Think Unlimited commits to train 168 Jordanian public school teachers to implement ongoing afterschool interventions that build achievement motivation, critical thinking skills, and creativity in high school students. These interventions aim to equip and empower a rising generation of Arab youth to become proactive citizens, social entrepreneurs, and change-makers in their home communities, their nations, and the world.
Students will participate in a 12-week afterschool program, called 'Brain Builders,' in which they will learn and practice core cognitive skills including: Acquiring Information, Organizing Information, Reasoning, Strategy, Decision Making, Opinion Formation, Perspective Taking, and Creativity. Students will also learn the importance of applying critical thinking skills to community problem solving through civic engagement. Teachers will learn to present the curriculum through interactive discussions, inductive teaching methods, group work, and games and activities.
Think Unlimited will partner with local NGOs to select public schools in the Mafraq governorate of Jordan to participate in the training program. Three teachers from each school will receive 16 hours of training and participate in a three-month practicum, which will prepare them to implement the 12-week afterschool program. Teachers will work in teams of three to facilitate the program with twenty students per semester for a minimum of four semesters.
Think Unlimited will provide the curriculum for the afterschool program, materials and supplies for each school, and in-depth training and support for each teacher. Local partner organizations will help fund the cost of implementation. Think Unlimited will conduct pre- and post- testing of participant youth to track their skill development, and will provide ongoing support, feedback and professional development to implementing teachers.
In September 2012, Arabic training materials, along with the training model, timeline, and pre and post-testing materials will all be finalizing. By October 2012, the first class of 24 teachers will be trained to implement the program during Spring semester 2013. Before the conclusion of 2012, a program manager will be hired to oversee full implementation of the program.
Beginning in 2013, one training and practicum of 24 teachers will occur each semester (January and September) in 2013, 2014, and 2015, resulting in a total of 168 teachers trained over 7 trainings. As indicated above, it is expected that each team of teachers will implement the curriculum a minimum of 4 times (once per semester), beginning the semester after their training and practicum.
As Arab nations undergo revolutionary change, the need for a rising generation of engaged, educated citizens and leaders is ever greater. Vital to the long-term success of societies in this region are individuals who can understand, evaluate, and act upon the limitless possibilities of modern life-while still sustaining their nations' unique religious and cultural values. In many ways, regional and even global peace and prosperity hinge upon these nations' ability to succeed in this delicate endeavor. Improving education-quickly and effectively-is almost certainly the pivot point on which this process turns.
In recent decades, many nations in the Middle East have made remarkable improvements in school enrollment, literacy, and gender parity in the classroom. However, Arab education systems are still largely failing to generate graduates with the necessary skills for an increasingly competitive world. The main reasons for this breakdown include undertrained teachers, a heavy emphasis on rote memorization and written exams, and the lack of focus on problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Public school education is simply failing to prepare young people (who represent 60-70% of the population in the region) to think and work independently, function well in the workplace, build civil society through political and community involvement, find creative solutions to problems, and become leaders in charting the course for their nations. The educational deficit in Arab nations will have serious consequences for the region's democratization and modernization processes, and is also clearly reflected in the very high levels of youth unemployment.
Low-cost, high-impact interventions that build critical and creative thinking skills are necessary to bridge the gap between Arab nations' aspirations for systemic education reform and the day-to-day educational experiences of the students who are the future of the Arab world.
Think Unlimited is seeking financial resources in order to implement this commitment. While our local partners will help fund the cost of implementation, Think Unlimited, a nonprofit organization, must fund the curriculum development, staffing, and general operating support required to fulfill this commitment. We are seeking partners who can commit funds to this initiative.