Below is an example given to the audience by Dr. Emna Ben Arab on how to think outside the textbook through enhancement and non-traditional activities:
Access enhancement activity
Theme : The environment/Peace
Title of the activity: Signing a peace treaty with Mother Earth
Objectives: •Raising students’awareness about environment issues
- Enhancing students’ research and debate skills
1- Making a huge planet out of garbage
*shaping it into a planet
*filming the whole process (movie production)
2-Researching arguments for ME in its debate (discussion, exchange) with the Awful Eight
3- The signing ceremony starts with:
* a debate (an exchange in the form of a play) between Mother Earth (ME on the stage and the voice behind the curtains) and the Awful Eight (air pollutants: soot, dust, toxins, carbon dioxide, carbon Monoxide, sulfur Dioxide, bad ozone, nitrogen oxides)
Mother Earth’s arguments are quotes from movies featuring stars such as Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Penélope Cruz… who star in films that warn people about the danger of pollution, overusing resources… (an effective way to raise awareness of environmental issues).
Examples of quotes:
“I have been here 22,500 times longer than you. I don’t really need people, But people need me”
“I am something humans take for granted, But there is only so much of me, and more and more of them every day.”
“I have fed species greater than you and I have starved species greater than you”
“Your actions will determine your fate, not mine.”
“Humans, I don’t owe them a thing. I give, they take. But I can always take back”
“They poison me then expect me to feed them. [But] I covered this entire planet once and I could always cover it again. That’s all I have to say.”
“Humans are so smart, such big brains, opposable thumbs. They know how to make things, amazing things. Why would they need an old forest like me any more? Jungles? Trees?”
“Well they do breathe air, and I make air. Have they thought about that? Humans, making air. That’ll be fun to watch.”
*The debate ends with an agreement that air pollutants are created by people, and it’s up to them to reduce the amounts that are in our atmosphere.
*To put that into practice, men and women get together (a number of students) sing “Wake up to reality, then sign a treaty: A PEACE TREATY WITH MOTHER EARTH which is a list of resolutions that they will observe in the future (planting trees, driving cars less, using less electricity, conserving forests…)
*Finish the show with a song “A song of peace”
On Sunday, October 18th, we organized the second round of Miss and Mr Access. As usual the talents were mind-blowing. However we had to choose two candidates only, the choice was difficult and the two finalist were Yasmine Chaari and Imen Masmoudi.
Enjoy the photos.
Sunday, October 11th has been declared by the United Nations as the International Day of the Girl.
This is an important topic for both girls and boys around the world that’s why the US Embassy held a panel event on October 17th to talk about this year’s theme—“The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.”
Three panelists were invited to speak and respond to questions from the audience.
Our Access students were involved in this event through the questions and comments below:
1. How could women improve the image of the girl in society? Eya Boukhris
2. Why is it important to have an international day of the girl? Yesmine Abid
3. How can society protect women from all kinds of violence? Khouloud Hmidi
4. How will a Tunisian adolescent girl look like in 2030? will their lives change from today? Ala Taktak
5. what are your plans in the future concerning the situation of the girl ? ” Ahmed Gdoura
6. How can you reach out to girls? Firas Najjar
” I think that the international day of the girl is not for a specific day it’s for all days” Ahmed Gdoura
” I think that it’s very important to have an international day of the girl only if we, as a society, take action, otherwise it’s not important to have such a day” Achraf Trabels
Please find below the link to the video of the event, hosted on Google drive, for you to watch:
THE US ROCK BAND BURN THE BALLROOM IN SFAX AT SCHOOLING PLUS!
Schooling Plus had the privilege to host on Sunday October 4th the US rock band BURN THE BALLROOM!
Our Access students danced, sang and had a lot of fun with the band!
In a Q and A session they learnt a lot about how Allen, Jack, Thomas, Sterling and Justin got together and formed this formidable group, who inspired each one of them, their aspirations…
ABOUT BURN THE BALLROOM
Burn The Ballroom is a rock project out of Northern Virginia (USA). It was
founded by singer and guitarist Alan Gant (also known as Adriel Genet)
in 2012. The band ultimately came together in 2013 with addition of Jack
Ivins (drums) and Sterling Pearson (lead guitar). Keyboardist Tuomas Easton
finalized the lineup in mid-2014. BTB is currently joined by touring-bass player
Driven by power instrumentation and anthemic melodies and lyrics, BTB
blurs the lines between anthem, rock, punk, Alternative, and Popular Music.
Enjoy the photos!
On Sunday, July 26th, our Access students competed to win the title of Miss and Mr. Access. The first round of the competition included a talent show part in which our students sang, danced, drew, acted and painted. The second part of the contest was a speech delivered by students in which they talked about the impact of the Access program on their lives and what are their goals after the program is over.
Here are some photos.
On Wednesday June 10, the intermediate Access students, together with their teachers, visited Almouroua organization. Its mission is to provide mentally retarded kids with the appropriate care and support services for a better life. The students and teachers offered gifts to thekids and had fun with them. The head of the organization gave a presentation about the mission, staff, and services provided to the kids and the challenges they are facing.
