KDSL Global interviews Gilda Scarfe

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Gilda Scarfe, who serves as the CEO and Founder of Positive Action UK. As a leading and innovative educational consultancy, this company believes that all schools, youth organisations and communities should make positive education and resilience a visible and conscious part of their daily practice. Scarfe is an IPEN Global Representative and our interview focuses on her work with this group. IPEN is the International Positive Education Network. 

 

What is the vision of IPEN?

IPEN’s vision is to bring together educators, researchers, practitioners, positive psychologists to promote academic achievement, wellbeing and character development – we call it positive education

Positive education usually defines positive character using the core character strengths that are represented in the VIA classification’s six categories of virtue.

The goal of positive education is to reveal a young person’s character strengths and to develop his or her ability to effectively engage those strengths (Linkins et al., 2015).

IPEN’s vision is to see the entire education ecosystem embrace positive education as part of the curriculum.

 

Tell us about The Learning Library.

The Learning Library provides countless educational resources that will enthuse educators and students to learn. Hundreds of well-designed lesson plans are curated with clarity and explicit instruction. Each lessons plan includes varied interesting activities to help consolidate student comprehension.  The lessons provide a deep look at various subjects such as mental toughness and wellbeing. Higher level lessons include everything from the science of wellbeing to metacognition and visible thinking. For interactive learners, the library provides hundreds of skills-based activities that are both enticing and educational.

No matter the challenge, the engaging resources will help students reach their wellbeing and academic requirements with confidence.

 

What are your responsibilities working as global representative for IPEN?

As a global ambassador is to spread the word about IPEN’s work, provide guidance on how to implement positive education as a whole school climate, to support collaboration between teachers, encourage change in education practice and support the reform of government policy.

 

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Gilda Scarfe is the CEO and Founder of Positive Action UK a leading
and innovative educational consultancy using research to develop, implement and evaluate mental toughness, wellbeing and 21st century skills in schools through programmes design and pedagogical approaches.

With a master’s degree in educational leadership along with undergraduate degrees Comparative Literature and Law and post graduate degree in psychology and over 15 years facilitating in business performance and education contexts, Gilda specialises in creating curriculum that are evidence based, meaningful, make a powerful impression and have a long lasting effect. An expert in helping people understand and effectively play to their character strengths.

She has worked with teams across the private and state funded schools to promote and imbed positive psychology interventions as a whole school approach. Her work has included strategic planning for designing, delivering and implementing wellbeing and mental toughness programmes in schools, framework redesign for primary and secondary schools, as well as strengths-based coaching using the VIA instrument.

She has been responsible for the organisation and implementation of the Positive Psychology/Education strategy at several grammar schools in the UK, Singapore, UAE and Thailand and has supported the strategic direction and implementation of Illuminate Education a non-profit organisation promoting Positive Education initiatives.

Gilda’s research focuses on character education, emotional intelligence in education, leading change, positive education, strategic planning in education and wellbeing education. In particular, she is interested in how school leaders establish cultures to enable positive learning and wellbeing environments.

Her dream is for every school in the UK to fully and seamlessly incorporate positive education into their curriculum and application for students, families, and staff. Passionate about improving wellbeing and mental toughness in education through innovative yet simple and clear interventions, Gilda is always keen to bridge the gap between academics and practitioners in making a practical and powerful impact to the world of education.

Gilda is member of IPPA (International Positive Psychology Association), APA (American Psychology Association) and MEPA (Middle East Psychology Association) and a global Ambassador for IPEN (International Positive Education Network) she is also a certified Mental Toughens and Emotional Intelligence assessor. A highly sought-after speaker Gilda has delivered several keynotes, workshops and symposia in MENA Region, Asia, Europe and the United Kingdom on a range of topics from positive psychology and educational leadership to curriculum innovation and pedagogical development.

 

 

 

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KDSL Global Speakers

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Our new initiative called KDSL Global Speakers will launch in September 2019. Stay tuned for more information!

