Dubai-Based Consultants Train Teachers around the Globe to Understand Why ‘English Only’ is a Bad Policy

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Two Dubai-based educational consultants, Francesca McGeary and Alison Schofield are making big waves around the world by educating teachers about working with bilingual and multilingual learners (BMLs).

Having lived and worked in the UAE over the past 12 years, the two have written a book and teacher-training programme based on 3 years of research. Their focus is to help teachers work with students who do not speak English as a first language, but who attend English-medium schools. The two have launched their work at the IB Conference of the Americas in Toronto last summer. Since then, they have trained international teachers in Germany, Ecuador, Egypt and Montenegro.

“Our research has shown us that bilingual and multilingual learners are the fastest-growing student population in the world today,” says McGeary. “Whether we look at the US, Canada, or the UK, the figures show dramatic increases in the number of learners who speak another language at home. This creates a huge problem because the large majority of teachers, regardless of what country they are in, do not receive any additional training to understand and work with BMLs effectively. They do not have a knowledge base about the language-learning process these students undergo when learning English. This can lead to all kinds of problems, including students being misunderstood and misdiagnosed with learning disorders or speech and language delays.

“In schools today, the dominant terminology used to describe bilingual and multilingual learners represents a glass half-empty because words like English language learner (ELL) and students learning English as an additional language (EAL) do not remind teachers that students are bilingual or multilingual and that there are many strengths that come along with that.” McGeary, who speaks several languages herself, receives a great deal of positive attention about her multilingualism, but says that young students acquiring English are often viewed from a deficit perspective in schools. “In general, teachers are caring and have good intentions but they simply have not received the right training.

Schofield goes on to explain that many schools emphasise ‘English only’ because they are not aware that a student with a strong mother-tongue language can actually have an easier time learning English. “Many schools tell parents to start speaking English at home if the child goes to school in English. This is the wrong advice. Schools need to promote bilingualism in their policies and practices in order to support students in becoming strong in both or all of their languages. That is what we help schools with.”

McGeary states that there is a big demand for their services around the world but she also thinks that teachers working in the UAE and Gulf region would greatly benefit from training as well. “In expatriate countries, English is so widespread that it can easily take over the mother-tongue languages of the region, like Arabic, for example. This can dilute the culture, since language and culture are deeply connected. These countries need even more highly-trained teachers and strong educational policies to ensure students’ own languages are protected.

The authors also offer an accreditation award for schools that apply strong training, policies and practises. Recognising a school as a School of Excellence for Bilingual and Multilingual Learners is a step in the right direction for showcasing schools that value and promote bilingualism and multiculturalism.

The authors run their online training institute at:  



Alison Schofield Co-Founder IngeniousEd. (+971) 50 398 3518

Kevin Simpson Founder KDSL Global|USA Affiliate (312) 478 1695


10 to know in education in the UAE in 2017


In celebration of ten years serving the global education community we are highlighting ten to know in education in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) in 2017. The UAE was selected since the founder has been based here the majority of the last ten years. Each person will be shared throughout this year. Our seventh person to know is Dima Yousef.

Dima Yousef has a Master’s degree in English Literary Research from the University of Leicester, UK. She has more than 15 years of teaching experience in schools and higher education. She was recognized by the Canadian University Dubai with an award for outstanding teaching in April 2014.

Because of her passion for lifelong learning and professional development, she has been involved in organizing and participating in PD events. She believes that an excellent teacher provides students with challenging and rewarding learning experiences. To accomplish that, teachers should remember their role as learners. Meeting inspiring educators at various PD events is an opportunity to explore new methods, spark new ideas, and improve their performance and students’ experience.

She is a longstanding member of TESOL Arabia; she held several roles in the organization: secretary & event organizer of Dubai Chapter, Sharjah Chapter Chair, TESOL Arabia Annual International Conference co-chair.

She is also a member of the TESOL International Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development(ASCD), and the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL).

KDSL Global and the GCC ASCD Connected Community Convenes the MENA Teacher Summit

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KDSL Global and the GCC ASCD Connected Community Convenes the MENA Teacher Summit


Professional Development Targets MENA’s American Curriculum Teachers and Administrators  

DUBAI, UAE, April 19, 2017 – On Friday, October 6, and Saturday, October 7, MENA region American curriculum teachers and school leadership teams will convene at Esol Education’s Universal American School in Dubai as part of an initiative of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Organized by KDSL Global, a UAE-based education company, the Teacher Summit seeks to improve teaching and learning and connect education professionals throughout the MENA region to the resources provided by ASCD.

