University academics helping to modernise TEFL teaching in Palestine
A project involving four University of Wolverhampton academics that aims to modernise the teaching of English as a foreign language in Palestine is nearing its final stages.
The three-year Erasmus+ project has been targeting students, academics, technicians and teachers in higher education settings in Palestine to develop flexible curricula, with face-to-face and online courses, that are accessible to all learners.
Professor John Traxler, Dr Howard Scott, Dr Matt Smith and Dr Brendan Bartram from the University have been developing training materials, delivering training events and training the trainers.
The course materials were worked on with the Palestinian partners and colleagues at Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany following the final international visit to Wolverhampton at the end of 2019. The team have been looking at the pedagogies that underpin the delivery of the materials in order to create a handbook to accompany them.
As the training materials neared completion, Professor Traxler supported the development of quality assurance procedures. He said: “It was vital for a sustainable outcome for these processes to be embedded and owned by Palestinian academics in the future.
“We’ve been working on underlying principles, such as responsibility, collegiality, sustainability, visibility and reflection. This is clearly a slow process and needs commitment and consistency.”
The project was originally launched at the beginning of 2019 at Anadolu University, Turkey. In April that year, Palestinian partners from higher education institutions came to Wolverhampton for a three-day course, including workshops, conference sessions and college visits.
Dr Scott and Dr Smith then spent a week in Ramallah where, through visits to universities, they increased their understanding of context and unpicked what Palestinian teachers felt was necessary to support the materials they were creating and how they wanted to deliver them. Dr Smith described it as “a really powerful week”.
Near the end of 2019, another visit to Wolverhampton was hosted, in which Palestinian teachers took part in training focused on developing constructivist approaches to active learning, teaching and assessment, including flipped learning and problem-based learning. The training looked at ways to embed these pedagogies in course material.
(Group photograph taken before the coronavirus pandemic)
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