Palestinian refugee teacher wins $1m teaching award

Hanan al-Hroub wins Varkey Foundation award, given to outstanding teacher for exceptional contribution to profession.

    A Palestinian teacher who grew up in a refugee camp in Bethlehem has been awarded a prestigious $1m teaching award by Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the prime minister of the UAE.

    Hanan al-Hroub, from Samiha Khalil High School in al-Bireh, Palestine, received the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2016 from Sheikh Maktoum and Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, in Dubai on Sunday.

    "I am proud to be a Palestinian female teacher standing on this stage," a jubilant Hroub said.

    "I accept this as a win for all teachers in general and Palestinian teachers in particular."

    The award is now in its second year.

    An interactive resource on the Palestine conflict
    It was set up to recognise one outstanding teacher who has made an exceptional contribution to the profession.
    Hroub, who had witnessed a particularly rough childhood living in a violent Palestine refugee camp, used her childhood experiences to develop a teaching technique that focused on play as a learning tool and shunned violence.
    The Palestinian teacher and author of the book We Play and Learn has shared her views at conferences, meetings and teacher training seminars.

    Her approach has led to a decline in violent behaviour in schools where this is usually a frequent occurrence.

    Pope Francis, who has recently tried  to connect with the Muslim world, congratulated the teacher at the ceremony via a video message.


    READ MORE: Frustrated Palestinian teachers escalate strike action


     "A child has the right to play," he said.

    "Part of education is to teach children how to play because you learn how to be social through games as well as learn the joy of life."

    Hroub has encouraged her colleagues to review the way they teach, their classroom management strategies and the sanctions they use to curb violence in the school.

    She hopes that through education,eventually, there will be an elimination of violence altogether.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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