So far, Zeinab Mahmoud Nimr’s career as an Arabic teacher at UNRWA schools in Lebanon has been more exciting than she bargained for. In the course of ten years, she has witnessed a major transition in the way the Agency teaches its nearly half a million Palestine refugee students, moving from simple memorization to active and exciting interaction between teachers and students.
Even during her training, at the UNRWA Siblin Training Centre, Zeinab remembers that the Agency was keen to ensure that she and her classmates learned about the latest methodologies and innovations in education. Now, at the Yarmouk School in the Burj Barajneh Palestine refugee camp, ‘Miss Zeinab’ sees the results firsthand.
The most visible difference is in technology, which has made her students more passionate about their lessons. “We don’t just read the Arabic lesson anymore,” she explains. “Instead, we display it as a musical slideshow, which activates all of the senses and helps the students absorb the lesson.”
The real changes, though, are much deeper. Zeinab says that as a teacher, her job now is “to support each student’s independence and critical thinking by pushing them to ask for information and then express it in their own ways.” Teachers now work alongside psychological and social mentors to monitor students’ progress, treating each student as a complete individual whose development is in their care.
This World Teachers’ Day, Zeinab describes UNRWA education as a “fully integrated process,” bringing the student, the teacher, the parents, the school and the community together into a coherent system supporting the development of Palestine refugee children.ِ