MENA Teacher Summit 2018

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Dubai, 11 October 2018: The MENA Teacher Summit was held in Dubai last weekend, on 5th and 6th of October. Organized by KDSL Global and an initiative of the ASCD Connected Community in the GCC, the Teacher Summit seeks to improve teaching and learning and connect education professionals throughout the MENA region to the resources provided by ASCD. ASCD is dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Hundreds of educators from 8 countries and over 40 partner organizations from across the region and the world participated in the professional learning opportunity held at Marriott Hotel Al Jadaff. Attendees had 35 different workshops to select from with topics as diverse as teachers as same designers, developing resilience in young people for all aspects of life, inclusive education, coaching as a framework to improve student achievement, and teaching students to self-assess and reflect for deeper learning. The participants were welcomed on Saturday by His Excellency Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi who shared the importance of schools in uniting the 200 different nationalities who live in the United Arab Emirates. Featured presenter and ASCD author Starr Sackstein said, “The conference was a well-organized learning opportunity for all who attended, participants and presenters. The conversations and collaborative problem-solving were unique opportunities to provide better learning for all students.”

The day one pre-conference and opening keynote speech on day two was given by ASCD author Dr. Victoria Bernhardt. Victoria is known worldwide as a leading authority on data analysis for continuous school and district improvement. She is the author of 22 highly praised books on data analysis, school improvement, Response to Intervention, and more. Teams of teachers were introduced to a program evaluation tool featured in Dr. Bernhardt’s book Measuring What We Do in Schools and used this resource with an example from their own school.

For more information about the summit and partnering organizations visit http://menateachersummit.com. The group has changed the name of the summit to the GCC ASCD Conference and the next professional learning opportunity will take place during 4-5 October in 2019.

 
ABOUT KDSL Global

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

ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community

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.

PRESS CONTACT

Kevin Simpson, KDSL Global, menateachersummit@gmail.com, +971 55 344 9286

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MENALearns Portal

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During 2018 the MENALearns Portal will be a new resource for educators at American curriculum schools. Our KDSL Global intern had a chance to chat with the team this past summer about what the portal is, how it is different and future plans.

 

What is MENALearns? 

MENALearns will be an online portal for educators at American curriculum schools based in the Middle East and North Africa region. This is a collaborative effort with Xblended and KDSL Global. It is for educators with resources reviewed, created, and shared by educators. Tools and resources will be related to curriculum, instruction, assessment, professional learning, and more. Six educators from six countries reviewed the initial portal and provided feedback to the team. We call this group our first educators. During the summer of 2018 we collaborated with an educator from the region who served during the month of July with the purpose of reviewing and selecting additional resources for K-12 educators on a wide range of topics. The site will launch later in September 2018. A free introductory webinar will be held on 1 October at 6pm Dubai time. Users will have the option to become a member of the community as a MENALearns Teacher, MENALearns Leader, or a MENALearns School. Special rates for new members will run from October- December 2018.

 

There are many online platforms and resources nowadays. How is MENALearns different from these?

This is very true! We wanted to craft a resource that was specific to educators who are based in the MENA region. Often there are resources from the states with references and images that students and educators may not be able to connect with. Educators who we spoke to openly shared this information. We wanted to have a blended approach with materials from the states along with resources provided from educators in the region. This will grow over time as we encourage educators and leaders to share resources from their schools and classrooms. Also, we asked American curriculum educators in the region where they go to online to access resources to use in planning. A plethora of websites was listed. We then asked what if there was one place where they could access most of the sites they used. All were interested and first users talked about how organized, comprehensive, and easy to navigate the portal was.

 

 

What are the future plans for this portal?

We will see what the future holds. As we receive feedback we will make changes and update information as there is always something new to learn. Our short-term plans is to make as many American curriculum schools and educators aware of the portal as possible in the MENA region. In the future we hope all will be a MENALearns School.

 

 

To stay updated on MENALearns email menalearns@gmail.com. The portal will launch later in September 2018.

 

 

Jenessa Dsilva
KDSL Global Intern
Website: www.kdslglobal.com
Twitter: @KDSL07
Facebook: @KDSL Global

 

Professional Development Targets MENA’s American Curriculum Teachers and Administrators

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On Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6, MENA region American curriculum teachers and school leadership teams will convene in Dubai as part of an initiative of the ASCD Connected Community in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Organized by KDSL Global, a UAE-based 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, 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.

