Alternative Methods at an Alternative School

Last Monday, the Social Development Committee organized a workshop for teachers during a special school day at the independent Hiwar School for alternative learning. The workshop discusses the relationship between teacher and student and its vital role in promoting motivation to learn and sense of belonging to the school. Dr. Amer Jaraysi, education and communal therapy expert, directed and led the workshop.

The workshop presented techniques on how to build a student-teacher relationship and how to apply it in the classroom. Dr. Jaraysi and the teachers discussed the hardships that come with student-teacher interactions; this includes previous negative experiences and irrationally high or unrealistic expectations. He explained how to develop this relationship through positive support, individualized attention, and making house visits and phone calls when necessary.

Dr. Jaraysi and the teachers compared traditional student-teacher relationships to the desired modern student-teacher relationship, which centralizes closeness and attendance, mutual respect, not hurting feelings, and freedoms and wishes of both parties. Dr. Jaraysi sees it important to pinpoint the modern teacher’s power, which focuses on four pillars of censorship and presence: physical, emotional, behavioral, and collective attendance from the teacher.

Dr. Jaraysi also warned about the seven factors that could lead to aggressiveness in students: critique on negative behavior, arguments, logic, questioning negative behavior, mocking, threatening, and devastation. Successful techniques for problem solving between teacher and student were presented. The “ABCD” technique works on teachers’ explanation of a certain event, because slight differences in explanation can build different ideas and therefor interfere with the reaction. Another module: “Breath”; is considered an important tool to work on internal dialogue and rearticulating thoughts in order to have a wise conversation with the student.

The school administration and teachers praised the workshop. They recognize the vitality of such a program, and think it should continue. In her comment, Faiha Awad, SDC education activities director, says these activities are important because of the positive impression they leave on teachers. It encourages them to widen their horizons and adopt alternative teaching methods when handling students. These methods are part of “The Safe Community” project that the SDC has relied on for years to help achieve a safe and healthy environment inside and outside our schools.

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