International experts, Palestinian school teachers discuss advances in teacher training in Faculty of Education workshops

Palestinian teachers and school administrators discussed the best methods of training education majors at local schools in a series of workshops organized by Birzeit University’s Faculty of Education from July 31 through August 8, 2021. 

The workshops are part of the Teacher Education without Walls — New models for STEM and Teacher Education in the Digital Age Project (Olive), which aims to improve basic education in Palestine by training teachers on incorporating digital tools in teaching and learning activities, creating new online learning environments, and developing new pedagogical approaches better adapted to the information age.

Organized in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Education, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Finnish National Agency for Education, the University of Eastern Finland, and the University of Helsinki, the program focuses on updating modules in the education programs offered by Birzeit University and Al-Azhar University, the two partner institutions, in addition to developing the teacher training diploma to incorporate digital, virtual, and participatory activities and approaches. 

With the help of faculty and staff members from the University of Helsinki, connected through teleconferencing, 125 teachers from several schools in Ramallah, Al-Bireh, and Jerusalem explored how to equip teachers-in-training with the skills and knowledge to lead their own classrooms using student-centered approaches. Twenty five school administrators, on the other hand, discussed the necessary skills and methodologies that will allow them to facilitate, and develop, the teacher-training programs at their schools. 

Dr. Ahmad Aljanazrah, an assistant professor at Birzeit University’s Faculty of Education who serves as coordinator of the program, said that the series of workshops is the first of six such meetings that will see Palestinian teachers and school administrators connect with Finnish experts to establish a network of collaboration and exchange of best practices. Such a network, he added, will expand the ways in which teacher-training programs are carried out and organized, with the inclusion of peer- and self-learning methodologies and state-of-the-art activities and collaborative technologies.