Fethy Letaief currently works as a Senior English & ICT Teacher with Pioneer Prep School of Sousse Tunisia. For several years now, he has been working on implementing the global inclusive dimension in the curriculum. He also coaches other educators on the productive use of digital tools and the network. Awarded twice with International school award for education, he is now serving as an ambassador with British Council, Tunisia. He was awarded the National Motivational Speaker award in 2011. He is an experienced tour leader of “Students Linguistic Trips Abroad” organizing students’ trips. Fethy is an official translator and the PR contact for the popular football team in the county Etoile du Sahel.
When all young minds, regardless of their differences, are educated together, everyone benefits. When they are provided with a safe, open, and productive, inclusive and culturally diverse learning environment everyone is intrinsically motivated. Early awareness about diversity in its various aspects, whether locally or globally, is not only enriching learner’s experience but also instilling a sense of equity in them. Today’s learners need empathy more than ever before. Empathy means showing appreciation, giving compliments and having opportunities to show talents.
Hence given a voice regardless of differences or even to academic levels. Today’s learners have new challenges different from previous generations. Not only that but also, they have a wide range of needs that leaders of education should take into consideration more responsibly and more seriously. There are many approaches to this issue as Personalized learning, Project-based learning, Flipped classrooms, Reality Pedagogy and more. Most of them aim at creating an authentic context for better learning that satisfies the needs of 21st-century digital learners who are connected in a way or another to the world and who are eager to learn differently and happily.
Now, what are the means through which we can satisfy our new learners and what tools to create opportunities for an attractive, inclusive, safe, and productive learning environment?
My journey as an ambassador of international education taught me that “Learning together is learning better”. In fact, this is the cornerstone of inclusive education. I’ve also learned that a productive classroom is the one that allows learners to have a contribution and a VOICE in how things should work in their learning atmosphere. You lead via inspiring them but never make them feel they are behaving in that positive way out of fear of rules or exams, or anything related to authority. Use the right formula then magic happens and a whole culture of safe, productive, responsible and gleeful learning is set. A classroom where learners prefer to share their Bio Breakfast with their educator (They rarely do it at home with their families). A classroom with an environment that keeps them interactive and that makes lessons of an old overused course book seem relevant to them. Books are the same but updating global themes makes them earn credibility (in the eyes of learners). And a learning environment that opens them to other cultures, other experiences and other styles of getting and using information. Learners don’t demand more than feeling good in their classrooms.
“Educators are the most important people in the world”, John Rolfe (Schools Outreach manager of the British Council) was always saying whenever I met him in conferences or webinars. No wonder he is right, as educators play a crucial role in creating smart supportive contexts of sharing learning themes and exchanging information or effective classroom practices. Educators instil in their learners a broader understanding of the other whether in the country or overseas. Creating different learning opportunities that give learners a say and enable them to learn equally requires educators to foster and maintain a sustainable, safe and motivational learning environment. Most of all they should be well-prepared before linking their learners to others or before dealing with a topic that requires comparing cultures.
Educators need to learn about global awareness, conventions, and diversity before getting involved in any shared global work or dealing with anything that includes diversity. Taking CPD and training on topics related to creative and ‘Happy’ learning, effective use of ICT, ways of creating partnerships and inclusion is highly recommended to be able to lead inclusive diverse learning. Learners should be prepared to deal with other cultures and people from diverse backgrounds. When they leave their comfort zones and step into the real authentic world. They ought to learn to give feedback and be responsive. If they fathom what is mutuality, their education gains quality and their exchange become equitable and sustainable. Every exchange is unique in its aims and outcomes. What goes without saying is that learners develop a sense of empathy and compassion when educators lead the exchange or the learning process itself warmly and professionally. There is always something to learn from someone whether a learner to learner or an educator to an educator.
The outcome is to instil in learner’s values such as open-mindedness, empathy, and cultural sensitivity so that they are better able to adjust to different environments and avoid stereotypes. What is more is learning core skills such as imagination, creativity, and critical thinking. The educator’s choice of topics and ways of collaboration between classmates or virtual global learners. The good use of ICT and activities management make learning more appealing and more productive. Hence self-development for both learners and educators will be acquired naturally.
Once learners feel they are given a voice, they will feel confident, proud, valued and mainly feel safe. I do believe that catering to learner’s emotional and social environment as well as their well-being is closely related to inclusive learning in its various aspects. That’s why reviewing the curriculum, course books, and educational systems as a whole are highly demanded. An inclusive curriculum that prepares learners by exposing them as early as possible onto the different viewpoints, cultures, and identities of people. Hand in hand with global themes that can be adapted to different learning situations and contexts lead to a Sustainable and Quality education that caters to everyone.
As for educators ‘the most important people in the world’, values such as Integrity, Mutuality, Professionalism, valuing others and mainly Leading by Example are at the heart of the inclusive, diverse, effective and safe learning process. Reaching out and sharing good practices lead to creating more opportunities for oneself and to others.