Report on Academic
Specialist Visit to Egypt:
May 29 - June 18, 1999
By Christopher E. Renner, Kansas State University
About the Specialist
Christopher E. Renner is a Linguistically/Culturally
Diverse Populations' Consultant and Teacher Trainer at the Midwest
Equity Assistance Center, College of Education, Kansas State University.
He has been at the Center for one year whilst completing his course
work for a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Prior to this
position, he was a tenured English as a Foreign Language Instructor
at the University of Naples - Federico II, Faculty of Medicine
1986 - 1997 and the Faculty of Pharmacy 1997 - 1998. He also taught
for many years at the American Studies Center in Naples. Prof.
Renner received his BA in psychology and history from the Franciscan
University of Ohio in 1978. He did graduate studies in TESOL at
Teachers College, Columbia University in 1987 and 1991. He holds
both the Royal Society of Arts Certificate and Diploma in TEFLA.
He received his Masters of Education from Framingham State College
(MA) in International Education in 1998. Prof. Renner has travelled
and lectured in Italy, Austria, Poland, France, Spain, Greece,
Malta, Lebanon, Egypt and the United States. He has co-authored
two secondary EFL textbooks: Hot Issues and Issues for
the 2000s. Both textbooks were published by Loescher Editore
and incorporate global education themes and Multiple Intelligence
Areas of Specialization
Teaching and learning styles, language
learning strategies, second language assessment/placement, multiple
intelligences, curriculum development, peace education, global
education, nonviolent conflict resolution, human rights education,
multiculturalism, and gender equity.
The primary focus of this visit was
training EFL instructors, in-service trainers, Ministry of Education
officials, university faculty, and students at the Faculties of
Education in Alexandria and Assuit in nonviolent conflict resolution,
the theory and practice of Multiple Intelligences put forth by
Howard Gardner, and the promotion of Civic Education across the
curriculum. An intensive seminar, "Integrating Global Awareness
into the Language Classroom - Part II" was held in Cairo. This
seminar used a trainer-of-trainers approach and consisted of four
intensive 6-hour days of studying, experiencing and discussing
conflict resolution and MI theory. This seminar was a follow-up
involving the same participants who attended a similar intensive
training seminar held in October, 1998.
Workshops were also held at the Center
for Curriculum and Instructional Materials Development, an independent
think-tank for the Ministry of Education, on assessing content
for Civic Education and establishing goals and objectives for
Civic Education in the Egyptian elementary and secondary curriculum
- all subjects. A follow-up session was held at this Center in
which curriculum developers presented Global Education themes
they had included in the textbooks they were writing.
At the National Center for Educational
Research and Development, another independent think-tank of the
Ministry of Education, a lecture entitled: "What and How to Include
Civic Education in the Curriculum" was held. This body establishes
the aims, goals and objectives of the Egyptian public school curriculum.
An underlying objective of this lecture was to indicate to this
group that channels of communication needed to be established
with the Center for Curriculum so that the two groups could establish
common aims for including Civic Education in the curriculum.
Finally, on the last day of my visit,
I presented a teleconference from the Ministry of Education to
its 28 in-service centers entitled: "Education for a Small Planet:
How to Build Global Connectedness." I am unsure how many people
participated in this teleconference, but I was told that over
2,000 participants would have access to this forum. After the
lecture, questions were take from 10 in-service center concerning
the content of the lecture and issues of curriculum development
for implementation of the ideas expressed.
A formal visit was made to Dr. Nabil
Eid El-Zahhar, Dean, College of Education, Suez Canal University.
This visit was conducted with Haynes Mahoney, Cultural Affairs
Officer, and Margo Abdel Aziz, Program Controller. Dr. Zahhar
has designed a required course in peace education for all students
at the faculty. We discussed the syllabus, his goals for the course,
and how bridges of cooperation could be established between the
work the Office for Cultural Affairs and the Regional English
Language Officer are carrying out in the inclusion of Civic Education
in curriculum design and content with his program.
My reflections on this visit are:
Whereas in October, 1998, I worked with a special, select group
of EFL specialist, this time I had the opportunity to interact
with individuals at all levels of the academic structure. This
interaction provided me with many insights and enabled me to make
concrete connections with what I was saying on a theoretical level
and what individuals identified as needs. The Egyptian education
model is similar to models I have encountered in Italy and Greece
which are dominated by the teacher. Students are expected to be
quite and not ask for explanation. The primary model of instruction
is lecture with little or no resources for group work.
An underlying principle of Civic
Education is the gradual but continuous development of the individual
in a holistic approach. This is why I chose this time to focus
of the theory of learning Gardner and others are putting forth.
If we want peaceful classrooms that produce mature adults who
actively participant in the society with compassion, altruism,
and respect, then our classrooms must become a micro-model of
such a society.
Many participants expressed to me
their frustration with the standardized exams which are given
at the end of each academic year and determine if a learner passes
to the next grade. These exams account for a large majority of
the learners final grade, as much as 95%. Whereas only 5% of the
grade is determined by the work the learner has done during the
course of the year in the classroom. This approach can easily
block any real curriculum reform implementing MI theory or focusing
content on Civic Education themes. Another expressed concern was
the size of the classes; some elementary schools have 40 - 50
students per room, as well as the lack of basic resources. All
of these concerns are important when educating for a democratic
society and in some way need to be addressed for the long-term
good of the academic structure.
