by Fatima AbdulKarim
RAMALLAH Ethan Ampadu Chelsea Jersey , March 24 (Xinhua) -- For Palestinian teacher Hanan Al-Hroub, "No to Violence" has always been the main theme of education, especially to counter the adverse conditions outside the classroom.
Hroub, 43, was named Global Teacher of 2016 by the Varkey Foundation earlier this month, winning one million U.S. dollars.
Her efforts in promoting non-violence and accommodating traumatized students who found refuge in her classroom, away from fear, violence and exhaustion, help her beat 8,000 other competing teachers to get the prize.
Through her customized "Play and Learn" curriculum, Hroub engages her primary school students in graded games fashioned from used objects, such as carton, cloth, old toys that she would transform into educational tools, all under the slogan: "No to Violence."
The goal is to provide happiness in troubling times, Hroub said.
In politically and economically taxing circumstances, Hroub spoke proudly about the prize and what it means for her personally and for Palestinian teachers in general.
"This validates our strong presence, providing and presenting an international achievement, and we want something equivalent in return," she said.
The prize will encourage other Palestinian teachers to inspire students away from violence and to develop academically, Hroub said.
Less than 10 years into her career, Hroub said her family's post traumatic ordeal invigorated her career path towards education and particularly teaching an entirely non-violent curriculum.
Hroub's husband, Omar, was shot in the shoulder at an Israeli military checkpoint on his way home to Al-Khader, a predominantly Christian town near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, in October 2000.
Omar was with their twin daughters and his sister-in-law when Israeli soldiers opened fire, injuring both him and his sister-in-law.
The two girls have managed to overcome the traumatizing shooting and are currently training to become lawyers, she said.
It was that incident, and her children's difficult healing process, that motivated her to dedicate her life to educating children through her "No to Violence" slogan.
Inside her classroom, Hroub portrays a character called "Zarifa," a clown with a colored wig and red nose.
Along with hand puppets, new games and a special tone of voice, she introduces students to solutions to help them cope with their anger as well as both turbulent behavior and feelings triggered by the surrounding violence.
The classroom quickly becomes an assembly of group games, with students competing to offer correct answers and exhibit improved behavior, said Hroub.
Such an approach has reinforced important values such as respect and trust, frequently destroyed by the fear and violence outside the classroom, she said.
Hroub dismissed accusations by Israeli government officials, including the education minister, that the Palestinians are encouraging violent behavior in children through school books and TV shows.
"Look through the Palestinian schools' curricula and you won't find a single sentence encouraging violence ever," she said.
"As teachers we feel we are our state's bedrock, endowed with a high sense of responsibility," Hroub said. "We are steadfast concerning our children's lives and futures."
Rif'at Sabbah, director of Teacher Creativity Center, a Palestinian non-profit organization working in coordination with the Varkey foundation in Palestine, said Hroub won the prize for her dedication and devotion.
Sabbah sees Hroub as a role model with an innovative foundation in extremely challenging circumstances.
The public school system of the West Bank suffers from an insufficient budget and meager wages for teachers, which triggered a general strike last February, in which Hroub also participated.
Sabbah said some teachers were forced to take additional jobs, a situation that adversely impacts the quality of education in the Palestinian territories.
Sabbah said the deteriorating educational system is quite alarming and teachers' demands must be taken seriously. "Recently, studies showed that 40 percent of fourth grade students cannot read or write ... This is veiled illiteracy in schools."
Before leaving for Dubai for the final stages of competition, Hroub joined her colleagues in their general strike. She says her achievement represents a much needed support to Palestinian teachers at this time.
With the award, she says she will work to encourage talented high school students to become educators and become catalysts for change in the Palestinian education system.
SYDNEY, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Killer sharks and the government officials that want them dead are the new public enemies of Australia after an unprecedented spate of shark attacks off the West Australian (WA) coastline has ushered in anti-shark policies that just would not float.
The Australian Greens would not even have a taste of WA Premier Colin Barnett's measures and have this week called on the WA Government to abandon its shark cull policy as community opposition continues to grow.
The WA state government has imposed a slew of measures in response to the recent fatal attacks that have earned the state an unwelcome reputation as the world's deadliest coastline.
Six people have been killed and several more attacked in WA waters since September 2011.
An open letter to the WA Government co-signed by 100 scientists has been published this week by Support our Sharks and calls for non-lethal measures to protect beach-goers, along with a greater investment in research and monitoring.
"Community opposition to the WA Government's plan to cull sharks through measures like drum lines has been increasing since it was announced," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said on Tuesday.
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