In November, six colleagues (Palestinian partners visit Shakespeare country!) from Birzeit University and Hebron University in Palestine visited CCCU on a Study Visit as part of the European Commission Erasmus+ funded “Raising the Quality of Teacher Education Programmes in Palestine Project.” This was a study visit with a difference. Our six Palestinian colleagues and four CCCU team members (Lorna Hughes, Anne Stone, Viv Wilson and Tony Mahon) all travelled to Stratford-upon–Avon for a working retreat.
Staying in a rented farmhouse in glorious countryside, a huge amount of work was completed in developing a suite of pathway courses in Diversity, Inclusion and Special Education Needs (DISEN) for the new BA Basic Education degree programmes and a Teacher Education Competency Framework to support academic staff professional development. These will be the first of their kind in Palestine.
At the same time our Palestinian colleagues gained unique insights into English living and cuisine.
One of the main reasons for holding the retreat in Stratford was so that colleagues could attend the annual conference of the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET).
This was undoubtedly the highlight for Ahmed Fteiha (Birzeit University), Mohammed Farrah and Manal Majed (Hebron University) who gave their first ever presentations at a European Conference.
Ahmed presented his work on developing a framework to support students with special needs at Birzeit University, while Mohammed and Manal presented the outcomes of their work on introducing reflective writing journals to students on an English writing course.
Although they found the task challenging and daunting, it was clearly an amazing experience and wonderful professional development opportunity for them; and one we hope to repeat next year.
We are grateful to UCET for so kindly waiving the conference fees, which made it possible for our colleagues to participate.
After all our work was complete, there was time to enjoy a marvellous evening production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
We all loved it, although our Palestinian colleagues were somewhat bemused at the astonishing sight of Adrian Edmondson as Malvolio prancing about “cross-gartered in yellow stockings.”
Faculty Director for International Development