This regional event is a platform for teachers to engage and learn with renowned educators and scholars. Topics at the summit will address best practices in leadership, data, curriculum, college readiness, English Language Arts, Math, and Science Standards implementation. The audience for this conference will include classroom teachers, heads of department, program coordinators, school administrators, and organizations active in the educational sector.

Education expert Dr. Tom Hoerr has led schools for 37 years and is the Emeritus Head of School of the New City School in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a Scholar-In-Residence at University of Missouri – St. Louis and teaches in the principal preparation program. Hoerr worked as a teacher and principal, and founded and directed the Non-Profit Management Program at Washington University in St. Louis. He leads the Independent Schools Association of the Central States New Heads Network and holds a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Dr. Hoerr’s latest ASCD book is The Formative Five: Fostering Grit, Empathy, and Other Success Skills Every Student Needs. He makes the case that it is not enough to prepare students academically; we must prepare them to succeed in life. This will be the focus of the 6 October pre-conference and 7 October keynote address. Hoerr is also the author of Fostering Grit, The Art of School Leadership, Becoming a Multiple Intelligences School, and School Leadership for the Future. He has written more than 110 articles, and his “Principal Connection” column has been in Educational Leadership since 2004. Hoerr has presented at conferences around the world on grit, leadership, multiple intelligences, faculty collegiality, instructional leadership, and Success Skills.

Educators and school leaders from the MENA region American curriculum schools are encouraged to attend. Super early bird registration for the summit is now available until May. The agenda and the first announced featured speakers are found at



KDSL Global is a UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.



Our goal as the GCC Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community is to unite educators throughout the region, inspiring all of us to learn globally and teach locally.


Kevin Simpson KDSL Global,, +971 55 344 9286

Global Leadership Week

Here’s an update on what’s going on in the Global Education Conference Network during Global Leadership Week (April 24-28)! Considering finding a way to participate!

The purpose of Global Leadership Week is to:

  • contribute to current dialogue regarding globally connected teaching and learning

  • educate education leaders about international education programs and resources

  • call attention to the need and importance of fostering global competency in today’s students and teachers

People can participate by designing and hosting their own virtual event, by attending GLW events including the Global Education Fair, and or by attending our in-person summit. More here:

Individuals and partner organizations who plan on hosting their own GLW events should post these to our main GLW calendar so that people can make decisions around participating. These activities do not need to be complicated and can tie into existing programs and plans within your organization. Once you’ve developed your event, please register it as soon as possible on our calendar using the form that is provided on our host an event page. Use GLW to promote your work in the global education space!

Here are a few of the awesome offerings so far and more will soon be posted:


  • The Global Online Academy is hosting an online multi-day student-led conference

  • WorldVuze has scheduled a webinar to give an overview of their platform

  • Know My World is hosting their third in a series of five webinars this spring

  • Jennifer Williams is hosting two Twitter chats; one is around teaching the SDGs and another is focused on the arts for social good

  • Loudon County Schools is hosting a slow Twitter chat over the course of the week

Regarding the Global Education Fair, we think it is really a good idea to connect global ready teachers with the wonderful organizations and programs that are part of the GEC through this new event. However, we’re waiting a few more days to see if we can gauge more interest from organizations. We may cancel this event and reschedule it to coincide with Global Collaboration Day in September which may give people more time to prepare accordingly. We’ll make an announcement about this either way in the next couple of days. Make sure to follow the hashtag #globaled17 on Twitter to see our latest news!


Lucy Gray & Steve Hargadon
The Global Education Conference

KDSL Global Education Internship – Summer 2017

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KDSL Global, based in the United Arab Emirates, is looking to provide internships throughout the year. We are a leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally. The internship will be diverse and challenging. Responsibilities will include:

  1. Research. Primary topics of interest for KDSL Global are: school development, global learning, innovation, American curriculum, instruction, assessment, professional learning, teacher quality, standards, and technology. KDSL Global is seeking an intern with experience and interest in the education field who can perform high-quality research and write clearly. Research tasks would include crafting weekly reports using a wide range of sources.
  2. Writing. KDSL Global is devoted to sharing and collaborating with K-12 education stakeholders worldwide. This is done via the KDSL Global Facebook, Twitter, website, and newsletter. A KDSL Global intern would have the opportunity to contribute to these various marketing and media sources.
  3. Leadership. There are many opportunities to learn and expand leadership skills within the organization. KDSL Global has embarked on organizing conferences and forums focused on the American curriculum in the MENA region.