KDSL Global interviews the founder of Lit Publishing Ltd

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Sania Green-Reynolds, Founder of Lit Publishing Ltd. As part of her fellowship with KDSL Global, Green-Reynolds is expected to launch a new education product or service specific to her context or for the global education community.

 

Tell us about Lit Publishing Ltd. 

Lit Publishing Ltd. is the product of some of my life-changing and inspired upcoming projects. Most such projects are in the publishing arena and I am passionate about empowering people to write and publish their stories, expertise and desires.

The company is formed on the belief that words are our most powerful tools. That’s why our mission is to;

  1. Support authors and aspiring authors by providing the technical expertise needed to achieve personal and professional writing and publishing goals and successfully launch informational products.
  2. Provide educational, inspirational, motivational, spiritual, soul-stirring and engaging content for diverse readers and fan-base around the globe.

It is the first and only stop for;

  1. People who want to become an author but don’t know where and how to start.
  2. People who are seeking an accountability network, author expertise and coaching as well as technical writing assistance.
  3. People who are looking for alternative publishing means.
  4. People who want to lead and inspire change in their professions, networks or communities and wish to position themselves as authority figures.

Lit Publishing’s Services include:

*Book Consultation, Editing & Publishing

*Author Coaching, Marketing Support & Accountability

*Collaboratives, Anthologies & Book Projects

*Periodicals & Magazines

*Professional Profiles & Media Kits

*Occasion Greeting Cards

 

What inspired you to work in education?

I had some very good teachers who touched my life be it positively or not as positively and an awesome one who dedicated her time to reaching me when I was in my darkest teen moments. Despite taking an oath that I would never become a teacher during one dark moment when I challenged a teacher and she challenged me back, I ended up starting my teaching career at the tender age of sixteen and a half. This was a short term, pre-trained teaching job, but this job along with the indelible mark left on me by one of the most remarkable teachers I know, made me realize that my role in this life is to positively impact people’s lives through education.

 

How can writing be beneficial and transformative?

If you knew the fourteen-year-old me versus the current me, then you would be better able to see with your own eyes how therapeutic and transformative writing and reading can be. Writing was and pretty much still is my safe place, my happy place, my place of freedom. If I search my journals and dream books, I could show you that me being here in the UAE at this moment is a written desire manifested. When I feel overwhelmed, misunderstood or even lacking words to pray, writing is my tool of expression. Extensive studies and research show that writing one’s feelings gradually eases feelings of emotional trauma. Many people may find this difficult to understand, but growing up without my biological mother, and being told repeatedly by her after I finally met her that I should not have been born is forever emotionally traumatic. Writing was my first therapy albeit in response to great literature texts I read in junior and high school. I also know for sure that when one writes something that helps or entertains someone, or inspires change, that writer’s confidence and self-worth increases significantly. That’s extremely beneficial if you ask me!

To learn more about Lit Publishing Ltd. visit https://twitter.com/LitPublishing.

 

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Sania S. Green-Reynolds is an overcomer, and award-winning international educator who is passionate about personal and professional growth and cultivating the richest, most diverse learning experiences for learners. She is the founder and director of Lit Publishing Ltd., a mom, wife, visionary, teacher-leader and trainer, and resourceful friend and colleague. Apart from being an extroverted-introvert who likes a light yet empowering conversation, she likes meeting new people, spending time with family and friends and exploring new content and business ideas. Sania has authored and co-authored Amazon Best-selling books, transformed her clients’ lives through coaching and the re-channeling of creative energies, and inspired change among people across the globe.

 

 

KDSL Global Summer Work Experience Scholars

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At KDSL Global we believe students should have opportunities to be exposed to a variety of careers during their secondary experience. Each year we host students who engage with our company on projects. This summer we welcome two students who are based in Dubai.