Victoria L. Bernhardt, Ph.D., has directed the Education for the Future Initiative since its inception in 1991. Victoria is known worldwide as a leading authority on data analysis for continuous school and district improvement. She is the author of 22 highly praised books on data analysis, school improvement, Response to Intervention, and more. Each of her books shows schools and school districts how to do the work themselves. Her workshops focus on building capacity to analyze and use data effectively. Victoria is known for her down-to-earth, roll up the sleeves, real work that leads to student achievement increases at all school levels. Victoria is a Research Professor (Emeritus) in the College of Communication and Education, at California State University, Chico. Victoria said, “The half day pre-conference on Measuring What We Do in Schools: How to Know if What We Are Doing Is Making a Difference will have leadership teams learn how to measure and understand if their school’s programs and processes are making the difference they want and need for all students.”

Summit partners include Smart Education, Alpha Publishing, the UAE Learning Network, Teach Middle East Magazine, Interactive Data Partners, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, McREL International, RYE Consulting, EDspired, The Global Sleepover,  Teacher Leaders International, MidSchoolMath, Horizons Educational Consulting, GEG UAE, TechKnowledge, WIDA, MENALearns, XBlended, 2LearnArabic, The Gulf Point, Education for the Future,  eyemaginED, D3 Consultants, Bennett Educational Consulting, ASCD Emerging Leaders, and Professional Minds.

Educators and school leaders from the MENA region American curriculum schools are encouraged to attend. Registration for the summit is now available. The agenda, sessions, and speakers are found at www.menateachersummit.com.

 

ABOUT KDSL Global

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

 

ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community

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.

 

Moral Education in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

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Education simply must not mean obtaining a degree or passing a grade with good marks but it should also instill good moral values, ethics, and character. This is exactly what the newly established moral education system in the schools of the United Arab Emirates instills. The Moral Education curriculum will not only build character but also introduce ethical outlook, foster community, and teach culture.

Moral Education is based on these 4 pillars:

  • Character and Morality
  • The Individual and the Community
  • Civic Studies
  • Cultural Studies

Moral Education is an initiative of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, that was first announced in 2016, piloted in January 2017, and has been implemented in grades 1-9 since September 2017. The first pilot was in 19 schools across the UAE. Schools in the UAE have started implementing moral education lessons within the curriculum and it is said to have been inspired by classes in Japanese schools where pupils are given a chance to think about how different scenarios will affect people around them.

According to Dr. Dsilva, (academician and education expert) moral education is important for today’s Hi-Tech Generation due to the many social influences. On a more international outlook the newly implemented program focuses on “developing student awareness of the shared human experience and making them messengers of the values they embody.” By focusing on a local viewpoint its aim is to “develop responsible, cultured, engaged adults ready for the wider globalized world.”

What are the benefits that come along with implementing a moral education curriculum?

-Humans are known to be social beings and moral education teaches them basic moral values, socializing skills, and good social habits like respecting elders, being honest, learning to share, and being kind. It fosters them into better people. Dr. Dsilva also shared that in the past in her culture children would be under the care of grandparents, uncles, and aunts living together in the same house. This gave them great opportunity to understand moral values such as respecting elders, honesty, truthfulness, caring, and helping each other. However, in today’s fast paced world where parents leave their families to migrate to find a better job or a higher standard of living, their children lose the chance to be with their elderly grandparents and therefore they may lack the chance to learn moral values such as caring for elders.

-Implementing such a system in school years allows students to practice good character with their fellow classmates and friends. Therefore, it is the need of the hour and every school must dedicate some time for imparting such moral values.

-It brings a more socially responsible generation and develops a sense of respect towards mankind. Moral education help to teach the young generation to be honest when there are wrong doings around them.

Dr. Dsilva was asked how she thought moral education would impact youth in the future. She replied that, “In the modern world of technology and artificial intelligence, the new generation at times is going away from values of kindness towards others and toward the environment. Having moral education sessions will invigorate an ecosystem around the youth to act responsibly towards others.”

 

To learn more about Moral Education in the United Arab Emirates please visit https://www.moraleducation.ae/ or follow UAE Moral Education on Twitter https://twitter.com/uaemoraledu.

