It was a proud day for teachers participating in the Blended Approach to Teacher Training (BATT) programme, as they graduated from the psycho-social skills component of the training in Amman, Jordan.
The BATT programme falls under a UNESCO-led project striving to enhance access to secondary education for youth affected by the Syrian crisis. With generous funding from the European Union and the Saudi Fund for Development, the UNESCO Amman office, in partnership with The Queen Rania Teacher’s Academy (QRTA) has been implementing the pilot project in select schools across Jordan.
BATT promotes a combination of face-to-face and online delivery methods and teaches psycho-social support skills to teachers throughout the Kingdom. BATT has been shown to influence teachers’ perceptions of the learning environment and subsequently improve upon teaching practices.
Educators from across 12 schools attended the graduation ceremony, which was held at the Queen Rania Secondary School in Amman’s Abdoun neighbourhood.
Programme Manager Taraf Ghanem welcomed graduates and thanked the donors, UNESCO, QRTA and all the teachers who took part in the programme, saying that that the teacher training had strongly contributed to improving the quality of education in Jordan.
Sumayyah Al Muhtaseb delivered remarks to the crowd, affirming the value of this training and noting that the benefits of well-trained teachers trickle down into the community, as learning outcomes improve for students.
“Life-long learning starts with you,” Muhtaseb said.
Graduates were given time to share within their groups and discussed success stories they had observed as a result of their psycho-social support skills training.
A graduate from each group then climbed onto the stage to share these stories with the audience.
One teacher told the story of a Syrian refugee student in first grade who had been traumatized by the conflict. She used to cry every day saying that she hated school. Using their new-found support skills, the teachers began to counsel the girl and encouraged her to discuss her fears openly. They reassured her that she was safe and that school was a secure environment where she would not be harmed. The teachers engaged her family and they all worked together to encourage the young girl to attend classes daily and to ensure that she felt supported by staff and students alike. After one semester, the girl had become more joyful and showed excitement about learning.
Prior to the BATT project training, the teachers complained that they would not have known how to support struggling students or understand the psychological trauma experienced by vulnerable students across schools in Jordan.
Deya, a teacher who volunteered to be involved in the training, explained that he had been struggling to deal with refugee students grappling with integration.
“The BATT training taught me that teachers need to get involved in ensuring the well-being of students and practice patience and understanding when dealing with students from different cultures,” he said.
UNESCO strives to promote education in Jordan as a fundamental human right. Supporting and strengthening teacher training is a top priority, adding strategic value by improving the quality of education and fostering an integrated approach to teaching professional development at the school level.
UNESCO’s added-value can be found in strengthening national capacities, striving to encourage and facilitate access, relevance and equity in the delivery of education services to all beneficiaries, including Syrian refugees.
The BATT initiative represents a strong example of inclusive programming. It is clear that the effects of the programme have not just been felt at the student level, but have permeated to a school level, gaining strength with each and every student not left behind.