
  3. Hold an informal debate within the classroom.
  4. Create Poster/Mural to deliver a message.
  5. Write a film review/news article for local radio or print media.
  6. To process and interpret information from a variety of media sources about conflict.


Anti-homophobic bullying resource for teachers | Save the Children (UK)

An excellent resource to look at International Humanitarian Law and War (March 19, 2014)| International Committee of the Red Cross

An education resource focusing on Conflict and Famine by the International Famine Centre in University College Cork

A photo pack from Trocáire discussing Conflict and Migration


Activity C1

Students are introduced to the concept of Conflict by examining their personal experiences. Students examine their school policy on anti-bullying and discuss possible resolutions through written or verbal exercises. Teacher notes: Conflict and Bullying | Student Notes: Push and Give Exercise | Anti-Bullying Policy

Activity C2

Students participate in an active learning methodology to learn how issues can be solved either competitively or cooperatively. Teacher notes: Learning to live together

Activity C3

Students identify regions of the world where conflict exists. Teacher notes: Global Conflict | Blank Map of the World

Activity C4

Students are introduced to the concept of colonisation with focus on colonisation in Africa. Teacher notes: Exploring Colonisation | Blank Map of the World

Activity C5

Students try to identify any patterns or themes associated with conflict e.g. need for resources., and examine case students from 80:20 Development in an Unequal World. Teacher notes: Modern Day Conflict

Activity C6

Students research the stages of genocide and review one of the films of the Rwandan Genocide in order to understand the complexity of genocide. Teacher notes: Exploring genocide | Student Activity: Stages of Genocide Case Study Sheet | Student Activity: Conflict review sheet

Activity C7

Students investigate conflict resolution and focus on the work of the UN and other organisations such as the Red Cross. Teacher notes: Conflict intervention

Activity C8

Students research the direct and indirect impact of the arms industry on development by watching “Lord of War” or ‘Blood Diamond’ and using Film Review sheets. Student Activity: Conflict review sheet

Part 4. Gender Inequality

Learning Outcomes

  1. Differentiate between gender & sex.
  2. Understand the diversity of gender identity.
  3. Recognise how being born male or female affects life opportunities & choices.
  4. Analyse how gender inequalities can be the root of exploitation.
  5. Examine the link between gender & poverty (access to credit; inheritance; etc).
  6. Recognise the importance of gender based development/aid programmes.
  7. Investigate Gender-Based Violence.
  8. Examine how culture affects gender rights.

Key Skills

  1. Debate/Challenge peoples assumptions about gender identity & stereotyping.
  2. Develop empathy with women’s oppression.
  3. Develop relationships that are not gender biased.
  4. Acknowledge individual differences.
  5. Watch & interpret a foreign language film.



Activity G1

Students distinguish between the words “sex” and “gender” and discuss the issue of gender stereotyping. Teacher notes: Sex and Gender | Statements about Men and Women

Activity G2

Students investigate historical views of gender and public imagery of gender roles. Transgender is introduced. Teacher notes: Gender Roles | HO Activity: World Upside Down | Audio File – World Upside Down

Activity G3

Investigate gender identity in Modern Society by examining social media profile options such as Facebook. Students discuss the implications of gender identity for individuals. Teacher notes: Gender Identities | HO Activity: Guardian Newspaper Article – Facebook | Student Activity: Humans are not binary

Activity G4

Students investigate challenges facing the LGBT community by critically reflecting on anti-bullying videos. Teacher notes: LBGT rights

Activity G5

Students conduct their own research on how gender affects their life choices and compare their choices with their peers globally. Teacher notes: How Gender and Sexuality Affects my Life Choices | Student Activity: How gender and sexuality affects my life choices

Activity G6

Students read case studies and discuss how gender affects life choices and opportunities in Africa and compare to life choices and opportunities in Ireland. Teacher notes: Gender Inequality | Student Activity: Case study Answer Sheet

Activity G7

Students examine the issue of Gender Based Violence. Students learn about Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C). Teacher notes: Gender Based Violence

Activity G8

Students learn about Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting and investigate the physical effects on women. Students view a film about FGM/C to understand the emotional effects on young women that undergo FGM/C. Teacher notes: Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting | Activity: Female Genitals and FGM (Powerpoint) | Student Activity: Film Review Sheet

Activity G9 (optional)

Students swatch Wadjda (2012) to explore gender inequality and culture. The film is about Wadjda: a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. | Check availability locally. Additionally it is available to rent from Irish online on-demand website Volta and Netflix.


Explore the online exhibition with 100 objects providing a snapshot of Irish engagement with global cultural, political and social issues over the past 50 years.