It was a remarkable moment when I found out from Nick Bilbrough about holding English sessions for the most vulnerable kids in the Gaza Strip. The siege makes learning English language very difficult, and the economical situation means children lack access to effective teaching materials. Meeting with Nick through Zoom has not been an easy task because the electricity is not available all the time. However, the English sessions were like a dream for the children. Most students have never had a live listening experience with someone from outside Gaza before and now they are enthusiastically showing their peers the drawn scenes of a story that Nick told them. I wish I had had this chance myself when I was a kid. If I had, I think speaking and writing English wouldn’t have been such hard work . Thanks for this unique chance!
Haneen Besseiso, facilitator, The Tamer institute for community Education , Gaza
The most amazing thing about the Hands up Project is that it is not just another online resource for English language teachers, but a resource point through which the team behind it can actually show you how to do online story telling. Syrian refugee children in refugee camps in Jordan are thrilled to be able to benefit from the Hands up Project for learning English. I can see the difference it makes to our young learners by employing this innovative method that is very appealing to them.
Danijel Cuturic, Education Programme Manager, Relief International, Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan.
The Hands Up Project affects me and my class in many ways. As a teacher, it gives me the chance to practice English and talk to colleagues in other countries. More importantly, it has a charming and interesting effect on my students’ minds and behaviour.I think this project opens a space for students in my class to practise their skills and hobbies of acting & singing and it affects them socially and psychologically as they are always happy to see and talk to people from outside Gaza. Doing a live link up with the conference delegates at the IATEFL conference was so exciting for them. Mr Nick always appreciates their efforts and they are very happy to see themselves on Youtube and Facebook presenting chants & stories. All respect and appreciation to the Hands Up Project which enables us to communicate with people in the world through a small window in my school.
Sahar Salha, teacher at Beit Hanoun elem co-ed “A” UNRWA school, Gaza
Tamer Institute gave me the opportunity to be part of the Hands up Project where I work as a facilitator along with Nick Bilbrough doing voluntary storytelling sessions through video conferencing tools for a group of children in different refugee camps in Gaza Strip. I have the privilege to work along with him in providing the children of Gaza with a rare opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills and enjoy a moment of normality amidst the extraordinarily challenging circumstances they have been experiencing.
Rola Mattar, facilitator, The Tamer institute for community Education , Gaza
The Hands Up Project is so inspiring! It engages the magical world of tales and stories in teaching and learning English.As an educational specialist, I have observed many storytelling sessions led by Nick. Students were dramatizing stories, chanting them and doing lots of other activities that supported the development of their competencies.I have noticed how students of different age and levels were so enthusiastic and excited at being part of this project.
Rida Thabet, educational specialist, UNRWA Gaza
In my plenary address at the recent IATEFL conference in Birmingham, UK, I was pleased to be able to show a clip of Nick teaching one of the classes in Gaza to the more than 1000 participants who were present – and to the many more who were watching a live-stream broadcast of my talk. I was using this clip as an example of how a new methodology might be synthesised out of a combination of traditional classroom ingredients, very simple technology, a strong desire to cross physical, cultural, and linguistic boundaries, and a commitment to enlist education to resist oppression and intolerance. The response was amazing!
Scott Thornbury, teacher, teacher educator and author