What were you thinking about as you chose which clothes to wear this morning? How cold it would be? What shoes would be most comfortable but still professional for a long day of work? I wonder how many of you thought about where the clothing came from, considered the working conditions of the factories that produced those items or contemplated the sustainability of the material used.
Our eighth graders just completed a project on the garment industry with the goal of informing their choices on what they wear. Through exhaustive research and interviews, our students uncovered information that has forever changed how they look at clothing. As part of a self-reflection, Mr. Pierce asked his students to comment on what was the most important thing that they learned. Below are a few examples:
Oliver: “I learned that “behind the scenes” of my shoes there are people barely staying alive with the money they make and are risking their lives because of the conditions of the factory they work in.”
Carmel: “My parents showed me one episod of a podcast where they talked about buying clothes sustainably, and how the average American citizen only wears one piece of clothing on average 7 times.
Part of this project was for the students to share what they learned with their parents and begin a conversation about family choices. Naomi wrote, “My father feels very encouraged that this topic, which was very difficult to research when he was in college, is now being taught to the younger generation. Because of this, companies may begin to change as the new generation pays more attention to their consumer habits.”
One of Yavneh’s fundamental beliefs is that “understanding is deepened through partnership”. By learning in community our students learn about taking the needs and perspectives of others into account as they form their own opinions.
By having students engage in global research (as opposed to social studies), our students learn about communities in community, sharing their learning with peers, teachers, parents and others in their world. These discoveries can impact the way in which they build relationships, how they experience the world, and ultimately, how they choose to live their lives and make a difference in the world. Through projects like the garment industry research project our students are able to live the words that inspired our fundamental belief: “If I am not for myself, who am I? If I am only for myself what am I? And if not now, when?” Pirke Avot 1:14.
Shabbat Shalom -Cindy