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Connecting Classrooms with the Middle East 

Crawshaw has launched a unique partnership with three Jordanian schools. Working in partnership with Carlton Bolling School and Challenge College, Bradford, we welcomed a delegation of Jordanian visitors from the  International Pioneers Academy, the Al Yamama School and Al Masri Primary School as part of Connecting Classrooms, a programme which aims to develop understanding and trust between young people.   

This initial visit took place on Tuesday 7 February 2012.  The delegation included teachers from the three Jordanian partner schools as well as a representative from the British Council and an Ambassador of the Jordanian Ministry of Education.  This event marks the beginning of the Connecting Classrooms programme and the teachers will now commence working together to develop joint projects aimed at broadening pupils’ and teachers’ international horizons, increasing motivation in the classroom and preparing young people for life in a global society. 

Jordanian visitors with Mrs Ruse, Mr Preston and Mr Smyth

The visitors were welcomed at school by Mrs Ruse, Mr Preston and the school's International Coordinator, Steve Smyth, along with a group of Crawshaw’s International Student Ambassadors, who gave a presentation about Crawshaw's humanities ethos, the importance of local and global  communities and the work Crawshaw that has done already to develop international links.  After the welcome meeting the guests were given a tour of the school and an opportunity to observe lessons, speak with students and share experiences with teachers at Crawshaw.  In Modern Foreign Languages, Mrs Lodge gave a French lesson about Jordan which covered learning about the country, its history and culture. The lesson was made interactive and the guests got involved in exercises such as a "Jordanian general knowledge quiz."  The guests also gave a short lesson about basic Arabic words and phrases.  This was followed by a visit to Mr Lancashire's Maths lesson to observe students learning about averages, using examples such as the comparative attendances at rival football clubs in Sheffield.  The tour then visited Miss Dolan's English lesson before concluding at Mr Platt's Science lesson in the Lego Education Centre. 

Welcome presentation by Crawshaw's International Ambassadors

Connecting Classrooms is a British Council programme that builds lasting partnerships between schools in the UK and others around the world. Schools in the UK, who apply to participate in the three-year programme, work with partner schools on collaborative curriculum projects and receive professional development for teachers and school leaders.  This programme has been acquisitioned and organised by Steve Smyth, the school's International Coordinator.  Steve, whose work has already seen the school establish links in India, is excited by the opportunity to forge relationships internationally.  Steve said; "This is the second project that Crawshaw has been involved with through the British Council and I look forward to seeing how it develops.  The school motto 'live local, think global' is central to our ethos and these projects enable our staff and students to learn about different cultures in local and global settings."

Teachers involved in Connecting Classrooms can attend professional development workshops to help them make the most of their partnerships and schools can enter for awards to recognise their achievements in internationalism. 

Joanna Ruse, Headteacher said “The partnership with our the three Jordanian schools will benefit all staff and students at Crawshaw and will not only give us an invaluable opportunity to learn about life in Jordan, it will also allow us to learn more about our own communities. This project will enable us to build on the international links that we have already formed with a school and a charity in India, linking in with our aims as a specialist humanities school in promoting an ethos of global citizenship.  It was wonderful to meet the teachers from the Middle East and we look forward to working with them and their pupils on our Connecting Classrooms’ projects.”

Kate Joyce, Global Programme Manager for Connecting Classrooms at the British Council, said: “It is more important than ever that we ensure our young people develop the skills and understanding they need to thrive in our global society. Working together through Connecting Classrooms will open young people’s eyes to what life is really like in other countries, and show them that young people share many of the same hopes and aims the world over.

In the last financial year, Connecting Classrooms worked with more than 3,600 schools worldwide (1,201 of which were UK schools) in more than 50 countries including Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, Thailand, Tanzania and South Africa.

We were successful in generating media interest around this story with an article placed in the Telegraph & Argus which can be accessed by clicking here