 

Jenessa Dsilva
KDSL Global Intern
Website: www.kdslglobal.com

KDSL Global interviews Collective Learning

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How can collaborative learning systems best benefit schools? KDSL Global recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Sarah A. Boswell to learn more about the approach at her company called Collective Learning. Dr. Boswell is a scholar-leader who continues to lead change in schools.  Her international experience and research interests serve as the catalyst for her success in helping teachers globally become leaders of their learning & well-being. Her international experiences with teachers range from exploring teacher support programs in Ghana, West Africa, designing curriculum for teachers in Liberia, West Africa to training teachers in United Arab Emirates and Jakarta, Indonesia.

What are the most common problems CLS sees improving for schools?

Collaborative Learning Systems (CLS) seek to improve for schools their ability to maximize teachers’ talents … helping teachers tap into their personal power. We believe effectively and authentically navigating teachers’ personal power allows their talents and expertise to thrive is the first ingredient in handling common concerns relating to teacher retention, teacher satisfaction, teacher quality, and teacher efficacy.

Through our process of establishing collaborative learning systems in schools, we build in the necessary components within the school’s culture that creates a productive, safe, mutually respective environment for sharing and learning. These components include trust and rapport, healthy communication and listening skills, and reflection and application. Teachers are at the core of designing, facilitating these systems. Hence allowing them to gain a sense of ownership as well as an opportunity to utilize their expertise, ingenuity, and knowledge. They guide the process for effective learning, problem solving and innovation. It becomes an inner support for teacher consisting of teachers.

An article I recently read regarding teacher burnout coined a term that I have not heard before, demoralization. It shares that burnout and demoralization can both lead to teachers’ dissatisfaction but distinguishes them way by saying that burnout – requires individual teachers to determine the resolve via mindset, stress management remedies, etc. But the author, Doris Santoro, states that demoralization relates more so to the conflict that teachers have between their desire to do good work and what is expected by school policy. Therefore, placing some of the resolve on the system versus only on the individual teacher regarding burnout.

I do recommend one to read the article in its entirety (The link is below). An example of a moral conflict she shares that I feel many can relate to is: “Failing to meet students’ learning needs due to a scripted curriculum or mandated textbook.” Conversations relating to this are commonly seen or heard in the teachers’ lounges, grade level meetings, etc. but hardly ever brought up to school leadership as an area of concern to try to resolve. Yet, Ms. Santaro indicates through her over 10 years of research in the area of teacher dissatisfaction, she’s noticing these and other similar conflicts are a key cause of teacher dissatisfaction. She gives one good example of a teacher named “Diana” who had brought up moral conflict to leadership who in turn dismissed her point of view and considered it unprofessional.

So the point that I am making here by bringing up this article (besides I think every teacher and leader should read it) is I’m grateful to the author for bringing attention to an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. By being a teacher and working with teachers via my teacher conversations (coaching sessions) and/or my teacher collaborative (teacher group discussion) these conflicts –where teachers have to decide between what is in the best interest of children and the expectation of school policy and practice — are not new.

My service to teachers stems from wanting to help teachers to navigate, within their realm of control, strategies to manage and effectively cope with these systemic situations. Being able to change the situation has never been the resolve nor could it be or would it ever be. BUT what Collective Learning has been successful in doing is giving teachers an opportunity to talk productively and exploring what can be done and create a strategy towards it. That mere momentum can shift the feelings of helplessness and victimization, a source of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, to a feeling of hope and possibility.

Teachers are often aware of the top down organizational models that they are walking into when they decide to teach. Yet they still do for the love of teaching and impacting the lives of children. What my CLS models do is teach ways to create space to pause, and allow teachers individually or collectively to use their ingenuity to create solutions, strategies, alternatives to manage the day to day events in their work lives stemming from their own professional learning needs and beyond. Going back to the article, the author speaks about the need for leaders to first identify the true cause of teacher dissatisfaction and continues to offer leaders suggestions of ways to respond to the moral concerns of teachers.

Read the article to get all of them. However, the themes of her suggestions include the concepts of communication and listening (key concepts of CLS process). One specific suggestion states to invite teachers to write a proposal to resolve and address conflicts within their work. That is an awesome idea & my Teacher Collaborative is the perfect solution to facilitate a discussion among teachers to create a concise proposal.

But here is where I think the author and many, many other people tend to create the gap when asking teachers to do things like common planning time, professional learning communities, co-teaching, and write a proposal with your colleagues. I think you get my point.

BUT … if the school culture has not gone through some sort of trust and rapport building to create safe space, have not provided learning around productive and polite conversation protocols for tough topics, have not practiced effective ways to listen and respond, then why do you think teachers will all of sudden be able to effectively comfortably openly honestly delve into these collaborative open system mechanisms for resolution, innovation and progression? Then when it doesn’t work leading to the potential of having the cycle of demoralization continuing.

