Our Products' Journey Going global – the garment industry

Introduction

Background information and didactical perspective

The majority of our clothing and footwear is produced in Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe. Production is outsourced mainly because workers in other parts of the world are much cheaper and trade unions have little influence. As a result, basic human and labor rights are violated daily in the manufacture of our clothing. In order to be able to understand and reflect the correlations of their own consumer behavior, the global economy and the poor working conditions in the textile factories, students have to be introduced to the complex topic in a multi-perspective way. This module is intended to support teachers across disciplines in integrating this problem into teaching practice. Following the approach of student orientation, the learner's world of life and experience is the starting point of the learning process.

Learning outcomes

Competencies
Changing perspective; handling complexity; understanding diversity; making connections between local and global contexts;
Topics / National curriculum
Ability to exercise critical judgement on political processes and act in the political sphere; the economy; globalisation; diversity;
Our Products' Journey
  • Suitable age
    13-16
  • Time frame
    4 x 45 min.
  • Required materials
    board/flip chart; buttons; dice; blank flashcards; smartphones/computer with internet access for students; mounting material (magnets/tape/push pins); moderation cards; seewing needles; blank note cards; colored A4 printing paper; pens; computer with internet access and attached projector; mobile phone or other recording device; writing utensils (as needed); white board; scraps of wool and fabric; computer workstations or mobile terminals; world map;
  • Description
    T-shirts, jeans, and more - our wardrobe takes us on a journey through the global garment industry. Both the good and bad included.
  • Subjects / Topics
    Biology Communication Cosmopolitan issues Dialogue Diversity English Ethics/Religion Geography History IT Language Media Education Political Studies Signs Social Studies/Civic Education Social Learning Symbols

Lesson plan

Abbreviations:

  • A = Activity
  • D = Discussion
  • GW = Group work
  • HW = Homework
  • PW = Partnerwork
  • PTS = Previous Teacher’s Study
  • PO = Pupils opinions
  • PP = Pupil’s presentations
  • TP = Teacher’s presentation

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As an introduction, students engage with products from their everyday lives as a means to the realization that they are also global citizens.

Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(15 min.)

Globalization Bingo

To get started, Students play “globalization bingo” through which they come to know and reflect on global interconnections and the influence of these connections on their own lives.

Objective
  • Students are able to see, reflect on, and discuss global interconnections and their influence on the reality of one’s everyday life.
Preparation
  • 1 copy per student of the worksheet Globalization Bingo
  • If needed, 1 writing utensil per student
Execution
  • Step 1 Pass out the worksheet “Globalization Bingo” and writing utensils, if needed, and explain the rules of the game: Students move around the room and ask each other questions (see the worksheet “Globalization Bingo”). If a person answers “yes” to a question, this person is to sign their name in the field where the question is printed. Whoever has collected at least nine (different) signatures in nine (different) fields can call out “BINGO”.
  • Step 2 After most everyone has called out “BINGO”, have all students sit down on the floor in the form of a circle to reflect on the activity. Ask them, for example:
    • Did you like this exercise?
    • Was this exercise easy/difficult for you?
    • Did you learn something new? If so, what? If not, why not?
    • Did learn something interesting about someone else?
    • Which question was answered “yes” the most often? Which question the least often?
    • Are you surprised at how many things in your life have to do with globalization?
  • A
M1
Worksheet “Globalization Bingo”
Additional material
  • writing utensils (as needed)

Main section + discussion
(30 min.)

Who Actually Made My T-Shirt?

Using the cards, Students take a look at the complexity of the international division of labor and the actors involved, determining how much individual actors earn from one piece of clothing.

Objective
  • Students are able to describe the globalized process of garment production, as well as to assign stakeholders to individual production stages and to determine their corresponding profit share
Preparation
  • For each Students, 1 copy of the images Global Products, of the cards Production Stages & Countries, the Stakeholders cards, as well as the Info sheet T-Shirt Price Break-Down
  • Map of the world
  • Mounting material (magnets, tape, push pins)
Execution
  • Step 1

    Allow Students to guess in which country or region the most

    • cotton (China)
    • bananas (India)
    • footballs (Pakistan)
    • cacao beans (Ivory Coast)
    • coffee beans (Brazil)
    • leather products (India)

    are produced. Mark these locations on the map with the images Global Products and mounting materials.