Areeba Khalid is a student at GEMS Modern Academy. She currently in Year 11 who will start her International Baccalaureate in the month of September. She was in an Indian Curriculum from grade 1 to 10. She is a very ambitious, enthusiastic and hard-working child. It her first internship at KDSL Global Internship Program and working in a professional environment. She is keen to acquire new skills, gain more knowledge on education and have a great experience during the program. She has participated and volunteered in various events at her school. She has a great interest in art and hence taken art as one of her subjects in IB. She also has a passion for teaching, and thus wants to pursue her career in the field of education.

Currently in the midst of her high school life, balancing her extra curriculars with academics and preparing for college Araditta Sunder is studying psychology and business in an IB school. Being an IB student has allowed her to imbibe skills such as time-management, and organization which has allowed her to be balanced and well rounded. At home, she is a kind and caring sister who is always there to support her autistic elder brother. Growing up trying to understand him inspired her to do psychology but there was something about the “learning theory” that pushed her curiosity into education. Watching her brother receive vocational therapy inspired her to think about things like learning styles, based on which she has also written essays. Taking a step further by joining forces with a center for Autism in Bangalore called Apoorva, to support other children like him has given her some exposure, but in order to make a difference she believes that she must be properly skilled and knowledgeable. So, with the help of this internship Araditta aims to obtain insight and resources to confidently venture into this pathway.

 

 

KDSL Global interviews Ashley Green

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Ashley Green, the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East.  Currently, Green is in the United Arab Emirates and passionate about teaching, learning, and ensuring autonomy and student interest are central in working with studets. She also serves as a Senior Associate with KDSL Global.

 

Tell us about the ASCD Emerging Leaders program. 

Educators selected for the Emerging Leaders program have been in the education profession for 5–15 years; demonstrate a passion for learning, teaching, and leading; come from a diverse range of positions, locations, cultural backgrounds, and perspectives; hold promise as leaders; and are committed to ASCD’s beliefs and to pursuing leadership opportunities. Following the nomination process, this year’s leaders were chosen by an advisory panel composed of ASCD staff, education thought leaders, and emerging leader alumni.

For 75 years, ASCD has been at the forefront of education issues that affect learning, teaching, and leading. Since the launch of Educational Leadership magazine in 1943, ASCD has developed trustworthy, research-based, and up-to-date information that shapes the international conversation on best practices to support the success of each learner.

Throughout history, ASCD’s members, authors, and expert cadres have read like a “Who’s Who” in education. ASCD has been the birthplace of transformative ideas such as the Understanding by Design® framework, the ASCD Whole Child approach, and capacity-building professional learning.

 

 

As an Emerging Leader (EL) in the MENA region, how will you contribute to the growth of ASCD?

As an EL in the MENA region, I hope to contribute by raising awareness and highlighting the goals and initiatives of ASCD. In October, I will assist with the Teach to Lead summit in Dubai. Teach to Lead is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Education, ASCD and Teach Plus. I am looking forward to working alongside teacher leaders and amplifying their voice and work in this field. It is essential to bridge relationships with community stakeholders and the Teach to Lead summit will provide educational leaders with the platform needed to foster relationships beyond their organizations.

 

If you could change anything about today’s education system, what would you change and why?

If I could change anything about the educational system, it would be the way differentiation is viewed. This is a term that several educators hold near to their hearts. Educators believe that if they are differentiating, they are working towards meeting the needs of children. For some differentiation can seem like a three ring circus. Others may struggle with seeing the value of changing instruction when assessments are the same, motivation is low, and behavior is out of control. To be very clear, I do not think differentiation should not be included in the current educational process, but I believe as educators, we have to visit a different concept first.

