On Saturday, 29 July 2017, the Summer School: Drama in Education was concluded. For the 11th year, the Summer School has been organised by the Educational Research and Development Programme (ERDP) of the A. M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) in the Jordanian city of Jerash. In addition to teaching staff from Palestine, Britain, Greece and Australia, 92 teachers from Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Lebanon participated in this year’s edition of the Summer School.
Running for 10 days, the Summer School events were launched on Tuesday, 18 July 2017. Activities included a variety of courses, which introduced a theoretical background and practice in process drama, mantle of the expert and game construction. These are all educational techniques, which engage students in the learning process. Instead of passive learning, students are transformed into intellectual, critical individuals with a very rich imagination. The Summer School is grounded in the notion of relational, integrative learning.
Summer School encompasses evening sessions on script writing and drama planning. The films The Wanted 18 by Amer Shomali and Ghost Hunting by Raed Andoni were also screened.
“Drama is a global, rather than an exclusively Arab, perception,” Wasim al-Kurdi, Academic Director of the Summer School, stated. However, every human group can reconstruct global approaches in line with their relationship with their communities. Therefore, the programme has been adapted to the Palestinian approach and community. Drama is employed as a context to learn other disciplines, such as history, geography and science.
Muhannad al-Hajj, a teacher from Sudan, stressed that the Summer School gave solid knowledge of his objectives as a teacher. Al-Hajj declines traditional, regular education because it teaches different disciplines as they were detached from one another. On the other hand, drama provides a context, where sciences are integrated and placed within the framework of daily life. It brings students into a confrontation with a moral dilemma to help them take over their responsibilities and make decisions.
Fatima Mohammed, a Palestinian teacher, coincided: “Drama allows me to teach life values and skills in contexts which I create with my students. We explore these contexts without guidance or instruction regarding what I want myself. I allow room for my students to explore their own values at their own will.”
At the Summer School, the learning process is not limited to course sessions. Participants’ experience is then perfected through a mutual dialogue between participants themselves as well as with AMQF supporting teachers and researchers. They discuss and share reflections about the plans they intend to implement with their students.
Participants are divided into three levels: The beginner level is initiated in the first year and the advanced level in the second. In the third year, students receive a certificate in Drama in Education. To pass every year, participants submit required assignments, including readings in education and classroom applications in their own schools.
Lian Dreini, a school counsellor from Palestine, said she gained more confidence after she joined the second level this year. After she completed the beginner courses, she applied drama with her students last year. However, she faced some difficulties in adapting the drama plan to the changes created by actual work with students.
It is worth noting that the teaching staff of the Summer School: Drama in Education comprises Wasim al-Kurdi, Malek al-Rimawi, Vivian Tannous and Mu’tasem al-Atrash from Palestine; Kostas Ameropoulos from Greece; Maggie Halson and Tim Taylor from the United Kingdom; Christine Hatton from Australia; and supporting teachers Kawthar al-Barghouthi, Yousef al-Khawaja and Mohammed al-Khawaja.