On June 3rd, American journalists paid a visit to Schooling Plus to conduct an interview with the school’s co-founder and the Access Program coordinator, Dr. Emna Ben Arab
, and to film classes in action.
Below are photos and videos of an Access class in the music club.
The video is filmed for the count of the George W. Bush Institute’s Women Fellowship Initiative.
1) Why do you feel that education reform is so important?
Education reform is so important because education is a prerequisite to good citizenship. Reforming education is at the heart of reforming society.
More effective education with higher standards, higher achievement, and higher focus on the needs of students will have large social returns.
In Tunisia, we are at a stage where a redefinition of the mission of the school is needed, a redefinition that focuses on the making of a good citizen.
2) What are you doing to improve education in Tunisia?
I’m trying to raise awareness in my community about the importance of quality education as an engine of growth and as a means of creating better people, and about the challenges facing our country if no immediate action is taken to reform education.
Education is not only about facts, but mainly about long-lasting skills such as critical thinking, good command of foreign languages and most importantly an education that is in alignment with our core values which are the universal values of justice, tolerance, co-existence, appreciating differences, patriotism and moderation.
Through our school, efforts are being made to instill those values in the children attending the school, and I want our success to be measured not in terms of the amount of knowledge their teachers give them, though important, but in terms of how well they are trained to meet future challenges.
Our school is based on a reform that advocates longer school days, smaller class sizes, improved teacher quality through training, higher credential standards, performance bonuses (“merit pay”), internet and computer access, trilingual education, mainstreaming special education students…
We also focus on after-school activities oriented toward arts such as music, theatre, painting, and READING which is not in our habits. Neither Tunisian children nor their parents read and that’s a real problem in our community.
We give so much importance to reading. We make our children read at school and at home very frequently and we make their parents aware of the importance of reading on every possible occasion (parent-teacher meetings, one-on-one meetings…)
3) What is the current landscape of education in Tunisia? Do you feel that is a priority?
For the last two decades the focus was on mass education at the expense of quality education that’s why we ended up with an education that is not meeting our expectations.
Education in Tunisia is underfunded and even so, there is no correlation between per student spending and student performance. Poor infrastructure and outdated educational supplies are making things worse.
Our public schools lag behind the schools of other middle-income countries in the areas of reading, math, and science.
Barriers to reform include the general mindset of people wanting results regardless of the quality of training, favouring “ dead” knowledge rather than skills.
Teachers’ unions are also another barrier to reform: wanting more for less.
4) What are your hopes for the future of Tunisia? How do you want to personally contribute?
Tunisia is undergoing a very difficult period in its post-independence history.
The relative success of its democratic transition is very precarious if not shored up by informed citizenry that has acquired a decent education.
My hope is for my country to get out of the bottleneck as soon as possible: there are security problems, social instability, ecomonic decline (youth unemployment has reached an unprecedented rate, the steady decline in the purchasing power is a real time-ticking bomb for social explosion). Restoring trust by sending positive messages to investors, taking painful decisions in vital areas and putting an end to strikes (we need a Taft-Hartley Act) are necessary steps toward recovery.
I’m trying to contribute through what I can do best and that’s education. Also as a mother I try to give the best I can to my children to be good citizens, and as a former politician whose sense of responsibility runs in the veins, what is best for my country will always direct my actions.
5) Why did you decide to open your own school?
As education was relegated to a secondary position in my country after the 2011 uprising, I set, with my partners, upon starting our own school to implement our vision of education reform which stems from our belief that investment in knowledge pays the best interest and from our conviction that “a child miseducated is a child lost” as JFK once put it, and in Tunisia we cannot afford to lose our children upon which the future of our country depends.
6) How do you select students? Do you have scholarships or tuition assistance available for underprivileged children in your community?
Our selection of students is based on a placement test, and on the understanding and acceptance by parents of our vision of education (trilingual education, importance of the arts…) / No tuition assistance for underprivileged children, though the idea is tempting.
7) How did you decide to integrate community service projects into your curriculum?
Community Service gives a meaning to the community that is created around the school and accelerates the ramp of their engagement.
8) If one day you run for political office in Tunisia, how will you reform the Education system in Tunisia?
By improving the social status of the teachers/ improving the schools’ infrastructure/ including cultural activities as a compulsory component of the curriculum/ teaching of foreign languages…
9) You were particularly impacted by your visit to Google [X] and their concept of moon-shot i ot ideas. Can you tell us a little bit about your moon-shot idea and how this site visit has helped you develop your personal action plan?
Running an education campus where a child comes in at the age of 4 and leaves at the age of 21 with the best skills for the global job market and with an education that prepares him/her for challenges and jobs that will not have existed yet.
11) You have started leading international training sessions for professionals. How have you incorporated the material and curriculum you learned at Southern Methodist University into your own sessions?
A number of themes related to influence without authority, elevator speech, how to craft a sticky vision, branding and self-promotion were incorporated in my curriculum and were found very useful by international business students because they are at the heart of the corporate world.
12) Where do you see yourself in ten years? Where do you see your school and the education system of Tunisia in ten years?
May be back to politics With education at the center of my political platform!
With the help of the right people, my moonshot idea might come true!