“Every time you expose a child’s brain to new ideas, it grows and develops. This process strengthens cognitive abilities and refreshes the way children perceive information."
Suha Tutunji, Jusoor’s Academic Director
Jusoor is constantly advocating for providing quality education to Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. More than 50 team members are working to improve the teaching methods Jusoor offers at its schools. In the case of Syrian refugee children, education should not only cover the basics, but to prepare the children to develop skills essential to daily living, like developing judgment, reasoning, and learning how to discern right from wrong. While often taught in some other countries’ education systems, Mental Math is not uniformly taught in Lebanon and is even more rare in refugee schools. Recently, we visited one of Jusoor’s education centers in Beirut to explore Mental Math; a critical skillset and thus an exciting addition to Jusoor’s curriculum to elevate students’ mathematical skills, even beyond the classroom or textbooks.
Mental math is a group of techniques that allow students to do calculations using only their minds without pencils, papers or calculators. Students in grades one, two, and three are now learning to do addition and subtraction with the help of their teachers.
Additionally, in Jusoor’s Jurahiya school, Hadeel Al-Rakhlani is the teacher responsible for ensuring students are making the most of their experience in mental math. She joined Jusoor in March of last year as a certified trainer by the Canadian Board. Hadeel believes students who master mental math can use their knowledge of number relationships and facts to solve problems as this skill sets the foundation for building mental strategies to overcome real life challenges.
“Children are having so much fun using the abacus. They are viewing math as an enjoyable game. They’re not only learning how to calculate, they’re testing their knowledge of basic mathematical rules and using their imagination to find the solution.”
To measure how successful implementing Mental Math is to the children, the team assesses the student’s skills following a checklist that covers all parts of their performance. It has been observed so far that Jusoor's team is noticing many gifted students who are excelling at using this new skill. Unfortunately, some of these children must work to support their families, and being able to use mental math fluently will undoubtedly help them avoid being scammed or taken advantage of.
As Jusoor’s team continues to put their efforts in pinpointing the latest trends in modern education and present the students with everything they need, a vision of the future plans for the program is being put into place. Every other year, a variety of 21st century skills will be introduced to the students and the teachers in order to . Mental Math covering multiplication and division is going to be introduced to older students alongside new, and truly exciting, STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) classes in partnership with Phoenix Space.