KDSL Global seeks a resourceful, intelligent, detail-oriented, hard-working individual who is capable of excelling in an intellectually stimulating work environment. Research experience is desired, strong writing skills a must and Internet experience greatly welcome. The time commitment is 5 hours virtually a week for this unpaid internship. Please browse the KDSL Global website at for more information about the organization.


Individuals interested in a KDSL Global internship should send a CV and a 250 word writing sample about the future of education and email it to Kevin Simpson at Select candidates will be interviewed. This internship is from late June-August 2017.

Launch of Teacher Leaders International


Dubai, 12 April 2017: A new organization, Teacher Leaders International Limited (TLI), has been launched in celebration of over ten years of teacher empowerment and professional development in international education – particularly in the area of curriculum and instruction for American curriculum and international schools.

Through research-based practice, the organization aims to empower educators in curriculum and instruction by collectively harnessing the power of teacher voices in 21st century learning. Currently the global footprint of TLI spans over 9 countries across the Middle East and North Africa region – Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Istanbul, Oman, Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The relentless efforts in furthering curriculum and instruction have also been successfully received in India, Thailand and the United States of America, soon to be extended to the Far East and the United Kingdom.

TLI’s Executive Director is Dr. Sudha Govindswamy (Sunder), an affiliate consultant for the Council of International Schools (CIS), who specializes in Curriculum Design and Delivery. As a certified concept-based curriculum consultant from Dr. Lynn Erickson Institute, Whitefish, Montana, Dr. Sunder works in supporting schools unpack both the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), focusing on the conceptual shift classroom teachers need to understand, while implementing the standards with intellectual rigor and integrity. As an Associate Consultant for KDSL Global, Dr. Sunder has been engaged in work with the KDSL Global team in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In addition, she has worked in seven other countries. Commissioned by the International Baccalaureate (IB) and in collaboration with Achieve, Dr. Sunder has published the Relationship Study Report between the NGSS and the IB, for US high schools engaged in the dual implementation. She has also served as a Curriculum Reviewer for the IB PYP, is an Apple Distinguished Educator and is a SMART Exemplary Educator. Sudha earned her PG in the United Kingdom, her Master’s degree in India and her doctorate in the United Kingdom.

TLI is ever grateful for the overwhelming response and the enthusiastic engagement of educators world over in embracing the efforts of TLI towards furthering the work of curriculum and instruction.


For further information, please contact Sudha Govindswamy |+971 507455827 |

Mindfulness with Christine Lustik


We recently had the chance to interview Christine Lustik, a Montana-based entrepreneur and educator whose work focuses on mindfulness, and how mindfulness can help people improve their lives and their businesses. She is the owner of Mindfulness in Organizations.

What does mindfulness mean to you?

To me, mindfulness is the ability to find space before I act in any situation.  That space may be a second, but it’s enough to allow me to choose the response I won’t regret!  Mindfulness is also the ability to connect my body and my mind.  This allows me to have an early warning system when it comes to emotions and crazy thoughts. For example, I’ll feel my chest tighten or my forehead scrunch, and to me this immediately sends up a flag that says something is wrong!  So I relax my forehead and then go in with curiosity: Did something happen I didn’t like?  This process allows me to head off anxiety, worry, general grumpiness, and often more severe things like anger; things that aren’t going to end well. To me, mindfulness is an increase in the combination of self-awareness and external awareness.

What caused you to believe mindfulness was the key to increased happiness?

Well increased happiness is a tall order, but I can say that my personal experience caused me to believe in mindfulness and that, for me, it can increase happiness. I found it increased my personal happiness in a few key ways.  First, by being better able to regulate the ups and downs of emotions throughout a day, I stay on a more even keel and this keeps me more focused.  Why does focus increase my happiness?  Well, when I’m focused I’m able to attack projects and move forward in my day.  This makes me happy and makes me feel like my time is well spent!  Second, in mindfulness there is a concentration on self-compassion.  I know many people think they must be hard on themselves to “get stuff done” or “do the right thing.” But really, research shows us that when we are kinder to ourselves, we are more likely to move forward in a positive way, admit when we were wrong, and make positive changes.  This self-compassion goes a long way to increasing our satisfaction with our lives and therefore increasing our happiness! And finally, I find that most stress and anxiety comes from the past and the future; what we perceive we did wrong in the past, and the opportunities we must mess up tomorrow.  So it makes sense that the more time we spend in the present, the less time we spend in worry mode.  Experience helped me believe in mindfulness and that it could increase my day-to-day happiness and now I’m grateful to see these little changes increase happiness in the people I work with every day.

