King’s Academy, October 20, 2016 – King’s Academy will host its first Jordan Model Parliament (JMP) Middle School Conference during the first week of November following an Upper School student-led initiative to train students in grades 7 and 8 to become future parliamentarians. The conference will bring together around 80 middle school students from King’s and public and private schools around Jordan to discuss important issues affecting the country and propose solutions to them.
The Upper School JMP student secretariat came up with the idea of a Middle School JMP and conference earlier this year, in anticipation of the opening of the Middle School and with one of the school’s core guiding principles in mind: “Students will learn that they are stewards of what they receive and that it is their responsibility to pass on this stewardship to others, such as younger students and the community as a whole.”
After pitching the idea to Dean of the Middle School Reem Abu Rahmeh and getting the green light, the students designed and developed the curriculum over the summer and are also taking the lead in organizing the conference.
This term, 16 students signed up for Middle School JMP. The group comprises an equal number of girls and boys. JMP secretariat Amr Almghawish ’17 has taken on the role of teacher, holding two classes a week to teach a curriculum that includes three main units: communication skills, Jordan, and conference. The upcoming conference will allow students to demonstrate what they have learned over the course of the term.
The communication skills unit teaches Middle Schoolers to exchange ideas and make decisions together as a group, to discuss problems and come up with solutions and how to apply them. Conference teaches them to organize the logistics of the conference, while the Jordan component covers history and current affairs, essential knowledge for Jordan’s future leaders and parliamentarians.
“The students are getting a better understanding of Jordan, and learning to communicate with each other,” said Almghawish. “When we first started everyone was shouting over each other and interrupting; now I’m really impressed by the level of discussion. By the end of the course we aim to have practiced the Harkness method, which I couldn’t have imagined on day one, but that’s how far they’ve come.”
As many Middle Schoolers have shown an interest in joining JMP, it is expected that the class size will double next term and that two classes may be offered: beginner and advanced. At the end of this month, King’s will host a training session for students from other participating schools to prepare them for the November conference.
“The recent parliamentary elections showed us which areas still need a lot of work,” said Almghawish. “With JMP we aim to model a better version, to show how we want to lead it in the future when we become a part of it.”