After two successful days of Children’s Learning Festival (CLF) of the three-day Pakistan Learning Festival (PLF) attended by thousands of children, teachers and families at the Arts Council of Pakistan (ACP) Karachi, the third day had exclusive workshops and sessions for teachers.
The Teachers Learning Festival (TLF) on Thursday was an opportunity for the teachers to attend daylong training sessions for motivation and professional development of their skills.
Eminent journalist Zubeida Mustafa in her opening remarks encouraged teachers to implement the new skills in their classrooms which are the key to improving the learning outcomes of children. This followed a panel discussion “Reforming School Education in Pakistan and The Language Dilemma” with a galaxy of thinkers, practitioners and influencers, including Ahmed Shah, Kazi Kabir, Ajay Pinjani, Ameena Saiyid, Dr. Farid Panjwani, Baela Raza Jamil, Kamleshwer Lohana, Rumana Husain, Sadiqa Salaudin, Zarrar Khuhro. The plenary was moderated by Dr. Fouzia Khan, Chief Advisor Curriculum at School Education and Literacy Department (SELD), Govt. of Sindh while Prof. A.H. Nayyar, Maleeha Sattar and Zubair Torwali shared their messages online.
The day was packed with sessions that helped teachers bring vitality to their class rooms and help improve student engagement with the learning matter. Mohsin Tejani of the School of Writing shared techniques of engaging students in writing poetry, EDLAB’s team spoke about developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills among children while Learning Pitch engaged teachers in the workshop to promote blended learning in classrooms and Tayyaba Saleem took a session on Storytelling in Early Childhood Education “Stories for Children, Purpose and for their Relevant Age Groups”. These sessions equipped the teachers with simple and important ways to overcome the learning losses incurred due to Covid-19 and the school closures.
Learning becomes meaningful through Social Emotional Learning (SEL) producing outcomes that sustain through life. Children’s cognitive and academic success is guaranteed when SEL is transformed into life skills. This was the theme of the session ‘Aligning Stories to the Single National Curriculum for Social Emotional Learning’ conducted by Farah Shah of ITA. Another session that touched this subject was the discussion on the importance of Performing Arts for social and emotional development with demonstration and practical examples by Junaid Zuberi and Kulsoom Aftab of National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA); Nazia Zuberi Hassan, Rakae Jamil of Mughal-e-Funk band, classical and contemporary dance artist Shayma Saiyid, and storytelling by acclaimed author, illustrator and educator Rumana Husain.
The multiple sessions on the importance of books and stories encouraged teachers to use storytelling to explain abstract concepts in simpler ways. Rumana Husain and the Pakistan Literacy Project (PLP) team conducted a workshop on learning in a print-rich classroom along with Read aloud of Room to Read adapted books with expressions. Nusser Sayeed and Deena of Goread.pk also held an impactful story read aloud session. Sadia Mirza of Lightstone Publishers shared the reading program crafted for students ‘Step into a Storybook STARLIGHT’. Along with storytelling and creativity, book launches by young authors are equally essential and so the session Book Launches and the importance of storytelling in classrooms by Tashina Nur aimed at bringing out expression in every child and teacher. The book “The Dance Continues” written by Dr Shehla Alvi was also launched apart from an interactive session Poetry and Haqaiq in your classroom by Abbas Husain.
The ITA and Telenor Pakistan team led the panel discussion Digital Literacy and Internet Safety as a part of School Curriculum with Abdullah Khan, Baela Raza Jamil and Dr. Fouzia Khan which was moderated by Waqas Bajwa.
Meanwhile, Swaleha Lakho from Dot and Line shed light on how EdTech has shifted the perspective from being a traditional teacher. The critical fight against climate change also recruited more soldiers through sessions such as Karachi’s Diverse Population and Pakistan’s Endangered Animals by Rumana Husain. By preserving our eco-heritage, we can protect the eco-diversity of the country which was further touched upon with a session Communicating Climate Change Action by journalist Afia Salam. Furthermore, Dr. Asma Ibrahim of State Bank of Pakistan Museum and Gallery spoke about a Jewel in the Crown – Our Living Heritage.
Activist Naeem Sadiq in his session Social Change through Active Citizenship skilled the teachers on making future activists out of their students. Some other training sessions on skills development which were eagerly consumed by the progressive teachers participating in the event included Teaching Math through Games by Seema Khurram of Oxford University Press (OUP); Importance of Having a Growth Mindset at a Young Age by Mehar Asghar of Dot and Line; Learning Well: Teaching Math in a fun way Shakeela Zeeshan and how to enhance child creativity, a special theatre workshop by Atif Badar.
The event organised by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and co-hosted by President of Arts Council of Pakistan – Karachi Ahmed Shah, Secretary SELD Ghulam Akbar Laghari and Deputy Commissioner Irshad Ali Sodhar, was held in partnership with Bank of Punjab, Habib Metropolitan Bank, OUP, Room to Read (RtR), British Council Pakistan, National Foods, Sindh Education Foundation (SEF), EdLab Pakistan, Learning Pitch, CandyLand, Essa Laboratories, Lightstone Publishers, Sightsavers Pakistan, SOC Films, Telenor, Oxfam in Pakistan, UNESCO, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Museum and K-Electric.