A Way Forward for Middle School Students

November 28, 2011


IYF’s Life Skills staff working closely with club facilitator.

At Halima Saadia Middle School in El Jadida, a coastal Moroccan city, teachers are experiencing a new way of teaching. From their traditional monologue-style of instruction, teachers now communicate and interact with students during school-based club meetings that focus on developing personal skills, such as self-confidence, listening, respect for others, and negotiation.

During a visit by Project ITQANE staff to the school in May 2011, project staff observed Mrs. Meryem Chahbi El Alaoui, one of 9 teachers in her region selected to participate in the first “portable and adaptable skills” training session held in March 2011, giving her 6th lesson to 24 seventh graders. The students were excited about this new activity, discovering that there are different ways of learning, and were interacting and participating energetically with the teacher and amongst themselves.

Mrs. Alaoui was selected to lead school club activities at Halima Saadia using the International Youth Foundation (IYF)’s Passport to Success program, which supports the Moroccan National Ministry’s competency-based curriculum and is being implemented in the framework of the Improving Training for Quality Advancement in National Education (ITQANE) project activities. ITQANE is a four-year project implemented by Creative Associates International and made possible by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project’s aim is to support the Moroccan National Education Ministry in the implementation of its Emergency Plan for education by improving the quality and relevance of education offered in middle schools across Morocco.

IYF’s contribution to the project consists in developing training materials and conducting training sessions on portable and adaptable skills that are derived from their Passport to Success Program for teachers, trainers and school leaders in the targeted middle schools. The Passport to Success program equips young people with a range of skills that will help them stay in school and get the education, professional skills, and confidence they need to succeed in life.

Self-esteem, negotiation, and teamwork are competencies that impact the quality of student learning, which is why ITQANE is working with the Ministry’s School Life department in order to integrate IYF’s Passport to Success methods and activities into its curriculum, developing and adopting new approaches that enable teachers to explore students’ abilities and make them feel better at school.

“When other teachers learned about the new club’s activities, many of them wondered why they were not selected and asked to be part of the training sessions soon”, said Mrs. Naïma Abu Lyatime, Halima Saadia’s principal, “I noticed a very positive impact of the activities on teachers and pupils and sincerely hope that these trainings will be shared with all schools.”

“Since the beginning of the training session and the development of the new modules for students, I realized the role these activities have had in changing my own behavior and those of my students. My teaching approach is different,” Mrs. El Alaoui said; “I also noticed that my relationships with students are better, right from the first session.”

Fatima Zohra El Karkachi, a 7th grade student at Halima Saadia Middle School in El Jadida, Morocco.

“I love those activities, especially the way our teacher is treating us” said Fatima Zohra El Karkachi, a 7th grade student at Halima Saadia. “Before attending this club, I had no self-confidence. Now I can speak to a large group, even people I don’t know. I wish all teachers could have the same behavior – it really makes us love school!!”

Observers were impressed by the quality of participation and the great enthusiasm of the students during the activity. At the end of the class, a young girl came in and asked for the permission to register in the club activities.

-Mounya El Asri, ITQANE Communications Specialist

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