Creating an Inclusive Islamic Education

Creating an Inclusive Islamic Education

On Saturday 6th May 2023, Al Mahdi Madrasah held a day’s workshop on “Creating an Inclusive Islamic Education” . The programme was aimed at supporting teachers to tailor their teaching so as to meet the needs of children with all abilities.
Sister Iman Virji, a registered Speech and Language Therapist and head of of the Learning Support Team at Shia Ithna Asheri Madrasah (SIM), Hujjat Jamat in London, kindly facilitated this workshop.
The theme of the workshop was ‘Supporting teachers to serve children of all abilities.’ It was well attended by teachers and teaching assistants. After recitation of Sura al Fatiha and a short reflection by Dr. Muhammed Abbas Jaffer ,a brief ‘welcome’ and introduction was done by the Director of Madrasah, Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo.

Sister Iman commenced the workshop with 3 introductory activities: an ‘icebreaker’ activity on non-verbal communication, a ‘giving instructions’ activity and a group activity geared at providing teachers with the vicarious experience of the pressures that some students feel when participating in a group. All these activities highlighted the importance of taking into account the abilities of all children when communicating and planning group activities.

Having ‘set the scene’, Sister Iman progressed on to the main parts of the workshop - exploring the reasons behind various behaviours in children and how teachers can support them, discussing the range of abilities in children and how this impacts their learning, making teachers aware of the common diagnosis in children (e.g. ADHD, Autism, language disorder) and strategies to enhance their learning experience by deploying practical activities in the Madrasah classroom.

This interactive workshop engaged teachers and teaching assistants who worked in groups on various case studies and shared their understanding. Participants comented:
-An informative and enlightening workshop that was very useful
-This fantastic workshop has instilled more confidence in the Madrasah team in supporting children with different abilities.
-Enlightened us towards a better understanding of learning difficulties and issues behind challenging behaviour

“It was wonderful to see the passion, dedication, and willingness of the teachers to learn how to serve children of all needs. Their active participation during the day allowed us to delve deep into the various abilities that our children have and consider how we can serve them and nurture them within the Madrasah environment. I commend the team in their motivation to develop a SEN focus in the Madrasah, and look forward to supporting them in any way that I can.”
Iman Virji, Facilitator