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You can find the  links to the most recent issues here:

Volume 53, No. 4, November 2018
Reconceptualising system transitions in education for marginalised and vulnerable groups
Guest Editors: Paul Downes, Erna Nairz‐Wirth, Jim Anderson

Volume 53, No. 3, September 2018
Learner agency at the confluence between rights-based approaches and well-being
Guest Editor: Jean Gordon

Volume 53, No. 2 June 2018
Special Issue: Are Student Assessments Fit For Their Purposes?
Guest Editor: Janet Looney

Volume 53, No. 1. March 2018
Special Issue: Innovative approaches to Continuous Professional Development in Early Childhood Education and Care. A European perspective.
Guest Editors: Brecht Peleman, Bente Jensen and Jan Peeters

Volume 52, No. 4 December 2017
Special Issue: Education for people, prosperity and planet: Can we meet the sustainability challenges?
Guest Editor: Aaron Benavot

Volume 52, No. 3 September 2017
Title: Participatory Design for (Built) Learning Environments
Guest Editors: Karen D. Könings and Susan McKenney

Volume 52, No. 2 June 2017
Title: The Influence of PISA on Education Policies
Guest Editors: Alain Michel and Xavier Pons

Volume 52, No.1 March 2017
Title : Higher education learning outcomes - transforming higher education ?
Guest Editors : Joakim Caspersen and Nicoline Frolich

Volume 51, No.4 December 2016
Title: Governance Dynamics in Complex Decentralised Education Systems
Guest Editors: Edith Hooge

Volume 51, No 3 September 2016
Title : Vocational Schooling and Social Exclusion in the Western Balkans
Guest Editors : Claire Gordon and Will Bartlett

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Email: ieeps@eiesp.org

Elham Palestine: An Endeavor To Promote Learning for Well-being Principles - Wahid Jubran

Elham Palestine was launched in 2007 following an extensive consultative process and national conference.  The program, which is implemented across Gaza and the West Bank, has flourished in spite of challenging circumstances and constraints.

Elham’s aim is to improve the physical, mental, psychological and social well-being of Palestinian children, and enhance the quality of their learning environments. The aim is to enable them to better realize their potential as enlightened healthy individuals capable of making sound choices, and navigating an increasingly challenging world, and as engaged citizens contributing to their society.

Elham Palestine’s methodology and approaches are based on the results of the “Voice of Children” Survey which was administered in Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon in 2006. The VoC surveyed children's attitudes, views and feelings about different aspects of their learning environment and how these influence their well-being. For example, the survey revealed students were feeling bored or disinterested (59%)  and/or that they could not concentrate the classroom (65%). In addition, 51% expressed their fear that they were upset by their teachers while 40% were upset by their classmates. 47% viewed the classroom as a prison or courtroom.

The VoC findings influenced the design of the areas of focus Elham program, including the Elham Nomination Themes.  These include teaching, learning and assessment methods and strategies, the importance of safe and stimulating educational environments, holistic health, and student participation and leadership. Elham stimulates, identifies, supports and mainstreams innovative initiatives and practices that make a difference or contribute significantly to these themes. 

Vision and Goals

The Elham vision is: Learning environments in Palestine are supportive of the well-being of children and youth. Elham seeks to fulfill a number of goals, chief among them are to:
  • Empower and motivate teachers and other members of the school community to undertake initiatives that nurture learning for the well-being. Elham coordinators train teachers while school principals facilitate their work and provide the needed resources. The teachers also receive Elham Harvest, a toolkit which contains dozens of the inspiring effective practice models initiatives that serve as successful models in fostering the learning for well-being of student
  • Promote children’s holistic development as a key common goal in education and health systems. Students are encouraged to assume more responsibility and initiative within their school communities and in the community as engaged young citizens.
Elham aims to promote a culture of hope, initiative and entrepreneurship, based on a deep trust in the capacity of each Palestinian individual to make a positive difference in his/her life and the life the community.  Teachers, school principals, counselors and students are provided a platform to present their practices and experiences in making this difference and facilitated the dissemination of best practices through the Elham website and Elham Harvest annual book.

Inclusive Partnerships
 
Elham is supported by multi-stakeholder partnerships and an array of localized structures and processes that aim to secure wider and more effective local engagement and buy-in for greater social cohesion, individual and collective initiative, entrepreneurship and creativity. This reflects program leaders’ understanding that children learn in diverse environments, including family, school, and media environments. Children's education is thus a collective social endeavor. This broad approach also reflects the belief that achieving qualitative change in the education system is contingent upon securing a critical mass of partners who are committed to and capable. Partnerships are intended to create an enabling environment and leverage to mainstream the principles of learning for well-being and influence desired change across systems.

