MCE Update

Salaamun Alaikum,

  • Over the next four months, the following key events will be taking place.
  1. Completion of draft curriculum framework. This will be followed up by holding consultation sessions with madaris in each region.
  2. Launch of MCE website.
  3. A comprehensive manual, dealing with a number of generic good governance, including the Health & Safety and the Safe Guarding of Children, will be published.
  4. Development of a training programme for madrasah teachers
  5. The 3rd madrasah assessors training programme in Toronto, Canada from 29th to 31st March 2013.
  6. Pilot madrasah assessments in Leicester, UK (February), Los Angeles, USA (April) and Kampala, Uganda (May).
  7. An MCE awareness day for representatives from madaris in Europe.
  • NASIMCO have appointed brother Ali-Hassan Panju as their representative for MCE and COEJ have similarly appointed Syed Mohammed Naqvi. MCE welcomes both the new representatives and looks forward to working closely with them in their respective regions. MCE would like to thank the outgoing representatives, Shaykh Hasanayn Kassamali from NASIMCO and brother Mahmood Rehemtulla from COEJ for their valuable support and input. We hope that they will continue to offer their services to MCE in the future.

Teaching Tips

Last month we looked at modelling reading strategies which can help children become stronger readers. This month we consider activities after the reading.

Post-reading activities

Follow up your reading activities with a post-reading activity. This will give students the opportunity to reiterate what you have taught them in the lesson. Most importantly, however, it will give the exercise a sense of meaning so that your students feel they have achieved something.

  • Give students a paper hand and have them write five details from the text. Write the inferred main idea on the palm. Instruct them to fold their fingers over to make a fist. This shows that the main idea is what supports all of the details.
  • Differentiate it by having students write a detail from the text on five pieces of paper to create a bracelet to go around the wrist.
  • Challenge students to state what is happening in the picture in 10 words or less. They have to ignore the little details and get the overall meaning.
  • Place students into small groups of four to five. Give each group an appropriate short text and some sticky notes (short articles work best for this main idea activity). Ask them to read the text together and then write an interesting fact on each one.
  • Students will relate their favourite part of the story; then illustrate it on paper.
  • Have students create an individual or class collage around themes or characters in the book.
  • Storyboard - individually or in groups, create a storyboard for the chapter or story.
  • Interrogation - a student must come up before the class and, pretending to be a character or the author, answer questions from the class.
  • Sentence Strips- Students are asked to reconstruct the story using the sentence strips. The teacher may do this together with the children or they can do this independently.

Learning Resources

Looking for a website that has full length cartoon movies on a variety of topics, songs for children to learn about the wonders of Allah and activities to work on?  Then visit the site:  There are three areas on this site – Play and Learn, Stories and Songs.  This site would benefit students in the primary grades, but can also be used to support junior grades as needed.  Any adult using this site needs to watch/listen to the links, and play the games to ensure that the subject matter is appropriate for their children.

There are some great items that teachers can use to engage their students.  Amongst them are simple “What do you say when…” phrases found in the Play and Learn section, the Arabic alphabet practice (click on the alphabet and have it recited back in clear makharij), songs on a variety of topics, mainly about Allah’s blessings on us and stories in cartoons.  Teachers can use these to emphasize a topic, or deliver a lesson using technology.  Students can use this site independently as well, but may require support to find the right activities or songs.  This site uses techniques that are found in mainstream media; use of cartoons and songs to encourage the young to learn.
There are some aspects on this website that require diligence on the part of the teacher. It should be borne in mind that not all the material complies with Shia teachings. The “Save the Flower” game is great, but some content may confuse the learner.  Another issue is the language used.  Some of the words are misspelt (e.g. beggining) and instructions are long and unclear.  Still another concern is the use of music in the children’s songs.  Although the songs are suitable (please check thoroughly), the background music surrounds the song and distracts from the message.  Finally the puzzles on this site did not work and seemed to be very generic – students would just get frustrated as to why the images took so long to load when in fact, they can’t load.  It seems that they have just pulled a link from another site and tried to embed on to their site.  As mentioned before, prior to using the links/activities on this site, a teacher MUST check out the whole activity/movie/song to ensure that the link supports the purpose of the lesson.

Ideally this site has great activities that can be used in our madaris.  It requires a few savvy and knowledgeable individuals in IT to revamp the activities in order to make them appropriate for use by our madrasah chidren. In addition, the activities in the play and learn game “Save the Flower”, similar to Hangman, can be created with specific words to support Aqa’id, Akhlaq or Tareekh topics.

    Sharing a Good Practice

    A madrasah in Canada uses the concept of ‘parent volunteers’. Every parent is required to come to the madrasah one day a year as a volunteer. If parents cannot or do not want to attend, they have to pay a fine to the madrasah. There are several benefits.

    • It is one way of getting parents involved in the madrasah
    • Parent volunteers can carry out administrative chores or tasks which are normally pending (e.g. tidying up the stationery or storage room) or which take up the teachers’ valuable time (e.g. rearranging the classroom furniture when madrasah finishes, clearing up the playground)
    • Small children, in particular, would feel good when they see their parents helping in the madrasah
    • The fines paid by non-volunteer parents provide additional revenue for the madrasah

    It should be borne in mind that the madrasah’s child protection policy is observed when engaging volunteers.

    Madrasah Details

    In order to have accurate data on each madrasah and to keep in touch with them, we have started to build a database of madrasah and their teachers. A request form for data collection was sent to all madrasah principals for completion. We have received only 27 madrasah profiles to date. Madaris that have not yet returned the forms are once again reminded to do so as soon as possible. If you have not received the form, please notify us at [email protected]

    We Need Your Feedback

    We look forward to hearing from you with your feedback, suggestions and opinions on this important initiative of The World Federation. You can contact the Head of MCE by emailing him at [email protected] or call him on + 44 (0)121 246 3575
    We would like to thank the readers who have contributed some of the articles.