A concept that has the student’s at the core. A concept that educator’s want, but may possibly struggle with giving; autonomy. Autonomy simply put is the right or condition of self-government. A classroom that is autonomous will benefit from differentiation. Autonomy starts with the students (I want to learn more about…. or I need help with….). Differentiation begins with the teachers (Based on the data, the student needs this….). In an autonomous classroom students have stake in their learning goals. In a differentiated classroom, most teachers are using data to drive the teaching and learning. Teachers then select the activities or assessments that they think will help the students based on the data. Autonomous classrooms make the process of differentiation easier, while supporting the students and maximizing motivation and effort. Educators may be wondering, what does an autonomous classroom look like or how can I achieve that when the classes are all the same and I have to meet certain guidelines. Getting started can be achieved in three easy steps.

Getting to know the students

If you’ve ever had parent teacher conferences in the fall, then you know how difficult it was to speak about a student that you barely know. We make general blanket statements while smiling and nodding most of the time. In a classroom that honors autonomy, the teachers will sit down with every single student in the beginning and learn their story. Children are naturally inquisitive, so this will also give them an opportunity to ask questions. Both the student and teacher should walk away feeling like they’ve gotten to know one another.

Analyze their data story

Whether a student is in 1st grade or 12th, there’s a data story. Talk about the data. Analyze it. Ask questions and explain what the data means. If there was a year where scores dropped or spiked, ask the students what was taking place. Get to know the person behind the numbers.

Set goals

After getting to know the students as individuals and analyzing the data with them, set goals. To honor autonomy, the goals should be student driven. If there is a certain benchmark that has to be met, make that clear to the student and then create attainable goals. Explain what the process will look like and ensure the student that you will help them along the way.

The three easy steps above will show the students that you care. With autonomy at the forefront, teachers can then use differentiation to help execute their plans and assist the students in achieving their goals. For example, if a student realizes that he/she has not been meeting the reading benchmark based on the data, when a teacher gives an assignment, she/he can make it very clear that this assignment will help you reach your goal. The teacher can also state, by mastering this skill, you will be one step closer to the goal you set. Autonomy starts with the student. Differentiation begins with the teacher. In order to maximize instruction, we have to transform our thinking. Autonomy is driving the classroom, differentiation is simply the navigation system.

 

To learn more about the ASCD Emerging Leaders Program visit http://www.ascd.org/programs/Emerging-Leaders/Emerging-Leaders.aspx

 

To learn more about Ashley Green selected as the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East visit https://kdslglobal.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/ascd-selects-the-first-emerging-leader-based-in-the-middle-east/

 

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Ashley Green’s passion for global education has led to her teaching in classrooms and collaborating with teachers from all over the world. Her desire to become a global educator began when she taught students in England, and had the chance to make connections between the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program and Common Core standards. Since then, she’s honed those skills in Dubai; in both Elementary and Middle school settings as a full-time classroom practitioner.

 

Ashley is a lifelong learner and believes that while she is an educator; she will always be striving to improve her own practice. She’s currently employed as a Global Teacher Leader in the United Arab Emirates. She is also the Director of Operations for Hayward’s Hands, a nonprofit organization that specializes in community service and enrichment programs.

 

Ashley holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and has developed and written curriculums for English, Language Arts and Mathematics for grades 3-8. She obtained a Gifted Endorsement in 2015 and also served as an ambassador for Gifted and Talented Education in Georgia, USA. Ashley was selected in 2018 as the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East.

KDSL Global interviews Rania Nasr

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Rania Nasr of Risalla Education Consulting. Currently, Nasr is based in the United Arab Emirates and passionate about training, teaching and learning, and shifting how Arabic and Islamic Education are taught in schools. Her company is a new collaborating partner with KDSL Global.

Tell us about Risalla Education Consulting.

Risalla Education Consulting provides hands-on workshops designed specifically for teachers of Arabic, Social Studies, Moral Education, and Islamic Education. We aim to help them create a student-focused learning environment, quality lesson plans, differentiated activities and assessments, and engaging resources to increase the level of student engagement and enhance the overall learning experience. We are a Dubai-based training and education consultancy, exclusively dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of those subjects across the region. By incorporating the most recent teaching methods and practices, our workshops focus on how to engage students in higher order thinking skills within those subject areas, and keep them motivated to achieve the standards set by the Ministry of Education.

