ALL DIGITAL Awards 2019 Finalists: e-facilitator Youssef Laakel

E-FACILITATOR 2019 WINNER

Youssef Laakel

Brussels, Belgium

Multimedia Teacher and Trainer at Maks

Years in service as e-facilitator: 12

Number of people supported / trained: 1200

Nominated by: colleague Paulien Caeyers

WORK EXPERIENCE AND PROFESSIONALISM

Youssef started working for MAKS Vzw as a Multimedia Teacher and Animator. Nowadays, he is also a staff employee, but he pays no less attention to his job as a teacher and animator. Youssef has been for years – and he still is – the driving force behind the low-threshold multimedia classes: 'Je Commence' ('I start') and 'Au travail' ('Get to work'). We believe these classes are particularly important, because often with beginners classes, teachers still assume their students have at least 'some' knowledge on multimedia. Youssef insists on leaving no one behind, being patient and teaching everything from the very beginning, which often allows his students to take part in society again.

He is responsible for the content of the classes, and he also teaches them. He reaches the most vulnerable groups of Kureghem and Molenbeek, which are mostly people with a migration background who don't have access to computers, tablets and other multimedia.

A class that was recently created by Youssef is the smartphone course, and he is a great enthusiast of applying the newest teaching methods, such as dynamic teaching instead of frontal-classroom, etc.


ONE OF A KIND

Youssef is the great innovative force behind the content of the courses ('Let's do a smartphone course. People don't just need computers anymore to survive society these days.'), but he is also the one encouraging the other teachers to adopt the newest teaching methods. He believes that dynamic teaching instead of frontal-classroom teaching is possible. And he doesn't just believe, he does: he rethinks and innovates his classes, encourages the other teachers with his positive attitude and enthusiasm.

But what makes Youssef particularly special is the bond he has with the trainees. Youssef grew up in Kureghem, and after teaching at MAKS for 12 years, he knows a lot of the trainees. He knows all of them by name ('Of course, that's normal', he says.), and he never lacks the motivation to explain something a second time. Or a third time. Or in a different way. ('It's an important part of the job', he says.) And meanwhile, he clearly enjoys himself.

EXAMPLE

-Bye Youssef, see you tomorrow!

-Bye Paulien. Good luck, here!

Youssef is coming down the stairs. He is finished for today, I still have one more hour to go. I’m helping an older man in Open Atelier with a computer problem he is suffering with at home. I’m hardly able to help, because the man didn’t bring this computer with him, so the starting point are some vague descriptions of his screen at home. I’m trying to convince him to come back next week, with his computer, when the man notices Youssef coming down the stairs.

Youssef notices this and, even though it’s not his job, and even though he can read on my face the hopelessness of the situation, he sits down next to the man, has a chat and listens to his problem. Afterwards, he overruns all the possible problems and solutions.

This is a very small moment between thousands of moments where Youssef has made the difference for his trainees. I chose this one because I had witnessed it first-hand, and it shows that Youssef always makes time for his trainees. Always. There is no effort too much to ask. The trainees obviously feel safe around him. They dare to explain their problems, without feeling stupid. This bond that Youssef created over the years with his trainees, allows him to empower them and give them back their self-confidence. Give them back their place in society.

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Check other finalists for ALL DIGITAL AWARDS:

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