Thursday, 6 December 2007

Where In The World Is Barnaby Bear?


You know all that fuss about Gillian Gibbons, the teacher whose class named a bear Mohammed in the Sudan? An interesting (or perhaps not, you be the judge) footnote to the whole mad incident, which incidentally left many Muslim friends and colleagues frustrated and irritated by the behaviour of the Sudanese, is that the bear's real name is likely to be Barnaby.

How do we know this? Because Gillian's a British teacher, she's likely to have been teaching Key Stage 1 of the British National Curriculum to her kids (it was a Year Two class, I believe) - and the geography curriculum involves a bear (rather a celebrated bear, Barnaby is a registered trademark of the Geographical Association and even has his own website). There are a number of ways of using Barnaby to teach young children geography - one common geographical activity involves using Barnaby Bear, who is taken home by the children in turn at the weekends - they then 'write up' where in the world Barnaby Bear went over the weekend. Fun, no?

This particular Barnaby, believed to still be in custody in the Sudan, is likely to have had a slightly more interesting diary than most...

4 comments:

P. B. said...

I do hate it so when people jump to rash assumptions about bears' names (the consequences of which can be sometimes be difficult to predict). The bear may in fact have come from Winnipeg (or darkest Peru for that matter) and go by a different name entirely.

Alexander said...

It may, indeed, have come from darkest Peru. I think we can assume Winnipeg's a no-no.

You will notice I was careful to mention that the bear 'is likely to be' originally called Barnaby precisely because I knew there are so many people out there who care deeply about correct bear nomenclature. And I would so hate to give offence to our ursine friends.

Petite For Life said...

She is lucky to be off the hood & out of the Sudan that fast and she should thank God & the British Muslims for helping her out with the Sudanese goverment.

Anonymous said...

well I am a Spanish teacher and I teach in a town near Madrid, up in the mountains. For a few years I have been a teacher at one of the MONTESSORI Schools here and I worked with BARNABY BEAR. Two years ago I started working in a Spanish School and we decided to include the bear's activities but it was a Spanish School as I said so we changed his name: OSITO PEPITO, a name that the childen could identify and consider their own. I think this project is fantastic asthere are hundreds of possibilities that can be done in the classroom, geography, history, language, maths, besides other things like responsability, independence, etc.
Why must we all keep on argueing about real nonsense as a NAME instead of working this great project with the children, no matter where they come from?

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