Elham has partnerships with a cluster of leading organizations, including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and civil society and business sectors. Through these partnerships, Elham seeks to mainstream learning for well-being at multiple levels:
  • The call for nomination sets explicit priorities for changes to support students’ learning for well-being. As noted above, these include: teaching, learning and assessment methods and strategies, safe and stimulating education environments, holistic health, and student participation and leadership. Having explicit endorsement of system leaders that such change is needed and desirable is in itself an incentive for the educational community to undertake initiatives.
  • Full engagement of the education leaders in the screening and evaluation process is an expression of their commitment to the goals.  Selected inspiring initiatives also constitute a valuable resource for systemic learning.
  • Promising practices are assessed regarding potential for replication at scale. .
 
Engaging Youth

One of the key guiding principles of Elham is to listen to children and youth, integrate their perspectives and to enhance their learning for responsible citizenship.  Elham believes that everyone’s engagement and participation is required to develop inclusive and supportive families, communities and societies. Effective and sustainable partnerships with children and youth in the context of "learning for well-being" has been one of the more challenging aspects of Elham.

Two approaches to youth engagement have been adopted.  With the first approach, as described by the program, students in schools are given the opportunity to “be the change they want to see in the world” (a well-known quote of Mahatma Ghandi) and to act as catalysts and enablers in creating diverse learning environment. Students are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning outcomes, and to develop innovative initiatives to contribute to making a positive difference. These initiatives go through the  Elham process of nomination and evaluation. A number of these initiatives have been recognized as inspiring and are recognized at the national level. Second, children and youth are engaged as partners in the evaluation of initiatives undertaken by their teachers and principals.

Elham’s Principals

The following principles constitute the conceptual framework of Elham's holistic approach to "learning for wellbeing":
  • The school is a second home for our children
  • Listening to children is a right and a responsibility. Children have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
  • There is a dialectical and interdependent relationship between health and learning
  • Every child’s unique potential should be recognized, and supported
  • Special attention should be given to the varied processes through which individual children learn, communicate and develop
  • Learning should be responsive to a changing world
Inspiring initiatives

The following sets out three examples of three initiatives which have recognized and celebrated at the national level in Palestine.
 
A Green House School: promoting self-organization and participation in decision making
 
The principal of a girl’s school in a village called Bait Sureek believes that the environment of learning for well-being encourage self-organization, participation in decision making and teamwork. Accordingly, she has facilitated and supported the work of a student team to create a green house on the school grounds. Girls prepared the soil, planted and raised various vegetables. The connection with the land, growing their own food, being productive and being responsible at an early age, and learning about plants, seasons, organic foods, the dangers of chemicals and pesticides etc. has been a transformative experience.  The students also developed relationships based on mutual respect and collaboration with their schoolmates, teachers and the principal. The girls organized themselves and took charge of the schools’ canteen and started preparing for the other students’ healthy sandwiches using the vegetables they had grown. They also shared their learning with their families.
 
Young Radio Broadcasters:  Promoting diverse perspectives
 
The teacher who developed this initiative believes that people learn, grow and develop in different ways and that diverse perspectives and multiple expressions should be encouraged. Through this initiative, students left their classrooms to learn about social and civic issues and affairs. They were responsible for broadcasting a bi-weekly radio talk show addressing selected topics of interest to the general public. Their focus was on issues connected to their civic affairs curriculum. The objectives of the initiative were twofold: first, to improve their research, dialogue, communication and presentation skills, and second, to encourage civic engagement and promote civil society values of tolerance and acceptance of others at a young age. In this initiative, students hosted talk shows that revolved around accountability, transparency, elections, pluralism, the constitution, reproductive health and violence in schools. They invited officials and specialists to discuss these issues on the show from their different and diverse perspectives.
 
Children Combat Internet Addiction: An opportunity for students and teachers to respect each other’s perspectives as competent partners
 
This initiative was initiated by three members of the student mediation committee in Qalqilya Basic Boys School. They had noticed that students had been spending long hours on the Internet daily and that it has been affecting their academic performance as well as their social, physical and mental health. Based on their belief that “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” as defined by the World Health Organization, they decided to work with a local NGO which provided training on how to develop questionnaires and conduct interviews. The group interviewed a number of private Internet café owners, parents and members of civil society organizations. They also designed, distributed and analyzed a questionnaire targeting students who use the Internet.
 
Students and teachers taking part in this initiative respected each other’s perspectives as competent partners.  Both teachers and parents have become more active in their children’s lives.  The initiative provided an opportunity adults and children to communicate.  Adults gained insight into children’s likes and dislikes and had the opportunity to to be part of their decision making processes, Café owners and officials alike have responded positively to this initiative. Internet cafés now limit the number of hours one person can use the computers. Officials responded by approving bylaws to prohibit Internet cafés from catering to minors after 7 p.m.  According to a student participating in the project the initiative improved their self esteem and allowed them to see they were able to make a difference.  As this student noted, “we have also learned a lot…it taught us to how communicate with others, take democratic decisions, design and analyze questionnaires, solve problems, and how to facilitate meetings.”