Two Borders teachers swapped their classrooms for Western Asia this week in a bid to transform the way children are taught.
Langlee Primary School’s Mags Richmond and Deborah Ivalo are currently in Jordan as part of Connecting Classrooms, a global education programme linking the Galashiels primary with Awajan Preparatory School in the country’s capital, Amman.
Mrs Richmond, 48, and Mrs Ivalo, 49, both of Stow, left on Sunday, joining two teachers from Lockerbie to form the Scottish contingent of the 15-strong team from the UK, and they will return tomorrow.
Both have taught at Langlee Primary for over 10 years, but this is a first for both them and the school.
Mrs Richmond said: “It is amazing. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what an experience it is.
“We’ve just returned from a school visit, and just seeing how the kids are taught and learning from other colleagues around the world is amazing.
“It is beyond cool. I wish I could bring the whole school over here to be a part of it.”
This week, they visited their partner school, set up to cater for refugee children from Palestine, to exchange insights and ideas.
Upon their return to Langlee next week, the children will being working with their counterparts in Jordan on an project to learn about quality education for all children.
Mrs Richmond added: “We hope this will be the beginning of an increased awareness of the wider world and of their place within it.
“We involved some of the children before we left in preparing information about our school and about Scotland.
“They are very proud of Langlee.
“We want to see the children gain a deeper understanding of life in a different country and help them forge connections for the future in an increasingly connected world.”
The school in Amman is for refugee children from Palestine and is equally as enthusiastic about forging class links with its new Scottish counterpart. Aysha Ibrahim from Awajan Preparatory School added: “We hope this partnership will help to increase our students’ achievements and motivate and encourage them to be leaders through problem solving. We also hope it will give us the opportunity to develop and enrich our teaching strategies.”
The children will have increased opportunities for independent learning, teamwork and cooperation, and be further challenged to connect this learning to the world around them.
Connecting Classrooms is run in more than 30 countries by the British Council in partnership with the Department for International Development. It gives teachers the knowledge and techniques to teach young people the skills they need to live and work in an increasingly globalised economy.
The visit will also provide a platform for success to be shared more widely, which may influence education policy and strategy at a local and national level.
Sir Ciarán Devane, CEO of the British Council, said: “I am delighted that Langlee Primary in Galashiels is taking on this excellent opportunity to develop their professional practice by collaborating with teachers from Jordan and the UK. Their commitment to equip young people with skills and understanding for life and work in an increasingly global economy is to be commended.”