Training Workshop Boosts Teachers’ Enthusiasm, Now Teaching More than a Job

March 12, 2010

Jordan’s Ministry of Education is committed to producing teachers whose skills are sought after in a knowledge economy. This strategic undertaking is being assisted by the U.S. Agency of International Development’s newly launched Education Reform Support Program (ERSP). Within the first nine months of implementation, ERSP is working hard to support training programs that boost the professional development of teachers.

In Jordan, teaching is a profession that has been historically regarded as boring. Teachers often felt static and lacked resources to foster creativity within their classrooms. This lack of enthusiasm was deadly to students’ motivation to learn.    Now, after participating in a series of four teacher training workshops, nearly 581 teachers have been given a glimpse of what their profession may be like as more than just a job.

“This is the first time I stay interested for three hours straight in a workshop, I would have definitely regretted it, if I had missed it!,” noted Ashraf, a teacher who was initially cynical about the outcome of the workshops. Accordingly, after the ERSP workshops, Ashraf and other teachers   are more motivated, and are gaining a greater understanding of the communication skills required to promote modern teaching techniques in their classrooms.

“This is the first time I stay interested in a workshop for three hours straight, I would have definitely regretted it, if I had missed it!,” said Ashraf, a teacher initially cynical about the outcome of the workshops.”

Over the course of six weeks, beginning in November 2009, 28 schools in 7 directorates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan participated in the ERSP-managed workshops. Inspired by the workshops, a group of teachers decided to experiment with a non-traditional classroom format. In this experiment, two teachers specializing in two different subjects jointly lead a class to create a multidisciplinary lesson.  In Irbid, a social studies and art teacher joined forces to create a class entitled, “Archeological Sites in Jordan.”

Spurring kids’ interest in education requires vision. The workshops’ neutral environment generated in-depth discussions between principals and teachers who together created a vision for each school.  This combined effort is leading to staff becoming personally invested in their school mission, fostering basic teamwork skills and laying the groundwork to improve relationships throughout the school community.

The workshops have also served as a catalyst for several participating schools to develop monthly magazines to serve as communication channels between teachers, students and parents.  “The magazine”, suggested one principal, “can develop in the future to also reach the local community to make them more aware of the schools’ accomplishments.”

ERSP is managed by Creative Associates International of Washington, D.C.

— Costandi Tadros

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