Quality Holistic Learning

The Quality Holistic Learning (QHL) Project aims to contribute to efforts to transform education in response to recent global events and shared crises by addressing concerns around quality, equity, and inclusion through holistic learning in education in displacement contexts.

The QHL project is situated within our Refugee Educator Academy, building on existing knowledge and resources in crisis, emergency, displacement, and refugee contexts. This project is focused on bolstering national education systems to support inclusion, equity, and holistic learning for every child, including displaced, refugee, marginalized, and vulnerable learners. Specifically, QHL Project Fellows and partners are working to co-create competency-based professional learning open educational resources (OERs) focused on social and emotional learning, psychosocial support and wellbeing, asset based pedagogies, and differentiated instruction to support holistic learning.

QHL is an example of how the Center for Professional Learning works with a diverse stakeholder group to develop professional learning resources and opportunities for teachers working in displacement contexts within larger national education systems. Teachers, themselves, need holistic learning opportunities; thus, our project centers teachers as self-directed learners and as leaders within their local, national, and regional contexts.

young adult in libraryDuring the spring of 2021 and the spring of 2022, teachers and other key education stakeholders in four target countries—Chad, Kenya, Lebanon, and Niger—created, tested, evaluated, and revised OERs in Arabic, English, and French that include professional development online courses and offline trainings, handbooks, communities of practice, micro-credentials, and learning analytics tools. Read the external evaluation report here and access the OERs created during this phase of the project here. In the year ahead, the QHL Project community will continue developing professional learning materials with a deeper dive into asset based pedagogies for education in displacement and differentiated instruction.

Attain skills and recognition in Quality Holistic Learning and other topics by earning one of our Micro-credentials.

Holistic teaching and learning is not just a function of what is taught but how material is taught.

Project Overview

Over an 18-month period, the Center for Professional Learning worked with teams of teachers in Lebanon, Kenya, and Niger to develop a competency-based framework for teacher professional development (PD) in refugee/displacement contexts. The framework incorporates online teaching/learning, social and emotional learning (SEL), asset based pedagogy, and other key proficiencies critical to holistic learning and responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic (and other crises).

An introductory course on asset-based pedagogies and a suite of SEL/PSS professional learning resources — including two online courses, a handbook, and a set of face-to-face workshops — have been created by QHL Project Fellows in Lebanon, Kenya, and Niger have been tested in these countries as well as in Chad. These are contextually specific, open education resources available for use by school and ministry leaders, INGOs, and local NGOs and CBOs.

Additional quality holistic learning professional development resources will be co-created in the year ahead. Check back here for updates and/or join our mailing list to receive notifications as materials are created, tested, and released.

Project Rationale

In 2016, UNESCO estimated a shortage of 69 million teachers needed to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030 in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4.1. While some countries have made progress in building their teacher workforce in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dampening effect, at best, and a truly devastating impact in some nations over the past two years.

Recruiting, preparing, sustaining, and, thus, retaining quality teachers necessitates continuous investment over the full lifespan of a teaching career. This must be conducted through meaningful, connected, sustained, and responsive professional learning and leadership opportunities.

Prior to COVID-19, “skilling up” educators in displacement, emergency, and refugee contexts was already challenging. Now these educators, whether novice or master teachers, must be adept at teaching via online and remote methods. They also must be prepared to differentiate instruction and support the learning of students with significant gaps in learning due to conflict, migration, and the closure of schools during the pandemic.

The pandemic exacerbated disparities in access to quality teacher professional development at a time when educators in displacement contexts need that support more than ever. It also awakened many people to the untapped talent and potential of teachers to transform schools into more equitable, inclusive, and holistic learning communities.

Objectives

The overarching goal for this initiative is to increase quality holistic learning outcomes, encompassing both academic and social and emotional learning (SEL), for children in displacement contexts.

Specific project objectives include:

  • Increased teacher competency, including knowledge and skills necessary to promote quality holistic learning with students in displacement contexts and ability to demonstrate these competencies
  • Increased knowledge exchange around SEL and holistic teaching and learning among teachers and other education stakeholders, including INGOs, NGOs, ministries of education, etc., in displacement contexts
  • Improved data-informed teaching, including through the use of assessment, learning analytics, and reporting tools that help make teaching and learning visible to inform practice and guide continuous professional learning
  • Target Countries & Regional Hubs

    We are working within three regional hubs and with four target countries. The regional hubs include the Middle East, East Africa, and Central and West Africa. Target countries are Lebanon, Kenya, Chad, and Niger.

    These focal points were identified through existing partnerships, interest from new and potential partners, analysis of gaps and assets in various regions, and identification of essential capacity to execute on the project overall. They are subject to change given shifts in context, interest, or capacity.

    While the aim is that the professional learning materials for educators created through this initiative will be applicable across global displacement and crisis contexts, we believe that building from the grassroots in a few specific locations will best model processes of empowerment and professional engagement for educators, through centering iterative design processes, dialog, and reflection within communities of practice.

    Ongoing Discussions

    Holistic learning is an old concept that has resurfaced in education circles in recent years. Other terms in circulation include whole-child education, healthy pedagogy, and pedagogies of wellness.

    During the April 2022 Migration Summit, CPL Director Diana Woolis joined the Summit team for a discussion on holistic support in learning and how everyone has a right not only to learn, but to learn holistically.


    Quality Holistic Learning App

    A prototype app was created during the first phase of the QHL Project. It assists teachers in their use of effective teaching methods and measurement of holistic learning outcomes. Our goal is to make the impact of their teaching more visible to teachers and to other key stakeholders. The app guides teachers (both formally and non-formally trained) in displacement contexts in the assessment of, reflection on, and intervention in holistic learning, defined as both students’ academic achievement and their social and emotional learning (SEL) and psychosocial wellbeing.

    If you would like more information on how to be part of the development team for this app, please contact Julie Kasper at [email protected].

    Read more

    This is how we are supporting teachers around the world in 2021

    Center for Learning in Practice Joins the International Teacher Task Force

    diverse group of professionals engaging in refugee learning training programs.

    Previous Project

    Refugee Educator Academy Read more