Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

On Monday, we had the opportunity to meet with THE Minister of Education, the one who is appointed to the Ministry by the King himself.  His name is Dr. Ibrahim Badran.  It was a very official, yet comfortable meeting.  We sat around a large conference table, and he talked about the state of education in Jordan.

There were many parallels between Jordan's hopes and dreams for education and the U.S.'s hopes and dreams for education.  Some of the main points include increased salary for qualified, trained teachers, community involvement to enhance school environments, and curriculum that is innovative and non-static.  He stressed that students need to become problem solvers and critical thinkers.  The few items he did not touch upon was assessments (except the Tawji) and student learning.

A direct quote from the minister, "We have to emphasize the issue of education and innovation."

All of the teachers we have had a chance to talk to are a bit frustrated with the ministry because it is a top-down society, and the changes are very slow.  The public schools are still very much rote and recitation.

Tuesday was Arabic class.  We have learned almost all of the letters in the alphabet (27 out of 28) and now need to talk in sentences.  She seemed to pick on me a little bit this class!  Maybe because I had to miss a class last week, or maybe because I was right in front of her.  Who knows!  All I do know is I am learning this language very, very slowly.

We went to TWO malls on Tuesday afternoon.  Many stores were women's clothing stores, and the fashion reminded me of the London fashion scene.  I did have excellent raspberry and strawberry sherbet!

Wednesday, today, we had two meetings.  Aurora and I went to the Queen Rania Teacher Academy for an ESL Communicative language workshop.  We watched three teachers teach mini-lessons on persuasive speaking.  It was very similar to our own professional development workshops.  They had 3 days of practice, then today they applied the skills they learned.  It was a bit strange for me to be there without having been there for the other days, but very insightful to see how similar teachers are across the world - we are all HUMAN.  The biggest similarity I saw today with this workshop was that each teacher stated their objective and outcomes before beginning the lesson to make it clear for the students.

The second meeting was set up by the ministry of education.  This one was with the curriculum department.  There were about 8 different people from each subject area (ex. science, history, language).  We talked about what students study in each grade and how they are taught.  We were given actual textbook materials to take back to the states.  I got a first grade math workbook!  It is so cute, even though I can't read any of it yet! :)

After the meeting, we headed to a bookstore to pick up the book, Murder in the Name of Honor, by Rana Husseini.  It is a true story of a woman's heroic fight against honor killings.  The reason we went to get the book is because Jolanda got in touch with the author and we will be meeting her on Sunday!  I am so excited and will begin reading it as soon as I am done with this entry!

Tomorrow is more Arabic and the screening of the movie, Captain Abu Raed (will let you know about it after I see it).  There may be some of the actors from the movie at the screening!  Friday is Madaba and Mt. Nebo.  Then there is only ONE week left!  Yikes!  Time flies here in Jordan!

Until next time....

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