Inezgane, Morocco - I was a Fulbright exchange teacher in the State of Indiana, motivated and eager to teach and learn as much as well.
Inezgane, Morocco – I was a Fulbright exchange teacher in the State of Indiana, motivated and eager to teach and learn as much as well.
I lived with my American host and Fulbright partner and her family in Greenwood but taught school in Morristown which was quite a drive away from where we lived. Every morning, we would wake up early enough for what became an almost ritual mid-journey stop for a cup of coffee and a muffin before making it to school.
That went on almost all through my stay in Indiana except during week-ends or school holidays. Those were special moments to break away from education related matters and change focus to other cultural aspects of American life.
On one of those week-ends, I was invited to visit an industrial food processing plant in the outskirts of Indianapolis. When I got there with my American host, we were asked to observe some health and safety measurements before we were introduced into the plant.
We were asked for instance to cover our heads and, in my case my beard as well, and were provided with the necessary equipment to do so. We were also given noise reduction ear buds to put in our ears to attenuate the level of noise produced by machinery.
When we were all set, we started our visit through different sections of the plant. The visit went on for quite some time and involved areas of “raw material” delivery, different areas of food processing, areas of packaging or bottling and finally areas of storing and logistics.
There were also areas where only robots could perform the task of loading or unloading great containers as no workers would bear the minus 30 degrees Celsius reigning in that area (Americans of course use Fahrenheit, but I was told in Celsius that I understand better). When our tour almost came to an end, we went up to the plant administration, which to me was just a number of offices with chairs and tables and nothing more.
I however managed to find out two important things that made my visit more worthwhile and on another plane, more inspiring. The first fact was that when staff meetings were to take place, they had to be held outside work time. Up to here there is nothing extraordinary about it, but what amazed me was the timing of those meetings; they had to be held at 6:00 a.m. ahead of any normal work day. Never heard of that before but the fact is there to think about.
The second thing I considered inspiring and worth transmitting is the notice written on the plant’s meeting room door; “This room is for solutions.” I think it says it all; there is no room for over-exposing problems or bringing about bitter complaints. The philosophy behind the message is that of breaking away from negative attitudes and instead focusing on the shiny positive side through contributing specific, positive, measurable, feasible, realistic, action oriented and timely suggestions or alternatives.
My visit to Indiana was purely within the educational framework to benefit from the American experience. I here do openly ask educational authorities in Morocco to consider this humble suggestion: Do introduce this new spirit and philosophy of “This room is for solutions” to all levels and spheres of the educational system.
I think if it is well introduced and implemented, it might not produce magic out of the common results but it might contribute greatly to somewhat redressing the educational situation in Morocco and uplifting the spirits of hundreds of thousands of people to go forward and do better.
Articles written by Mohamed El Hassan Abou El Fadel in Morocco World News are taken from his Cultural Journals. The articles feature his reflections on an important part of his educational and cultural experiences in the US as an American Field Service exchange student, a Fulbright exchange teacher and a University of Delaware alumnus.
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