(M.A., Curriculum & Teaching)
The sign on the wall – “living your writerly life” – grabbed Nour Jalloul’s attention the moment she began her internship at the American Community School of Beirut. So did the students partnering on writing projects and hunkered in intense discussions of books.
“It was a completely different approach than any other school in Lebanon in teaching the reading and writing of either English or Arabic,” recalls Jalloul, who grew up in Lebanon and attended the American University in Beirut.
“Literacy is more than about reading and writing. Literacy is what kids bring into the classroom and working on their learning styles.”
– Nour Jalloul, M.A., Curriculum & Teaching
Jalloul asked around and learned that the workshop approach she’d “fallen in love with” was based on a model developed by Lucy Calkins, TC’s Robinson’s Professor of Children’s Literature and founder of the TC Reading and Writing Project. The summer before her senior year of college, she came to the United States for a workshop led by Calkins herself. As she walked the campus corridors, Jalloul says, “I knew I had to be here.”
She spent the next four years teaching at the American Community School before finally returning to a pursue a master’s degree in TC’s Literacy Specialist program – an experience she describes as a whirlwind of learning and enlightenment.
For example, a course taught by Education Professor Marjorie Siegel awakened her to the power of “multi-modality.”
“She challenged our thinking around literacy,” Jalloul says. “Literacy is more than about reading and writing. Literacy is what kids bring into the classroom and working on their learning styles.”
A “writer’s craft” class taught by Calkins motivated Jalloul to deconstruct her own writing.
“It was really powerful because I was able to go back to my fieldwork and try methods I’ve tried with students in conferencing or small group work.”
She also is grateful for the opportunity to absorb lessons on the practical applications of core leadership, staff development and mentoring principles by observing Reading and Writing Project staff working with students in New York City and Long Island classrooms.
“It was a program that prepared me to take on leadership positions in the future,” she says. “A program that versed me not just in theory but also practice and research, which is what teaching is all about.”
Jalloul will be applying those lessons in Beirut later this year when she returns to the American Community School as a literacy coach. She’ll be specializing in digital literacy and innovative teaching strategies, but her ultimate focus is on Lebanese students who lack the wherewithal to attend a prestigious private institution.
“My goal is to ‘be the change’ in Lebanon that I can become if I work in public schools.” – Steve Giegerich
Read about TC's 2018 Convocation ceremonies.