Teachers at the Heart winner - Walid Chaafi

Mr Walid Chaafi teachers English in the south of Tunisia where he works with vision and ambition to help students to develop the 21st century skills which they may need.

Upon hearing news of his win, the Principal of his school said:

“This will encourage other teachers to follow Walid’s steps and believe that one’s work will be rewarded and recognised one day.”

Here he tells us more about his award-winning 'Keep it Beating' project, and the benefits it has brought to his students and school.

What was the goal of your project?

"The main objectives of the 'Keep it beating' project were to enable students to: 

• Be able to communicate and collaborate with others and acquire 21st century skills

• Have a solid knowledge about the heart

• Be an ambassador of change and try to have an impact on society

• Acquire new ways of learning to build on their existing knowledge while helping them to become autonomous" 

What did the project involve?

"The aim of the project was to develop a thorough understanding of how the heart works, and it was divided into four phases:

• Phase 1: The preparation phase, during which groups and tasks were created and each group was given a task. We agreed on what to do, which included the creation of presentations, posters, modelling, plays, websites etc. 

• Phase 2 and 3: The creation phase which included collaborating, checking, drafting and producing. In this phase students check their work either through peer checking, or I did it from time to time. As the project dealt with the heart, we visited the regional hospital where we were guided by a cardiologist there.

• Phase 4: The Open Day where all the productions were presented (posters, videos, play, presentations…) and the cardiologist came to give a short conference."  

How did it benefit your students?

"The project helped students in developing critical and high order thinking skills. The students acquired knowledge beyond the normal scope of textbook information. A good example of this is how they applied what they learnt in Science, IT and Art, in the English classroom. The interdisciplinary aspect of the project helped them deepen their knowledge and understanding by connecting information and ideas from two or more academic disciplines.  

In addition, the collaborative nature of this project required students of mixed abilities to work together in multiple phases. Students shared responsibility for developing their portion of the overall product. They were divided into groups of five and each group dealt with a task. The group members were asked to produce a final poster, PowerPoint or video about the task they were dealing with. All students in each group participated in one way or another. They shared responsibilities, made joint decisions and their work was interdependent which means that all the team took part."

Did it benefit other teachers?

"I worked collaboratively with other teachers (Science, Art and IT) to provide resources and learning opportunities. The interdisciplinary activities gave students great opportunities to construct knowledge. The teachers were also involved in the project and learnt from it. They extended the scope of teaching to collaborate with teachers from other subjects which provided them with new ideas and teaching techniques. Teachers said that they understood their students better when seeing them working on other subjects under their supervision.
One main benefit was the agreement with the cardiologist in our regional hospital to give sessions about the heart and offer support for  three students who suffer from heart problems in our school."

Our judges verdict:

“An innovative and ambitious interdisciplinary project with very clear aims and outcomes that develops learner autonomy and steps out of school and into the community. We would really like to have a go at this project!”

What's next for Walid Chaafi?

As part of their scholarship prize, Walid will be attending a two-week training course at the NILE teacher training institute in Norwich this summer.  Find out more about the courses available and how Macmillan Education is working in partnership with NILE.

Back to Teachers at the Heart

"You can learn more about the 'Keep it beating' project by watching these videos, which Waalid shared with us in his application."

A video about the project 

Interview with students about the project

Video of the play

Websites created by the students

Site 1