Professional Learning 2018-2019

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KDSL Global Fellow at British Council Forum

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With a rapidly changing world, reflecting on how education brings learning experiences for the next generation to make a lasting difference becomes crucial. As part of the internal forum the British Council held recently in the Dead Sea, Jordan, our fellow Hiba Ibrahim was invited, in addition to another 6 experts in the fields of entrepreneurship, the arts, education and gender equality, to speak to the British Council MENA staff and lead individual workshops on challenges and opportunities the region is to face for the next decade.  Hiba has been involved in projects to create effective solutions to some of those stressing challenges and avenues for international organizations to pursue effective collaboration for creating change. Bringing her educational career, academic research and personal projects to the discussion, Hiba highlighted two main challenges the region’s education has continued to struggle with for decades. The first lies in the fact that national curriculums are still not equipping learners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to be become independent engaged learners. Teachers are still heavily relying on textbooks as curriculum and content coverage is still the learning goal to achieve. Alternatively, learning goals should lie in empowering students with competences that enable them to transfer their learning into unique situations to solve challenges they experience in their local communities and beyond. Hiba then shared about her course project she has been building as part of her fellowship with KDSL Global, which aims to promote design thinking and collaboration strategies to become more effective problem-solvers and globally competent citizens.
The other challenge she highlighted was refugee students with no access to a quality basic education. This has caused a lot of tension in host communities and made 86,000 Syrian students in Jordan and 480,000 others in Lebanon vulnerable. Due to the on-going conflicts in Libya and Yemen, around 2,300,000 children are in need of education. For that, social-emotional learning and professional development programs for teachers and school leaders on social inclusion and dealing with PSTD are a must. Showcasing effective solutions, Hiba highlighted her work with Umnyat for Training, an NGO started by her mother that brings “Labeeb’s Friends”, a program that promotes social emotional learning through storytelling to schools in Jordan and other countries in the region such as Kuwait and Palestine. She also stressed on the positive impact of intercultural dialogue that bring students of different backgrounds to a space where they feel safe and open to share perspectives on topics such as culture, religion, daily life, community, immigration, conflict and challenges to learn how to be more understanding and accepting to one another.
The day was concluded with bringing those conversations into a workshop to inspire the organization’s staff to reflect on solutions they can drive with other stakeholders in the region to take part in the region’s growth and development for the upcoming decade.

Closing the STEM Gap

A new study called “Closing the STEM Gap” published in March 2018 by Microsoft surveyed more than 6,000 girls and young women on their interests and perceptions of science, technology, engineering and math. They found that girls lose interest in STEM careers as they get older. What can be done? The study cited recommendations to change this narrative. This included: role models and mentors, exposure to real-world examples of STEM, hands-on experience through participation in STEM-related clubs and activities, and encouragement from parents and educators could.

Our KDSL Global Fellow Tiffany Johnson recently interviewed one of her students to find out her perception about STEM after attending Interactive STEM Development Seminar for Underrepresented Students hosted by the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation in Chicago. This was an additional program Johnson, who is implementing the recommendations in the study, suggested to her students.

This purpose of the seminar was to introduce and expose students to STEM career options and provide hands on experience with real world topics and projects leading to the development of the students as future leaders in the STEM fields.

 

What are your feelings about STEM?

“I feel like STEM is great for all kinds of people.  It allows you to dive more in depth about the world, technology, etc.”

 

Do you see yourself as a person who would pursue a career in the STEM field? If so, which field and why?

“Yes, I see myself pursuing a career in sciences, specifically psychology or sociology, becaucareese I like to study the functions of the brain, the actions of humans, and why people do the things they do.”

 

What did you do at the STEM event you attended?

“At the event, I had to design a functional hand using cardboard, sticks, tape, and string.  I also made slime.  The instructors that were there were African American men who knew a GREAT deal about STEM.”

 

How would you describe your feeling about STEM? Are you intimidated? Do you feel like you would be supported as you pursue a career in this field?

“I am supported greatly by my family and different teachers who push me to join the STEM field.  My feelings towards the STEM field are that I think it offers different opportunities to different types of people to work in an advanced field.  Also, I feel like being a part of this field, I would be able to represent African-Americans in a positive way.”

 

To learn more about Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation visit https://www.weefchicago.org/

 

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Meet Janessa, a high school scholar interested in STEM and recent participant in the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation in Chicago.

NCTM 2018

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Imagine 9,000 of the top K-12 mathematics teachers in the world in one place. Chances are, you were thinking of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Conference. Recently, NCTM held their annual international conference in Washington, D.C. in the United States with thousands of teachers from over 30 countries collaborating and learning from each other. This three day event is by far the largest and most prestigious mathematics education conference in the world and the caliber and quality of presentations are unparalleled.

 

Representing the GCC were Dr. Cory A. Bennett, of Bennett Educational Consulting and KDSL Global, and two teachers from the American United School of Kuwait, Mrs. Minette Finney and Mr. Kenny Johnson. This team presented what they have been learning about implementing authentic problem solving using non-routine tasks to a group of over 200 teachers. The standing room only session shared some of their recommendations for structuring and implementing problem solving as well as how this work develops students’ persistence, grit, and beliefs about being successful in mathematics.

 

In the nearly two years leading up to this event, Dr. Bennett worked closely with the teachers and found considerable results with students. After the first rounds of problem solving students were already coming to class wanting to do more, talking in more complex and in-depth ways about mathematical relationships, and overall, behaving more like student mathematicians. “Never did I imagine that my students who struggled in class could have such complex thoughts about mathematics. They really understood what they were doing” shared Mr. Johnson who teaches sixth and seventh grade mathematics. Mrs. Finney, a fourth grade teacher, also added that her students “learned to view themselves as capable and competent mathematicians. I always work with them on this but through this problem solving they grew in ways I had not seen before.”

 

“Every school, and every teacher, is capable of this kind of excellence,” said Dr. Bennett afterwards. “When schools and teachers are willing to invest in this kind of on-going, collaborative, and job-embedded work, kids elevate to meet the challenge,” Dr. Bennett added. Contact KDSL Global to learn more about this work and how your teachers can access these materials.

Meet our KDSL Global Fellow – Samantha Rodriguez

KDSL Global is pleased to announce our new fellow.  The fellowship focuses on writing, leadership and launching a new education idea.

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Samantha Rodriguez was born and raised in Long Island, New York and graduated from Providence College where she studied Public and Community Service and Political Science. ​Being the first in her family to graduate from college, the value of education was constantly emphasized. Samantha has spent the better part of her life working with youth in different contexts. Since graduating from Providence, Samantha has taught Math in Tsakane, South Africa, was a 9th Grade English Teacher in the South Bronx, has been a College Access Counselor, and is now a Service Learning Program Coordinator for buildOn in Chicago, Illinois. She simultaneously attends graduate school at the University of Illinois at Chicago working towards an MEd in Youth Development. Samantha has always believed that all students are worthy of a strong educational foundation as well as a strong support system that helps them become successful. With her MEd in Youth Development, it is Samantha’s goal to help create spaces that intentionally provide youth with opportunities to develop their interests, skills, and abilities.

 

ABOUT KDSL Global

KDSL Global is a USA and UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally. To find out more information visit http://www.kdslglobal.com.