The RELIEF Centre Future Education Team have launched the MOOC: Transforming Education in Challenging Environments on 24 June, in both English and Arabic on the platforms FutureLearn and Edraak respectively. In Arabic the MOOC is called: Educators for Change. There are currently nearly 5000 participants across both platforms.
The MOOC runs over four weeks. During the first week the participants, who are educators from around the world, started with reflecting on their learning experiences, emphasising the importance of active learning, and special teachers who “taught from the heart”. The participants also shared their ideas of how teachers can be “lonely learners”, however, connecting to other educators changed this experience and the participants mentioned how now they can see the value of social learning.
Teachers, even with limited resources, can make a positive change in teaching and learning environments
The participants shared some amazing stories and rich experiences of how teachers, even with limited resources, can make a positive change in the teaching and learning environments. Inspired by videos that feature educators who work in refugee contexts in Lebanon, the participants highlighted the similarities in the contexts they work in and the challenges they face.
Through this MOOC, which is a collaborative space, the participants were able to share their creative experiences and advice on how to mitigate and face challenges in the different and diverse teaching and learning environments. The participants also discussed the use of technology in the classroom and have been enthusiastic about its use and repeatedly emphasising how it can enhance and transform the learning environment. But they said that technology should not be used for its own sake; pedagogy needs to come first. Hence, they discussed utilising the environment around them to create a stimulating learning and teaching process particularly in situations where technology is not available and resources are scarce.
The participants were encouraged to engage with their students/learners and ask them about their opinion, needs and aspirations. The participants used Padlet as a tool to share the feedback from their learners and ways teachers use to stimulate the teaching and learning process. The Padlet included positive contributions such as: using singing and acting in the classroom, sports activities, and using circle time.
The participants also created some amazing visuals to express the principles of a good learning environment. They created a word cloud that highlighted the words: acceptance, respect, equality, cooperation, communication and justice and much more. On Edraak (the Arabic platform) 1144 participants contributed to the word cloud activity to create this expressive, informative and beautiful visual.
In week two, the participants will be engaging in discussions and activities covering more theoretical aspects of the students living and learning environments and how to deal with controversial issues in the classroom.
Find out more about the Transforming Education in Challenging Environments MOOC