I was interviewed by a Cairo radio
station for a program they called: "Hot Issues." This 15-minute
interview centered on the need for curriculum renewal that provided
learners which the knowledge, skills, beliefs, abilities, and
values for the next century.
Birch, Barbara M. Prosocial Communicative
Competence in the ESOL Classroom. TESOL Journal, Winter
1993/1994, pp. 13 - 16.
Carter, Jimmy (1993). Talking
Peace: A Vision for the Next Generation. New York, NY: Dutton
Cherubini, Nicoletta (1994). Conflict
Resolution in the FL Classroom: Memories, Dreams... and Materials.
Post-Conference Proceedings, Networking English Language Learning
Chethow-Yanoov, Benyamin (1994).
Conflict - Resolution Skills Can Be Taught. In: Bjerstedt, Åke
(Ed.) Education for peace: A conference report from Malta. Peace
Education Reports, No. 13. Malmö, Sweden: Department of Educational
and Psychological Research, School of Education, Lund University.
Cohen, Richard (1995). Students
Resolving Conflict. Glenview, IL: GoodYearBooks/ScottForesmen
Drew, Naomi (1995). Learning the
Skills of Peacemaking: A K-6 Activity Guide on Resolving Conflict,
Communicating, Cooperating. Carson, CA: Jalmar Press.
Drew, Naomi (1999). The Peaceful
Classroom in Action: A K-6 Activity Guide on How to Create One
and How to Keep It! Torrance, CA: Jalmar Press.
Girotti, Maria Rosina, Christopher
Renner, Cinzia Riguzzi and Sonia Selleri (1999). Issues for
the 2000s. Torino, IT: Losecher Editore.
Johnson, David and Roger Johnson
(1995). Reducing School Violence through Conflict Resolution.
Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Kale, David (?). Peace as an Ethic
for Intercultural Communication (bibliographical information
Lantieri, Linda (1995). Waging Peace
in Our Schools: Beginning with the Children. Peace, Environment
and Education Vol 6, No. 19.
Levin, Diane E. (1994). Teaching
Young Children in Violent Times: Building a Peaceable Classroom.
Cambridge, MA: Educators for Social Responsibility.
Armstrong, Thomas (1994). Multiple
Intelligences in the Classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association
for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Campbell, Linda, Bruce Campbell and
Dee Dickinson (1996, 1999). Teaching and Learning through Multiple
Intelligences (2nd Edition). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn &
Christison, Mary Ann (1997). Emotional
Intelligence and Second Language Teaching. TESOL Matters,
Fischer, Kurt and Samuel Rose (1998).
Growth Cycles of Brain and Mind. Educational Leadership,
Vol 56, No. 3, pp. 56 - 60.
Fletcher, Mark (1997). The Brain-friendly
Revolution. TESOL Spain Newsletter, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp17
Gardner, Howard (1993). MultipleIntelligences:
The Theory in Practice. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Gardner, Howard (1999). A Multiplicity
of Intelligences. Scientific American Presents, Vol 9,
No. 4, pp 19 - 23.
Lazear, David (1991, 1999). Eight
Ways of Teaching (3rd Edition). Arlington Heights, IL: Skylight
Training and Publishing.
Lazear, David (1999). Multiple
Intelligence Approaches to Assessment: Solving the Assessment
Conundrum. Tucson, AZ: Zephyr Press.
Sternberg, Robert (1996). IQ Counts,
But What Really Counts Is Successful Intelligence. National
Association of Secondary School Principles Bulletin, Vol.
80, No. 583, PP 18 - 23.
Walters, Joseph and Howard Gardner
(1995). The Development and Education of Intelligences. In Fogarty,
Robin and James Bellanca (Eds.). Multiple Intelligences: A
Collection. Arlington Heights, IL: IRI/Skylight Training and
White, Noel, Tina Blythe, and Howard
Gardner (1995).Multiple Intelligences Theory: Creating the Thoughtful
Classroom In Fogarty, Robin and James Bellanca (Eds.). Multiple
Intelligences: A Collection. Arlington Heights, IL: IRI/Skylight
Training and Publishing.
Wolf, Pat and Ron Brandt (1998).
What Do We Know from Brain Research? Educational Leadership,
Vol 56, No. 3, pp. 8 - 13.
Rainforest Action Network--includes
"kid's corner" that has teaching materials on the environment.
Global Issues Special Interest Group
(GISIG) - International Association of Teachers of English as
a Foreign Language (IATEFL)
"One world, One people" project --includes
Global Issues in Language Education
(N-SIG) -- Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT)
New Internationalist Magazine
-- Also has articles with discussion guides in "easy English"
for use in the EFL classroom.
Our Global Neighbourhood -- interactive
page for global citizenship produced by the Commission on Global
World Wildlife Fund
Association for World Citizens --
strongly pro-peace, anti-military
Institute for Global Communications
-- supports many peace and justice organizations.
PeaceNet -- promotes alternatives
Rethinking Schools -- progressive
US Educational organization addressing issues of poverty, prejudice,
and conflict resolution.
Economic Security Project -- promotes
United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
UNESCO's Culture of Peace Project
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
-- International Child Development Center
The Noam Chomsky Archive -- Archives
of one of America's most prominent political dissidents
Amnesty International (check out
Committee of Concerned Scientists
-- an independent organization of scientists, physicians and engineers
dedicated to the protection and advancement of the human rights
and scientific freedom of colleagues throughout the world
ERIC Clearing House on Languages
ERIC search engine for bibliographies
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