The 1st KOMAK Summer Institute, Kurdistan


Hawler – 1st Course

The 1st KOMAK Summer Institute for teachers began today, June 23, 2008 with approximately 60 participants. We started by singing, "Happy Birthday" since we hope, in so many ways, that this experience will be a re-birth of ideas for us as teachers and school principals. We next took a test that was meant to help us recognize what we already know about education and also to assist us in recognizing what we'd like to learn. This required a lot of thinking and flexibility. Remember: There is NO ONE RIGHT ANSWER. Later, we conducted activities that required considering the "whole child," by including the academic, cognitive, social, and motor aspects of learning. Of course, all participants will complete short homework assignments tonight and tomorrow we will begin by establishing classroom rules. Learning is a beautiful thing!



The past two days of the 1st KOMAK Teacher's Institute have been very positive and very productive. We have studied several topics, including behavior management, classroom rules, and learning disabilities. In addition, we have continued to practice techniques such as establishing "circle time"  and using strategies to help children learn to ask questions and think about ideas, or to be actively engaged in their school experience. We have had the opportunity to practice using a structured lesson plan model with our colleagues, as well as to participate in creative art activities related to the theme of nature that we have developed in our classroom. As the tree we planted on our classroom wall continues to sprout leaves and flowers and welcome animals to its forest, our teachers are growing in their knowledge as professionals! It's been a fun and challenging two days that have been incredibly rewarding. Our Institute closes on Saturday with a final project and, of course, a celebration!


Dukan – 2nd Course

The 1st KOMAK Teacher Training Institute, Second Session, took place in Dukan at Bellevue Village, from June 30 to July 2, 2008. Teachers from Kirkuk, Koya, and Slemani joined together to learn about behavior management in the classroom, writing effective classroom rules, how to teach content so childrem become good problem-solvers, and teaching using clear objectives and solid instructional methods. We enjoyed many laughs, particularly when we all sang songs for one another, and shared lots of accomplishments as we grew together as professionals.

 What a wonderful experience!


Kirkuk – 2nd Course

Today, June 30, 2008, the 2nd KOMAK Summer Institute started in the town of Dukan, where 60 teachers from the towns of Kirkuk, Koya and Kandakawa joined together for professional development training in behavior management, teaching content, establishing classroom ethics, and learning disabilities.  The course lasted three FABULOUS days.


Ranye – 3rd Course

Saturday, July 12th, 2008 will bring us to the close of our 3rd session of the 1st KOMAK Teacher Training Institute. Teachers of all grade levels from Koya, Nawdesht, and Ranya joined us to study classroom assessment, writing rules, behavior management, effective instructional methods, and developing a democratic classroom environment. We have studied hard - learning to organize our lesson plans in a meaningful way, understanding the use of rubrics, and developing a classroom-based system of rules and routines. We've also enjoyed each others' company through singing songs, practicing techniques, making leaves grow on trees and putting stars in the sky, as well as dancing around our classroom like a train and laughing frequently. The experience has been incredibly enriching for me as a person and a professional, as I hope it has been for the teachers. My perception is that they are AMAZING and will surely use the opportunity of having been a part of the KOMAK Teacher Training Institute to make education in Kurdistan more democratic and meaningful for their students, thus changing their country for the better.  

As my time in Kurdistan draws to a close, I want to thank my dear, dear friends Karwan, Mohammad and Asos for making this possible. Of course, I couldn't have done it without our amazing team. First, Halgurd, who translated for me. Also, of course, Khaled, Sabah, Kurdo, Karzan, Shayda, Chrakhan, Aras and many more. I'd like to congratulate the talented teachers who assisted with Circle Time, including Nazdar, Shanas, and Aswad.

Above all, thank you thank to the amazind Kurdish educators who participated so completely in our program across Kurdistan - in Hawler, Dukan and Ranya. It's YOU who change the world. YOU ARE MY HEROES.


KOMAK - UNICEF partnership

CONGRATULATIONS TO KOMAK AND UNICEF! KOMAK partnered with UNICEF to provide a teacher training workshop for educators from across Southern Kurdistan (Duhok, Sulaimany, and Hawler). During the course of 6 days, a group of inspectors, directors, and classroom teachers has participated in training about methods for developing effective lessons, establishing classroom rules, and managing children’s behavior in the classroom. Karwan, Halgurd, Karzan, Kurdo, and Amanda worked together as *Team KOMAK* to make this a successful and enjoyable experience for the participants. It was a great opportunity to offer our skills and energy to UNICEF.


About Amanda Clinton