These are questions that emerge when planning and developing training programs and curricula aiming for capacity building for staff and students at the university level. Within the framework of OLIVE, capacity building workshops for university lecturers in Birzeit run throughout the project focusing on the planning, implementation and re-evaluation of existing and newly-planned courses.
For sustainable development and education renewal, our joint efforts are now focusing on topical areas including equality and equity; teacher identity; the role of assessment; pedagogical leadership; theoretical and philosophical background in mentoring; student-centeredness; and diversity and inclusive thinking.
The scope, content and aims of these thematic areas were discussed and views were exchanged during the workshop of OLIVE on 1 June 2022. This time the workshop was organized by our partner University of Eastern Finland and gathered participants from Al-Azhar University Gaza, Birzeit University, the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki.
The main strands of the discussion in our workshop session and the views expressed involved both theoretical and practical aspects. Teacher identity, for example, is a theoretical concept and needs to be approached from a variety of perspectives. These perspectives have been brought forward and analyzed by western scholars (the French philosopher of language Paul Ricoeur is one example) and non-western thinkers (the Palestinian post-colonial philosopher Edward Said is one example). A multi-dimensional, inclusive approach is, therefore, needed when building up a program of learning about the philosophy and the theories underlying mentoring.
Equality and equity has been another thought-provoking topic with a variety of views being articulated at the workshop. These included more practical aspects, for instance, how to identify and deal with situations of bullying and other forms of aggression in the classroom. More theoretical considerations linked equity issues with other topical areas, such as the need for more participatory and action research in education, identifying and raising awareness of stereotypes, and the role of the teacher in critical moments and tensions in the classroom.
As these areas are both topical and multi-dimensional, more discussions are needed on the scope and content of these joint programs. Technology and its role in this collaborative endeavor, for example, is another important parameter that needs to be addressed in future meetings and events.
We will be back with more soon!