 When did you first come across mindfulness?

About 13 years ago, I started searching for some magic solution to the stress and anxiety in my life.  About 10 years ago, I stumbled across the contemplative practice of mindfulness.  I came to mindfulness much like many other people: I was burned out and tired.  I was working on a Ph.D. while running a Department of Distance Education in a community college.  This involved managing 35+ employees, while having to collaborate with faculty and student’s services to provide full programs for our online college students and providing college credit courses for high schools in 13 surrounding school districts.  I think of that time now and am grateful that I didn’t give up my search for more resilience.


What direction do you want to take your company in?

Because I let myself burn out and pushed myself too far, I now teach mindfulness but have a Ph.D. in Education.  I could have stayed in education, if it were what I really loved, and just implemented a self-care practice of mindfulness into my life.  I hope to continue working more with audiences in high-stress environments like education, law enforcement, non-profits, etc., where I can help the people who have the experience and education to be in these high-risk jobs find their balance and continue doing important work.  These people are so important to the success of our communities and I’d like to support them in their own success.


If you had to sum up your program in only a few words what would they be?

Inserting clarity, focus, and resiliency into our daily life.


We hope this interview allowed you to learn about the mind behind the program, Mindfulness in Organizations. KDSL Global will focus on mindfulness in May collecting best practices and what has been started in the MENA region. Join us for a free webinar with Christine on 16 May 2017 from 5-6pm Dubai time.


Matthew Diprose
KDSL Global Intern
Twitter: @KDSL07
Facebook: KDSL Global


10 to know in education in the UAE in 2017

In celebration of ten years serving the global education community we are highlighting ten to know in education in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) in 2017. The UAE was selected since the founder has been based here the majority of the last ten years. Each person will be shared throughout this year. Our sixth to know is Limitless Education.



At Limitless Education we fundamentally believe that we should be educating the next generation in creativity and imagination and supporting them to believe in and follow their passions and dreams.

We are creative education specialists, with a successful track record of developing early year’s settings, mentoring and leadership and student empowerment. With experience as teachers, head teachers and local authority advisers, we support and guide educators to develop their own unique philosophies for learning. Our consultants are selected on the basis of their education expertise and the core belief that ‘dreams, passions and imagination’ should be at the heart of education. They provide long or short-term consultancy, coaching, mentoring and workshop arrangements to support leaders, practitioners and students. With the main aim to improve practice and develop an ‘anything is possible’ mind-set.

Rachel Lloyd

As co-founder of Limitless Education, Rachel is passionate about fostering an understanding of the importance of dreams, passions, imagination and creativity in education settings. She is committed to education reform and is invested in shifting the focus from grades and assessments to dreams and passions.

Rachel is an inspiring educational consultant who specialises in authentic leadership, empowerment, creativity and imagination in education settings.

Rachel committed herself to exploring the most effective education philosophies, she is highly knowledgable in ‘Reggio Emilia’ and child initiated learning. During her time leading schools in the UAE and UK, Rachel developed her own unique education philosophies, which incorporated ‘passion projects, developing dreamers and creating change makers’.

With 16 years experience in education she has created outstanding and innovative education practices. She has successfully lead Early years departments in the UK and international and has been highlighted as an innovative and inspiring headteacher by local authorities. With a refreshing and remarkable mindset she support educators developing unique teaching philosophies and practices.

Kelly Seymour

Kelly Seymour is an expert in Leading and Teaching within the Early Years and has dedicated her career to developing child led learning philosophies that empower students and teachers to shine. Her fearless and empowered mindset has enabled her to develop practices and workshops for teachers and students that encourage creativity and imagination and promote empowerment and authenticity.

Kelly is passionate about developing the dreams and imaginations of the next generation in order to bring positive change into their lives and the world. She cofounded Limitless Education in order to develop innovative teaching and coaching practices that will support and empower all practitioners to bring this awareness and understanding to the forefront of education. Kelly is a unique facilitator due to the mindful combination of her passions in teaching, exploring the limitless possibilities of the imagination and playing with creativity.  She fundamentally believes that in order to effortlessly create our dreams we must playfully and creatively explore our imaginations, clear our fears and limiting beliefs and become empowered to create positive change in our own lives.

Kelly is dedicated to student empowerment and developing fearless living, she fundamentally believes that in order to create positive change in the world and education reform we need to collaborate with our youths, understanding that their empowerment is the key to sustainable change.

Twitter -@limitlesseduca1
Facebook – A call 4 creative action
Instagram – limitlesseducation