Jerash: Edition 12 of the Summer School: Drama in a Learning Context launched
On Sunday evening, 29 July 2018, the Summer School: Drama in a Learning Context was launched. For the 12th year in a row, the Summer School has been organised by the Educational Research and Development Programme (ERDP) / A.M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) in the Jordanian city of Jerash. A total of 103 male and female teachers from Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and Sudan participate in this year’s edition of the Summer School.
Since the advertisement for enrolment was released in March 2018, the AMQF received dozens of applications to participate in the Summer School. The Foundation conducted interviews with teachers and selected 39 participants from across Palestine and the Arab world to enrol in the first year level. In addition to 27 in the second year, 28 participants were enrolled in the third year level, where they will receive a certificate in Drama in a Learning Context. Nine teachers were also selected to participate in a coaching session.
The first-year foundation course is a product of collaboration between the AMQF, Madrasati Palestine Initiative, and Amman National School. The course targets teachers engaged in programmes of these three organisations with a view to increasing the outreach of the Drama in a Learning Context programme throughout the Arab region.
The coaching session marks a new milestone for engagement with teachers. Wasim Al-Kurdi, ERDP Director, stated: “In light of our ongoing reviews, this year’s experience of the Summer School will provide a new milestone for engagement with teachers. We will examine the potential to scale up this experience. The Summer School programme will be offered throughout the year. Accordingly, we can engage with teachers more intensively than before. In this context, we will work with a group of teachers, who will graduate from the Summer School this year, within the coaching programme. Coaching is a cultural, intellectual and pedagogical programme that contributes to bolster bonds between retired and new teachers in the context of a dialogue programme. It also contributes to developing, reflecting on, evaluating and criticising educational plans and applications.”
Courses revolve around using drama in a learning context, providing teachers with a theoretical and practical background in process drama, mantle of the expert, aesthetics of drama, and highlighting the story through these aesthetics. These are all teaching methods that seek to engage students in the learning process. Students are not just recipients in this process. Without an advance text, courses are developed over the course of working with teachers. Providing stations for exploration and a set of tensions, courses are designed to revisit the human experience and help students to learn critical skills in education and life.
The ERDP aims to enrich the Summer School programme by organising evening classes on school days. In addition to classes on drama planning, two workshops on cinema as well as film screenings will be presented this year.
Coming from diverse backgrounds, the teaching staff of the Summer School include Al-Kurdi, Malik Al-Remawi, Vivian Tannous and Motasem Atrash from Palestine; Kostas Ameropolos from Greece; and Maggie Halson and Tim Taylor from the United Kingdom.
The Summer School: Drama in a Learning Context is a structural component of a long-term programme. At the conclusion of the annual encounter, participants present a summary of the Summer School courses, supported by readings provided by the ERDP. This is followed by taking part research writing sessions and extensive workshops. Teachers are required to develop a blueprint for classroom teaching experiences. Then, they develop and apply they plan in their own classes. Outputs are evaluated by the academic staff of the Summer School in preparation for enrolment in the next level.
According to Al-Kurdi, this edition of the Summer School is paralleled by expanding activities of the AMQF, programmes, new Cultural Centre, and ERDP projects. “This qualitative and quantitative expansion presents us with new challenges in the Drama in a Learning Context programme. The links between this programme and various professional development initiatives and other creative art facilities at the AMQF will be consolidated,” Al-Kurdi said.
It is worth noting that the Summer School: Drama in a Learning Context has been organised every year since 2007. Over the past years, the school has brought together over 600 teachers from Palestine and nine other Arab countries, namely, Jordan, Sudan, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Oman, Lebanon, and Mauritania.