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Teach ‘with’ children, not ‘at’ them, says official
By A Staff Reporter March 09, 2018
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SHARJAH: On the final day of the UAE’s first Horouf Reggio Education Conference, the audience of teachers and academics from around the country heard that children do not need solutions from teachers, they need support to observe, experiment and express their ideas without fear or judgement.

The conference, which explored the benefits of the alternative ‘Reggio Emilia Approach’ to education, outlined the concept that children must play an integral role in deciding the direction of their curriculum, rather than be subject to the pre-planned, pre-defined systems which traditional schools adopt.

Speaking at the Horouf Reggio Conference, organised by Horouf, a subsidiary of Kalimat Group, hosting representatives from Italian Reggio Children Centre, Claudia Giudici, President of Reggio Children, told delegates that there is no room in Reggio schools for set criteria to measure achievement.

“Our ongoing observation, documentation and interpretation of the children does not decide who is performing better, it looks at what they are doing and how they are doing it. There is no set standard by which we measure a child, instead, we constantly and consistently ‘evaluate’ rather than ‘assess’.

“It is important that our teachers do not step in to provide solutions, they are there to offer new contexts in which the youngsters can learn in an integrated approach that covers nursery, pre-school and primary school. We must teach ‘with’ children, not ‘at’ them.”

The alternative education concept, which was founded in the Northern Italy city of Reggio Emilia, believes that the youngsters learn the basics of mathematics, space, measurements and language through play, thinking and speaking during their daily activities.

Claudia Giudici encouraged the educators at the conference to rethink their own methods: “Teachers may come into a school with a three-year degree and a Master’s in psychology, but true development can only take place in a learning environment. We must always remember that it is the children themselves who are the true observers, researchers and experimenters in life. Our work is to give encouragement, support, guidance and respect.”

The UAE Ministry of Education and the Sharjah Education Council were the conference’s Strategic Partners, with Sharjah Islamic Bank as the Official Sponsor, Gems Education Group, Zayed University and Skyline University College acting as Educational Sponsors, the ‘1001 Titles’ initiative and Knowledge without Borders sponsored Atelier (the workshop), Sharjah Media Corporation and Sharjah Government Media Bureau were Media Sponsors, Al Qasba was the Venue Sponsor, and the Bank of Sharjah, Sharjah Cooperative Society and Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry were Conference Sponsors.

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