Presenter: Hanan Al-Hroub, Recipient of the Global Teachers Price in 2016. Just how strong is the power of play? Hanan Al-Hroub’s believes more so than traditional educators realize. People are influenced by the circumstances under which they live, as such these circumstances have an impact on their needs and development. Often times those forced in though and unusual situations and must develop their tools in order to survive. Al-Hroub uses the example of Palestinian teachers to showcase how learning can be effectively done in even the most extenuating of circumstances. She used her personal story of how she and her children were shot at by Israeli soldiers at the beginning of the second intifada. In the midst of this political plight her children were having a hard time concentrating of school another with other related problems. The lessons and methods learned during this time gave way to the “We play and learn method”. “I believe that play brings magic to the classroom. It’s like magic in the hands of teachers inside classrooms.”- Hanan Al-Hroub Key Takeaways Play brings magic into the classroom
  • Children have the right to learn while having fun. People are influenced by the circumstances that they live under. In a traditional education mindset situations such as war would make education difficult.
  • Even though teachers cannot control the outside world they can control the atmosphere of the classroom. Hanan uses the example of Palestinian teachers developing tools around the Israeli occupation. The resulting violence lead to a lack of concentration as well as other problems embodied in the students.
  • Hanan decided to adapt the students to their environment through play in order to increase their self-confidence.
  • Teachers and educators are the ones which will create the next generation of children that will be a part of society. Through creating a positive space teachers can turn events outside the classroom into a key source of motivation that can drive students to grow. When a student is liberated from fear they can be inspired to become more courageous and hopefully strong enough to face the tough challenges they could come across in their lifetime.
  • Teaching skills and instilling values and morals through games is key to implementing this strategy. It also helps develop a team centered spirit rather than an individualistic one.
“Through play, I managed to gradually get them integrated with their environment, their classmates, their society, and to increase their self-confidence and going back to school.”- Hanan Al-Hroub We Play and We Learn Method
  • Teaching skills through games, is an integral part to this technique. It allows educations to instill the desired behavior in a classroom, but also certain moral values that will benefit society and the student’s perception of the world.
  • Activities are designed in the classroom with whatever is available, using collaborative and team work to displace individualistic work and ego. Working as part of a group instills trust not only between the students, but also within themselves.
  • This technique is used to limit the possibility for violence to reach into the classroom and cause disruptive behavior. Focusing on the student’s strengths, innovations, and talent can help turn violence into motivation, for hope and change, and increasing self- confidence.
  • The specific tools that Hanan uses come from the environment in which they teach, normally it is recycled material. This method can also be used in other contents such as with refugees or those with special needs and in both rich and poor countries alike. If political and social visions aligned, then this method would work even more effectively.
“I believe that children have the right to learn while having fun. I have no control over what happens outside my classroom, but I can guarantee safe and fun learning inside my classroom.”- Hanan Al-Hroub Teachers are Important “Education never stops and learning never stops, we keep learning and improving. So, how can we keep the teachers motivated to continue to improve themselves?”- Hanan Al-Hroub
  • Teachers will always be a centerpiece for the classroom and for engaging students, and can be easily trained to implement this method of learning.
  • The process of playing helps to achieve the goals of testing, exploring, employing, and contemplating choices. As a teacher one can turn violence into motivations and hope for change. Combining political and social visions with the education curriculum can play a role in influencing the student’s value and moral choices of their society.
  • Education policy which fails to acknowledge this role will be set up for failure. To avoid this problem Hanan Al-Hroub recommends better training before they enter the classroom. Teachers also should be acknowledged for their hard work.
Editor’s Note: The preceding is an essay from a special print report produced by Diplomatic Courier after the 2017 World Government Summit in Dubai, UAE. To read the full report download our free app on your device or view the digital edition here.  

The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.