Teaching the fastest calculators in the world: mathematical triumph in Syria [EN/AR] – Syrian Arab Republic

Enthusiastic and passionate, Hala is a mathematics teacher at the UNRWA Al-Ramleh school in Homs camp, Syria. With 20 years of teaching experience, Hala knows the importance of education in improving the lives of Palestinian refugee children in Syria. She has spent the past two decades helping her students realize their potential.

To help children succeed, Hala creates a positive learning environment in her UNRWA classroom. Many of her students find math difficult, so Hala strives to apply patient and interactive methods to ensure that her students understand the subject matter. “I really want my classes to be fun and entertaining,” she says. With her unique teaching style, Hala expands her students’ ability to solve problems with confidence, inspiring them to love the subject.

In Syria, more than half of UNRWA’s classrooms have been damaged due to the conflict. Although security issues are a pressing concern, UNRWA remains committed to implementing its education reform strategy. This includes the successful implementation of the following flagship teacher development programs: School-Based Teacher Development Programs (SBTD I and II) for teachers and the Leading for the Future (LftF) program for school principals and vice-principals. These programs allow teachers to explore new approaches in the classroom and reflect on their impact. The continued EU support contributes to the success of UNRWA’s education programs and empowers teachers like Hala to deliver quality education, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Hala joined a training course to prepare to do mental arithmetic and received a training certificate. She began by leading small group mental arithmetic classes for high-achieving students who showed great interest and were happy to use mental arithmetic methods. “Each student learns to do calculations in his head.” Hala explained. Then she expanded the group to include children who struggled with math. She found that it improved their level of motivation.

Among its many successes, six of Hala’s students won the International Mental Calculation World Championship in 2021. The competition included 388 competing students from 44 countries. “I am proud of the outstanding achievements and results of my students! ” she says. His students are now considered the fastest calculators in the world. “It has been very rewarding to see the opportunity our students have had to expand their skills and aspirations both here in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. Their results are well above our expectations,” concluded Hala: UNRWA and the EU are proud to empower pioneering teachers like Hala, who strive to succeed despite the challenges and hardships they face teaching in areas of ongoing conflict.

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