Speakers: James Garrett and Shaylyn Romney Garrett

James Garrett and Shaylyn Romney Garrett are American Peace Corps Volunteers who have been living in Salt, Jordan for the past eighteen months.  Shaylyn teaches English in a government girls’ school and James works with boys in an after-school government youth center.

They are committed educators whose work in Jordan has focused on promoting critical and creative thinking.  Their curriculum, called “Brain Camp,” is an educational intervention that focuses on building eight critical thinking skills with the aim of equipping the rising generation of Jordanians to become creative and effective problem solvers.

James and Shaylyn built the Brain Camp curriculum from the grass roots level, drawing on their experiences working in Jordanian classrooms.  The curriculum is therefore tailored to the specific challenges faced by Jordanian students.  It brings together innovative teaching methods, proven pedagogical theories, the latest scientific research about achievement motivation and brain growth, and technological tools for effective presentation and web-based learning.  The curriculum is exciting, culturally appropriate, and teaches students and teachers that skills-based learning can—and should—be fun.

Brain Camp is being implemented not just in Salt, but throughout the Kingdom.  It has caught the attention of Her Majesty Queen Rania, and James and Shaylyn are working closely with her Madrasati program to train teachers to facilitate Brain Camp in Madrasati schools.  Brain Camp will also be implemented by Peace Corps volunteers this summer in the form of 30 Brain Camps all across the kingdom, including some of the most rural and underserved areas of Jordan.

James and Shaylyn are dedicated to education and see it as the key that empowers individuals and communities to solve their own problems and create a better world.

James graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University.  His psychological research has been published in top scientific journals.

Shaylyn graduated with a B.A. in Government from Harvard University.  She is the co-author of the recently-released book, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, which explores the changing role of religion in American civil society.