France is celebrating la Quinzaine du commerce équitable from 13 to 28 May. Fair Trade Fortnight has just finished in the UK and the Fairtrade Foundation has some great films and lesson plans that make it easy to discuss Fair Trade with your classes.
The Fair Trade Picture Quiz is a good starter – it is a set of photos of common commodities in their raw forms – from cashew nuts to cocoa beans. Most of us don’t recognise them so it’s a natural hypothesising activity and a good way to realise how little we know about the basic foods we eat and how they are produced.
This lesson plan from Comic Relief about Fair Trade chocolate has two very concrete diagrams showing what goes into a milk chocolate bar, and what proportions of the price paid for the bar goes to different actors in the supply chain.
The downloadable assembly here is in fact a ready-made little drama activity, with pupils playing stall holders selling chocolate. It’s usable from A2+ (or lower with some simplification).
This downloadable film about Fairtrade footballs is perfect for classrooms. Footballs may seem odd as a candidate for a Fairtrade product: as the presenter points out, you can’t grow a football. But the main focus here is on Fairtrade combatting child labour, and also on the concept of playing fair, which fits well into the EMC and parcours du citoyen curricula. There is a slideshow presentation of the same material. The slideshow works well at A2, and can then be followed by the film to review what was learned. Or assign the documents to different groups and have them compile what they learned. The part of the film covered in the presentation starts at 1’15”. The previous part is a short introduction to what fair trade is. It could be used alone, or as part of a sequence about fair trade footballs. The full film alone can be used from B1
Don't Feed Exploitation
This is an advert the Fairtrade Foundation produced for British TV. The scenario is fairly simple and pupils don’t need to understand all that’s said to understand the message – when people are offered fruit and vegetables at cheap prices they don’t realise that means the farmers in developing countries who grow the food have to work in difficult conditions, including having their children work. The main points are driven home in text, so overall it’s understandable from A2. In lycée, it connects well with the geography curriculum on globalisation and development.
My Next Fairtrade Adventure is a series of downloadable films which recently won a Geographical Association Publishers’ Award. There are versions for 7-11 and 11-14-year-olds. Even the 7-11 one is challenging for language learners. The delivery is slow but both the language and the concepts are relatively sophisticated. It’s worth persevering though from B1, because the contrast between the sustainably-run Fair Trade tea plantation, and the one over the hill where the river has dried up due to overuse and the planting of thirsty, non-native trees to sell as firewood is beautifully concrete and persuasive.
This is the trailer for the series:
The French Fair Trade site has information in French that would be useful for cross-curricular work with your geography colleagues.
This document with figures would be excellent for lycée classes in geography or SES.
The World Fairtrade Challenge provides all that you need to download for a Fairtrade celebration: recipes, bunting and party hats as well as posters telling the stories of Fairtrade farmers.