  • Step 2 Ask Students to look at the tag on one of the pieces of clothing they have on to see where it was manufactured (Made in xy). Place a magnet or something similar onto the map for each place named.
  • Step 3

    Point to the image of cotton (Global Products) and ask Students if they can imagine how a T-shirt can be made from these fibers. Stick the cards Production Stages & Countries in any order on the board or lay these cards out on the floor.

    The Students’ task is to put these cards in order. Have Students look for those countries on the map in which individual stages of production occur. They can use a piece of wool or thread to mark the path from the first point to the last. Mention some of the problems associated with production: environmental problems caused by cotton cultivation, violation of the rights of factory workers, competition between big companies and much more (see “Subject Information” - complemented after completion).

  • Step 4 Have the Students match the individual steps within the production chain to the most important stakeholders (Stakeholders). Explain what a stakeholder is (info box Stakeholders). Some stages apply only to individual stakeholders, some to more than one interest group. Discuss what different wishes and goals these stakeholders might have. Which wishes and goals are compatible? Which stand to compete with one another?
  • Step 5 Following the example in the T-Shirt Price Break-Down info sheet, draw an empty table (without numbers) on the board. Students will then estimate which share of the 29 EUR sale price for a T-shirt falls to which interest group. Then fill in the table correctly. Ask the following questions for reflection:
    • Is this what you expected?
    • Is this a fair split?
    • What could be the reasons for this?
  • D
  • PO
  • TP
  • A
M2
Images “Global products”
M3
Cards “Production Stages and Countries”
M4
Cards “Stakeholders”
M5
Info sheet “T-Shirt Price Break-Down”
Additional material
  • world map
  • mounting material (magnets/tape/push pins)

How and where is clothing made, and who makes it? This board game is all about capturing, hands-on, the many steps in garment production across the globe.

Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(10 min.)

Around the World of Garments

Objective
  • Students are able to analyze provided information, identify ecological and social challenges associated with the global garment industry, and explain this to a third party.
Preparation
  • 1 copy per group of the info booklet Travel Guide and the info sheet Trip Invitation
  • 1 copy per group of Playing Cards on colored paper and Game Board
  • Preparation of the classroom for uninterrupted play in small groups
Execution
  • Form groups of max. 5 Students. One member of each group assumes the role of the travel guide, the others assume the role of journalists. Provide each group with the info sheet Trip Invitation and explain the rules of the game (see the info booklet Travel Guide). The aim of the game is for Students to gather as much information as possible and to then, as journalists, inform an interested public about the challenges associated with the global garment industry.

    Possible formats for this are:

    • Plan a panel discussion
    • Write an article
    • Compose an invitation to a press conference
    • Create a press kit
    • Write a concept for a TV-documentary

  • TP
M6
Info sheet “Travel Guide”
M7
Info sheet “Trip Invitation”
M8
Cards
M9
Game board
Additional material
  • colored A4 printing paper
  • scraps of wool and fabric
  • writing utensils (as needed)
  • seewing needles

Main section
(40 min.)

  • Students play the game on their own, under the direction of the Travel Guide. If necessary, help the Travel Guide with their role.
  • A

Homework (optional)
(50 min.)

  • Students complete their task (see “Possible Formats” under Step 1 as homework).
  • HW

Students engage with human rights and labor laws in the garment industry and reflect on their own professional wishes and goals.

Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(15 min.)

Human Working Conditions

Labor law? What’s that and what does it have to do with me and with garment workers in Asia? These are only some of the questions Students will be answering about labor laws.

Objective
  • Students are able to assert their professional goals, name fundamental labor laws , and argue for their importance for themselves and for others.
Preparation
  • 1 copy of the Labor Laws cards
  • 1 copy per Students of the Info sheet “Rights at Work
  • Mounting material (magnets/tape/push pins)
Execution
  • Step 1 Make a circle with chairs and ask Students the following (some examples):
    • Has one of you had a job before (traineeship, at home or on a farm/at a hotel)? or would one of you like to work?
    • Under what sort of conditions would you like to work?
    • For whom and with whom would you like to work?
  • Step 2 Explain to the Students that they as employees have certain fundamental rights, which they should expect to be honored. Present to them the six rights represented by the Labor Laws cards. Pass around the info sheet Rights at Work and have the Students read this aloud. Spread the Labor Laws cards around the room. Ask Students to stand by the card with the law that they consider to be most important. Then, ask the following questions:
    • Which law is the most important, in your opinion, and why?
    • Are certain rights missing from these laws and did this surprise you?
    • Why do you think rights at work are important?
  • Step 3 Explain to the Students that they should switch to different cards, if they change their opinion in the course of the discussion. Ask, for example, why their opinion has changed. Once all Students have made their final card selection, emphasize that there are no right or wrong answers, as all rights are equally important. Point out to the group that employees in many countries are denied their rights. Students will come to know one example of this in the exercise “Kalpona Akter – a life story out of Bangladesh”.
  • TP
  • PO
M10
Cards “Labor Laws”
M11
Info sheet “Rights at Work”
Additional material
  • mounting material (magnets/tape/push pins)

