Rowaida Al-Jariri’s classroom is a door to worlds beyond the lives of her students. Her belief that English language teaching can be a platform for much broader learning is expressed in a variety of creative ways. Al-Jariri uses community work as a means of providing real life experiences for her students that take them to new places and people, while also giving back.
Al-Jariri has an on-going commitment to supporting the children in the Ghaza Refugee camp in Jerash, Jordan. She works with her students to develop community projects to provide support to young refugees. They visited the camp, and got to know the young people living there. Together they devised a project to provide greater access to education. This involved fundraising to pay for school fees, stationary and equipment, including wheelchairs. Al-Jariri’s students also organised for corporate donations of computers, and educational toys and books for the camp’s library.
Al-Jariri uses cooperative learning strategies, which organise groups of students into smaller teams who work together to achieve learning objectives. Another project her students have been involved in is renovating a neglected historical tourist location in central Amman. The Nymphaeum, a Roman public fountain, had been largely forgotten. The students organised events, such as lunches, performances and live music to bring people onto the site. They also raised money to make improvements.
The most recent project undertaken by Al-Jariri and her students provides medical support to the people in Ghaza Refugee camp. They collected over $14,000 towards equipment for the clinic in the camp, which was used to buy wheelchairs, hearings aids and medicine. The students’ work has inspired the involvement of their parents and teachers, as well as others from their community. One of Jordan’s most successful businessmen was inspired by Al-Jariri’s students to commission a garden to be built for a local orphanage.
In addition, Al-Jariri established the Generation Global project within her school. This is led by the Tony Blair Foundation and gives students the opportunity to connect with their peers around the world. Their creative and enthusiastic engagement yielded an award for Best School in the Middle East.
The students have also been recognised in the English Language Olympics three years in a row, winning Best Community Service twice and Best Impact in 2018. Their exam results were so good this year that Al-Jariri was awarded most outstanding teacher in the school in recognition. Individual students have won awards for their creative writing, including one who came first in Ministry of Education national competition.
Al-Jariri is a keen advocate of the methods she uses in her teaching, and shares them with her colleagues, both in her own school and others. She provides training and materials to support her approach, which advocates making time to connect with each individual student to understand what they need to learn effectively. She was awarded Most Inspirational Teacher in Jordan as part of the Queen Rania awards in 2018.