TAMAM Jordan Hub
Networking around a Unified Improvement Initiative: A Pioneering Approach to the Challenge of Teaching the Arabic Language (2019 – current)
*This initiative is under the supervision of TAMAM steering team and expert coaches.
In 2016, Al-Asriyya Schools called for the establishment of a Hub for the private schools in Jordan participating in TAMAM. The steering team supported this promising idea for its compatibility with the strategic directions of the project and helped the schools in framing it, setting an internal system for the hub, and selecting a committee to follow up on its periodic activities.
In 2019, a group of five schools from the Jordan hub took the initiative to network with each other and work collectively on a unified improvement initiative following the TAMAM improvement journey to improve the teaching and learning of Arabic language. The five private schools in Jordan which are: Al-Asriyya Schools, the Amman Baccalaureate School, Ahliyyah and Mutran Schools, Al-Bayan School, and the Baptist School, constituted together a Network Improvement Community (NIC). A leadership team of Arabic teachers and coordinators from each school was formed and agreed to work collectively on a unified improvement need.
The leadership teams constituting the NIC rigorously followed TAMAM’s school improvement journey in their work while the steering team accompanied them throughout their work. They began by identifying and understanding in depth the common improvement needs among the hub schools which are directly related to the learner. The leadership teams conducted action research cycles in their schools during which they collected information from different members of the school communities (learners and teachers). After collecting and analyzing data in a participatory and collaborative manner, they identified a common improvement need that is “enhancing the teaching of Arabic language”.
The teams then worked on clarifying the causes and implications of the identified problem, and developed a shared vision that revolves around the learner, the teacher, the curriculum, the parents, and the school environment. After that, the teams developed a common improvement goal among the schools that is reaching “a passionate learner who is able to communicate in the correct Arabic language in its life and cultural contexts.” The NIC teams also identified the improvement objectives that they aspire to achieve from this project along with the corresponding indicators of success for these objectives.
It is worth noting that the steering team closely follows this initiative at three levels:
First is through practical follow-ups to the steps of launching this initiative in coordination with the coordinator of TAMAM hub in Jordan, in addition to the recruitment of Arabic language specialists who are familiar with the TAMAM approach to train the teams and follow-up closely with them during every step they take. Dr. Hanadi Dayya, a specialist in learning and teaching Arabic, and Mr. Yusri Al-Amir, who specializes in Arabic, accompanied and guided the teams from the beginning of the project to give the necessary directions as language experts. The intensive and periodic meetings in 2020-2021 resulted in a clear agenda to prepare for the implementation plan of the improvement initiative over a period of three years to target grades one to eight. The end of that year culminated in a training boot camp led by Dr. Hanadi Dayya who worked with the Arabic language leaders from the participating schools to compose three related continuums describing the characteristics of the learner and the level of his/her language skills in reading, writing and speaking.
Second is through coordination with specialists to implement the improvement project plan. During the year 2021-2022, the specialized experts coordinated with the steering team to implement the plan set for the first year and worked on a weekly basis with the Arabic language leaders and teachers of the targeted classes for the first year, who were the first, third, and sixth graders. During this academic year 2021-2022, around 75 meetings were held by Mr. Al-Amir with the Arabic language leaders and teachers of the targeted classes accompanying them as they used the continuums to assess students and then to create implementation plans for each class targeting reading, writing and speaking skills based on the assessment made by the teachers, and then monitoring students’ progress and finally evaluating their performance. Periodic meetings and reflection sessions were also held in the presence of the Project Steering Team with TAMAM leadership teams and Arabic language leaders in the participating schools to reflect on the progress of work, identify obstacles and help in overcoming them, and think of subsequent steps for the success of this improvement initiative. The work of this academic year was concluded by three meetings. The first meeting was conducted on June 23, 2022 with all participants in this initiative, including teachers, Arabic language leaders and the TAMAM leadership team, to thank the teachers for the huge efforts that were made to implement the Arabic language improvement project and to frame and harvest the learning that resulted during the work, in addition to obtaining recommendations and suggestions for next year. The second meeting was conducted on June 26, 2022, with TAMAM lead team members and Arabic language leaders. The meeting was to reflect on the progress and identify the lessons learned and plan for the intervention of next year. The final meeting was conducted on July 17, 2022 with the school principals to discuss the proposal of Dr. Hanadi Dayyeh and Mr. Yusri Al Amir for the intervention of the year 2022-2023 and finalize next steps.
The year 2022-2023 was initiated with a general meeting with the teachers and Arabic leaders of the new targeted classes (Grades two, four and seven) in the presence of the TAMAM lead team members, the Steering Team as well as the Arabic language specialists. The meeting, which was conducted on September 4th, aimed to initiate the work and introduce the plan of the year and address the questions of the participants. This was followed by a meeting with the TAMAM lead team members and the Arabic language leaders to highlight the importance of planning for implementation taking into consideration the context of each school, and to point out the challenges that might be faced during the work and their key role in addressing these challenges.
Third is by doing in-depth research on the literature related to networking and learn from the global networking experiences that present networking as a promising strategy for educational improvement. The PST used this knowledge to supplement this rare and unique initiative that stemmed voluntarily from Arab schools. The PST’s in-depth research on networking is supported by the research experience of the TAMAM project manager, Mrs. Rola Al-Katerji, who is studying for her master’s thesis the Jordan hub NIC. The study is informed by the international literature on networking to understand this experience, the conditions for its success and its challenges, and to design a model rooted in our context about the mechanisms of networking and how to provide supporting conditions for its success.
Through the collaborative action research that TAMAM conducts as a research laboratory, the steering team seeks to capture all aspects of this experience to produce a roadmap to the NIC model as a strategy for large-scale school improvement. In addition to designing mechanisms for the improvement of Arabic language education, to be shared with the TAMAM community and the Arab community in general, in the hope that it will provide innovative solutions to the issue of teaching Arabic, in order to serve the TAMAM learner and to consolidate the Arab identity in our schools.
We hope that this experience will inaugurate other NIC initiatives among other schools within the TAMAM Professional Network and in the wider Arab world.