Discussion
(30 min.)

Kalpona Akter – a life story out of Bangladesh

The everyday reality of an individual garment worker in Bangladesh and original texts from international labor law: Students are provided with the tools to formulate what they would like to see changed.

Objective
  • Students can describe the living situation of a garment worker in Asia , name original texts on international labor laws , and determine what they would like to see changed given this information.
Preparation
  • Computer with internet connection and a projector to show the video “You can safely invest in Bangladesh” (9:25 min.)
  • 1 copy of the Info sheet International Labor Laws
  • Moderation cards
Execution
  • Step 1 Show the video You can safely invest in Bangladesh
  • Step 2 Have Students briefly provide feedback on the film:
    • How did you like the film?
    • How do you feel right now?
    • What did you learn from this film?
  • Step 3

    Explain to the Students that comprehensive international norms and regulations exist to protect workers, which are codified as national law in most countries (see the Info sheet International Labor Laws. Two examples for this are:

    • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    • The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Fundamental Conventions, a specialized agency of the United Nations

    Discuss with Students labor laws in theory and practice. To get started, you can have Students read aloud parts of the Info sheet International Labor Laws.

  • Step 4

    As an opportunity for reflection, have Students complete the following sentence on the moderation cards:

    • I wish for Kalpona that all workers in the garment industry… “

    You might also put together a wishing tree for Kalpona with the Students’ responses.

  • TP
  • D
M12
Info sheet “International Labor Laws”
Additional material
  • smartphones/computer with internet access for students
  • moderation cards

Students examine their own responsibility as global citizens and get to know alternative behaviors.

Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(15 min.)

Fashion Test

With the Fashion Test, Students examine their own consumer behavior and come to understand that everyone can practice conscious consumption of fashion – without engaging in finger-wagging.

Objective
  • Students can determine their consumer behavior for themselves, compare with others, and examine for social and ecological aspects.
Preparation
  • 1 copy for each Students of the worksheet Fashion Test
Execution
  • Step 1 Pass out the worksheet Fashion Test and have Students complete and interpret the results. If necessary, help with interpretation.
  • Step 2 Record on the board how many Students belong to which “fashion type”.
  • Step 3 Ask Students if they would identify with this fashion type (why or why not) and what sticks out to them about this type of consumption – Students can name positive or negative aspects. Emphasize that no fashion type is better or worse than the others and that all types can, in their own way, be consciously consumed.
  • A
  • PO
  • TP
M13
Worksheet “Fashion Test”

Main section + discussion
(30 min.)

Alternative Behaviors

From policy to me, the consumer, everyone can help make working conditions better. Students tackle how to do this in small groups.

Objective
  • Students are able to talk about the potential influence of different stakeholders, put together concrete alternative behaviors , and provide reasons to support these behaviors .
Preparation
  • 1 copy of the info sheet Alternative Behaviors
  • Preparation of a table using the following template:
    • Policy
    • Brand-name company
    • Consumer
    • Workers’ rights organization/NGO
Execution
  • Step 1 Form four groups. Give each group one of the cards from the info sheet Alternative Behaviors
  • Step 2 Each group reads their cards and comes up with at least two concrete ideas on how each of the stakeholders could improve working conditions along the production chain.
  • Step 3 Students present their ideas briefly to the group. Gather their ideas together on the board.
  • Step 4 Discuss these ideas in the group. It is important that every suggestion be taken seriously. Add to the alternative behaviors, if applicable.
  • Step 5 Close the module with a collective reflection round. Concentrate on reaching the personal level with the Students and on alternative behaviors and consumers.
  • PP
  • D
  • PO
M14
Info sheet “Alternative Behaviors”