So, I’ve mentioned a bit about the English Language Olympics competition, but I will elaborate more on what happened during the three days. First, let me just say I had the pleasure of working with a great group of high school students (plus one in 8th grade). Although it was stressful at times, and difficult to manage everyone, they all held strong and finished all the work needed to be done by the deadline.
There were four components to the competition, all revolving around the theme “Education in 2025.” The last component was a Junior TOFL test.
• Research Project : This was a 10 page paper on our topic: Lack of Creativity in the Jordanian Educational System. They learned how to find sources from books, websites, and even inquiry from professionals like teachers within and out of our school. On top of this, they had to come up with a possible solution, that if chosen, could get proposed to the Ministry of Education in Jordan. Their proposal was an online curriculum that includes subjects like Art, Music, Biology, Physics, Geology, and History. Each tab has educational videos that are part of an integrated curriculum, promoting different types of learning. It caters to different learning methods, as well can be updated each year. This application is called Creativity House, available on Google App Store.
• Community Service: They held 2 day bazaar (bake sale) at school during recess selling pastries, food, and also educational books. With that money, as well as our sponsor, we bought and donated 13 tablets to two organizations, with 5 educational applications downloaded like Duolingo, Qulzlet, English for Kids, Learnist, and Classical Words. One organization is an orphanage, and the other is a center that houses and takes care of cancer patients in Jordan.
• Film: The film was a stop-motion comparing education now to the ideal education in the future, which included technology in the classroom, a change of setting, proper teacher to student interaction, and engaged students.
We met 3 to 4 times a week during their recess, and would work on some weekends as well, in a café. My job as a coach was to support, refine their ideas, and even work alongside the group, while my supervisor would work on the administrative stuff like booking buses, appointments with the centers, inquiring questions from the competition organizers, and other important parts of the projects. I made sure that in their presentation, they broke down all facets of the project, so the judges wouldn’t have many questions.
This competition helped them on writing skills, presentation, professionalism, organization, teamwork, and competitive mindset, to name a few benefits of this English Language Olympics. And, I keep reminding them that this will go on their resume, and that they need to write everything they did for this competition on it. This will help their university prospects, especially those seeking education outside of Jordan. ( When the time comes…they are only 16.)
right before their presentation…they were AWESOME!
At our table at the competition, waiting to present. To kill time, they would play a rap song in Arabic about the competition, and the chorus said “ELO, ELO…” so everyone sang along. They must have played it 20 times in those 3 days.
Gifted with a frame of appreciation from the cancer center
In front of the orphanage!
Demonstrating the applications on the tablets to some girls from the orphanage
This was their official team poster. When they were judged for Teamwork during the competition, they came into the judging room with this poster and talked about their process in making this, as well as how they worked together.
This was part of the Teamwork, they had to create a poster in 45 minutes. This was their work…with my help a bit.
Needless to say, this team worked great together, thankfully. There were some bumps in the road, but they always stuck together and stood up for each other no matter what. Such great team spirit, with a name like Unicorns of Equilibrium, because they bring balance to education in Jordan. It was fun being a coach, and really rewarding. I know they’ll go on to do great things, and hopefully they will compete next year and win first. Trust me, they have all the potential to win first.
There’s so much more, but I don’t want to make this post longer. So, that’s all for now.
Peace from the Middle East!