Our cross-cultural domain expertise gives us unique insight and ability to cater to the challenges currently facing Arabic and Islamic Education departments in the GCC. We understand that teachers come from varying backgrounds in education, with different outlooks on teaching and learning. In order to unify and improve this framework, it is important to bridge the gaps between Western pedagogy and Arabic/Islamic culture by providing specialized training for teacher of those subjects. Our vision is to strengthen those departments from the ground up so that they are in line with other subject areas and meet international standards of education. We provide a range of services and resources to suit each and every school needs, schedule and budget.

Our services include, but are not limited to:

  • Workshops:  Hands-on and focused, delivering best teaching practices, covering everything from effective lesson planning to differentiated assessments
  • Coaching:  Working closely with individual teachers during school visits, observations conducted to assess learning within the classroom, designing a program that best fits the needs of the teacher/department
  • Curriculum Documentation: Aligning lesson plans to curriculum using standards and benchmarks, highlighting learning outcomes for each lesson
  • Recruitment: Assisting both schools and educator candidates, ensuring high quality teaching provision at our member schools.
  • Resources: Training teachers to design their own resources to facilitate learning to increase student engagement and motivation in the classroom

 

What challenges are Arabic and Islamic Education currently facing?

  • Arabic and Islamic Education in most schools are not in line with all other subject areas because they are not engaging enough to keep students focused and motivated, and in many cases students do not take pride in their language and culture.
  • Schools do not invest in training their Arabic and Islamic Education teachers on a continuous basis, and when training is provided it is not concise, specialized, or focused.
  • Students are generally unmotivated, uninterested, and shy away from these subject areas in international schools. There is little sense of pride and enthusiasm shown, and the underlying cause is always the method in which these subjects are being taught.
  • Teachers of Arabic and Islamic Education come from varying backgrounds and have different mindsets when it comes to education. Often times, their teaching methods are traditional and lack creativity.
  • Lack of online resources, and lack of engaging use of technology within the classroom

 

Tell us about the teacher training your company offers.

  • We have over 50 training courses approved by KHDA, and are delivered in both Arabic and English.
  • We work directly with teachers in our training’s through a hands-on learning environment.
  • Our training courses are themselves models of how to plan an effective lesson while considering differentiation, assessment for learning throughout the lesson, and engaging activities throughout. The training’s also focus on the ways in which teachers can ensure and measure progress within lessons.
  • Our training’s cover various topics and are based on the teacher’s development needs. The topics covered range from depth of knowledge, visual learning and inclusion to preparing for inspections and assessment data. We work with both teachers, and head of departments to ensure they are successful in expanding their skill sets and applying them into their work.

 

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About Risalla Education Consulting

Rania Nasr is the Managing Director and Head Trainer at Risalla Education Consulting. They are a Dubai-based training and education consultancy, exclusively dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of Arabic Islamic Education and Social Studies across the region. Our goal is to ultimately move away from traditional teacher-centered practices to creating a more learner-focused environment in the Arabic/Islamic classroom. By incorporating the most recent teaching methods and practices, our workshops focus on how to engage students in higher order thinking skills within these subject areas, while motivating them to achieve the standards set by the Ministry of Education.

To learn more about Risalla Education Consulting visit https://www.risalla.com.

The Knowledge Economy Report

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Historically, there has been a mismatch between property developments, and the schools that supposedly serve them (geographically) in terms of school curricula, and average annual fees. This paper, amongst other things, serves to highlight opportunities to better marry schools within a community, to highlight current parental demands and affordability levels, and by doing so, reveal real opportunities for potential investors, and schools.

The Knowledge Economy Report (Dubai) from the Education Intelligence Group is now available for investors. Visit https://educationintelligencegroup.com/shop/the-knowledge-economy-report-from-the-ground-up/