Between Amman, Ramallah and Gaza, our partners, the Arab Educational Forum (AEF), launched a project titled “Learning by Propinquity”. This project aims to promote and develop alternative teaching and learning methods based on the principle of emancipatory education and proximate learning, in cooperation with the Jordanian Hashemite Fund; Al-Nuzha and 28 Magazine in Gaza, and the Ramallah branch of AEF, respectively.
The project’s main goal is to restore and reinvigorate the idea of close learning, especially after years of distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic, which had substantial ramifications. Project Manager Reef Fakhoury noted that the main idea is to enhance close learning by returning to the learning methods derived from our real lives in a way that promotes all forms of diversity (including gender, age, and knowledge diversity). This can help achieve social justice by promoting political and social discussions. Fakhoury defined “Learning by Propinquity” as a form of practical learning that neither utilizes conventional teaching nor a “knowledge Policeman” [so to speak] who coercively corrects the students. Rather, the said teaching methodology sees every person as a partner in creating meanings rather than being a “consumer” of dictated concepts. It also sees this partnership as a basis for proper learning in according with nature-friendly values.
This project is conscientious and it focuses on soil and roots. It has four main components: educational, social, cultural, and earth-related aspects. A set of activities will be held within this framework, as well as discussions to familiarize people about social justice, self-knowledge, and social and political rights by promoting dialogue and research within a close range. This “proximity” or closeness enhances one’s connection to his or her self, land, community, and surrounding nature. For example, soil is based on the relationship between land and agriculture, and it is the entry point for understanding the economy, food sovereignty, and the right to food from the social justice perspective.
The project’s first phase started in May 2022 and it will continue until November 2022. It attempts to create different work groups in each city, while focusing on the available resources therein. This includes different interactive activities (such as those related to the Earth, Socail, Cultural, and Affection-spiritual soils) which are integrated together and enhance public discussions.