First CIS Teacher Training

I had the pleasure of presenting at the first Teacher Training Workshop at the Cambridge University Centre of Islamic Studies. The workshop helps teachers in mainstream education to incorporate information on Islamic influences in day to day teaching materials.

After the Christchurch Mosque events, this has never been more timely. We had a panel of experts in the field, using the latest academic research and findings to inform their teaching. So we presented facts rather than general or media-based opinions. The teachers themselves were a mix of backgrounds and subject. There were RS teachers looking to widen their knowledge of Islamic civilisation, to native Arabic teachers, so a broad spectrum!

Breakdown of the day

Joining a panel of fellow experts in the field, we each presented our subject area. We gave an overview of a specific time period in Islamic history and society. The day started with the Rise of Islam in an informative and expectation-shattering way. For example, did you know that at virtually the exact same moment in time but on polar opposite sides of the known world at the time, two historians wrote eerily similar accounts of their communities’ conversions to Christianity and Islam respectively?

Second was the Golden Age of Islamic civilisation, From Baghdad to Cordoba. Next, The First World War and the Making of the Modern Middle East. After a quick break we resumed with  Modern Arabic Literature, and lastly my bit – the Arab Spring. It was quite difficult to summarise the whole of the Arab Spring in under 25 minutes! I decided to give a timeline overview of the key events and outcomes in the first half. Then, after everyone was sufficiently depressed, I switched focus to Egypt specifically, and the cultural innovations and legacy of 2011. The teachers seemed to really engage with the wonderful images of street art, and the themes of unity and hope. Lastly, the wonderful song Sout El Horreya (The Sound of Freedom), which I must admit made me tear up. I caught one or two attendees wiping their eyes as well!

After that, a delicious lunch from Bedouin catering. I received some wonderful feedback from the teachers about how much they enjoyed the day. Everyone learned something new and felt inspired to pass on something to their students.

Our unique approach

All this made me reflect on the role we all have as ambassadors for our language and culture. It left me reenergised about our unique teaching approach at Kalamna, which integrates Arabic language and culture. We provide an opportunity for Arabic to be presented and viewed in a positive light. I am also excited about our next training event, the upcoming Arabic Class Masterclass for those interested in starting an Arabic class in their location. Register now as spaces are limited!