Lessons Learned From Secretly Teaching Children in a Syrian Prison Camp

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Welcome back and happy new year to you all. On this episode of the Teach Middle East Podcast, we chat with Ilona Taimela. She is an educator, consultant and teacher trainer from Finland whose work is having a global impact.

In this episode, we look at lessons learned from a project she worked on which involved teaching children in a prison camp in Syria.

Ilona Taimela is the founder and CEO of Helsinki Education Consulting Group. She is a sought-after speaker, lecturer and facilitator of educational transformation and has written books and articles.

She is an educational consultant for municipalities, educational organisations, and businesses in Finland and internationally, especially on developing holistic inclusive pedagogy in engaging student voice and towards a more sustainable future. She is also a researcher of student agency and participation at the University of Helsinki in a research project of Pedagogies of Concrete Utopia.

 During her 30 years career, she has worked as a teacher of ethics, civics, and history in local Finnish schools and in 2 different IBO world schools. She has been on school boards, school leadership teams and led a team of city-wide expert teachers in Phenomenon Based learning. Together with her team, she was supporting the implementation of curriculum in schools (primary, secondary, high schools and vocational education) in the City of Helsinki.

Most recently during the Covid pandemic, she was planning, implementing, and developing an exceptional distance school project via a mobile application to Finnish children in the Al-Hol prison camp in Syria.

This was an initiative by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and financed by the Ministry of Education. The project was realized under the wings of the Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation, and it was to ensure the children’s rights to learning and play. Just before Covid, she was an Education Consultant for the City of Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, consulting +100 schools and +300 daycares as well as vocational school and liberal arts education in school innovations and school development. She coordinated the benchmarking of innovation in schools. She has been the coordinator of the Helsinki Education Week in 2018 and 2019, a week-long festival of learning.
She has also been the representative of the educational department in the Advisory board of the City of Helsinki on participation. She coordinated the development of UN Agenda 2030 pedagogy and eco-pedagogy in the education department. Thus, she is also keen on developing the SDGs and planetary education.

Connect with Ilona

Twitter and Linkedin
Visit her website https:helsinkieducation.com

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