As Arab nations undergo revolutionary change, leaders who can balance political and economic reforms with religious and cultural values are vital to a stable future. However, as Jordan’s Queen Rania said in a CNN interview, “In the Arab World we still focus too much on rote learning…we teach children what to think rather than how to think.” Though school enrollment is increasing, the quality of education in Arab nations is inadequate to equip youth for an uncertain future (Arab Human Development Reports 2002-2009).
Efforts to improve education in the Arab world often focus on resources—building schools and providing books and technology. But many model classrooms house uninspired teachers and ill-equipped students. And inadequate teacher training has often resulted in brand-new libraries and technologies locked in closets, unused.
Think Unlimited is a nonprofit organization working to change the way education is perceived and achieved in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and beyond. We are awaiting our registration with the relevant authorities in Jordan and will begin offering programs once we are registered.
We believe that the most valuable resources any school can possess are the minds of its teachers and students, all too often overlooked in the race for modern technologies and tools. We build schools from within by equipping students and teachers to think critically, think creatively, and use the power of their minds to create change. Our programs are developed from the grassroots up, and aim for depth of engagement—they are simple, low-cost, and effective.
Drawing upon over two years’ experience teaching in Jordanian public schools and youth centers, we have developed one of the only critical and creative thinking curricula designed specifically for youth in Muslim nations. Through our programs Arab youth experience for themselves the transformative power of education. This exciting work will build the foundation of knowledge societies and knowledge economies in a region in critical need of both.
We will work to educate a generation of leaders and critical thinkers by targeting not only youth, but their teachers as well. This holistic approach to education transforms the people and communities we work with in the following ways:
As a result of our camps and after-school programs, students will feel empowered and equipped to become more active learners both inside and outside the classroom. They will begin to understand their role as change-makers in the world, and learn how to use critical and creative thinking to solve problems and improve their communities.Improved instructional methods and teacher motivation
Because we will train public-school teachers to implement our curricula, teachers will gain valuable insights into inductive teaching methods, group work, and the role games and activities can play in the learning process. Seeing students respond enthusiastically to our curricula will inspire teachers to invest greater time and effort in their important work.
The aim of each of our programs is to develop measurable cognitive growth and concrete skills in students—key elements that lead to civic engagement, leadership, and entrepreneurship. To that end, our curricula incorporate the latest scientific research in cognitive development and achievement motivation, and to our knowledge we are the only organization in the region approaching education and youth work in this unique, scientific way. We have also engaged as a board member a top researcher in the field of creativity, who is designing psychological measures of our programs’ impact. By building this sort of research and evaluation into our programs early on, we hope to continually adapt and change our curricula for the greatest impact, learning as we go.