With all the great intentions of so many researchers, school policy makers, school leaders and administrations –wanting to create collaborative concepts among teachers in schools … to apply distributive leaderships in schools … to have teachers openly share their concerns with schools …. they are sometimes remised in not tapping into the pulse of teachers and developing effective safe group dynamics needed in an educational system that has historically focused on and been driven by isolation, individualism, authoritative models of governing and functioning.

It’s a process to genuinely create these safe collaborate environments but starting is the key. I understand that schools generally are working from a product result oriented intention but it’s my sincere belief that schools will need to shift to embracing “process” and celebrating the change as it occurs incrementally over time.

So what does CLS seek to improve in schools? We seek to close the gap. Doing so by offering solutions that help school cultures be open and safe environments where teachers’ talent and personal power can be safely and respectfully expressed and utilized to co-create with leadership resolves around whatever is needed. This could be their professional learning, stream lining the curriculum, best ways to handle lunch duty, value conflicts that impact their work, etc. With the key goal of keeping in mind the interest of all involved in order to best serve and meet the needs of students.

How does using CLS improve things for teachers and students?

CLS improves things for teachers by giving them tools to help them improve things for themselves. We believe teachers come into the schoolhouse with much valuable knowledge. Teachers’ talents can be best maximized when given a means to identify problems, a process to resolve it, a procedure to evaluate and revise it, if needed. That’s what CLS does. We give them the means, processes, and procedures to facilitate self-guided improvements.

So what’s the source of CLS success. It is organically and authentically driven by teachers’ needs. If they have issues dealing with a student in the classroom, they can have a teacher collaborative around it that fosters a structured way to creatively brainstorm solutions. If the school decided to implement the 4C’s of a Learning Culture then they can engage peer collaboration where they see peers in action and have a constructive learning conversation around the teacher specific learning need.

But again, these solutions aren’t just collaborative models that are dumped onto teachers. We build the foundation for healthy safe collaboration to occur. Now things improve for the students by being the beneficiaries of teachers who are open and comfortable to sharing their skills and talents; to maintaining and even innovating new approaches to teaching and learning.

And other sweet benefit or improvement for students includes teachers who are happier, who have an increased level of teacher efficacy, teachers excited about coming to their work environment and showing up in the best possible way they can.

I am not trying to create this Polly Anna world of teaching … there will be situations, experiences, and encounters that will not be able to be resolved or resolved to the satisfaction of people involved. BUT having a system in place where the mere support of a listening ear and validation could make a world of difference in the life of teachers.

 

Does CLS require a large host of teachers to actively collaborate? Or could a smaller school use it?

Nope definitely not! School size does not matter. What’s awesome about our CLS solutions is that it’s geared toward meeting individual, team, and organization needs. This stems from our theories derived from the concepts of organizational development and dimensions of a learning organization.

Our Teacher Conversations are geared toward teachers who want to engage in a one-on-one conversation about their practice, dilemma, and/or ambitions with a professional coach outside of the school. Teacher Collaborative provides opportunity for supportive teams to convene for learning and/or problem solving purposes. The 4C’s of a Learning Culture is a school-wide process for providing ongoing learning for teachers.

The size only constitutes the amount of knowledge that is resting under one roof. However the ability to share, learn, grow, and innovate from that knowledge has no barring on the size of the school. The only thing required for CLS are teachers and school leaders who are open to the positive and productive impact that teachers’ talents (their personal power) have on creating, innovating, and problem solving solutions within schools.

 

To learn more about Collective Learning Systems visit https://www.clteachertalent.com/ and to read the ASCD article referenced go to https://tinyurl.com/ya46qasn.

 

 

Our KDSL Global Fellow at FLIBS

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The International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme is a VERY rigorous programme for scholars at select primary and secondary schools. This programme’s international component is unique, but in a way that can be beneficial for today’s learners. This program has intentionally modeled the standard college experience. After the completion of this program, scholars earn advanced college credits and have the potential for scholarships. After receiving an invitation to be sent to training with the Florida Association of IB World Schools (FLIBS), there was no way I could decline. In this blog post I will share with you my recent experience.

The first day of training was the most beneficial for me. This day was used for opening the floor for questions from my group. Our instructor would address each of our main concerns about the curriculum of IB. I have to make one small disclaimer as to why this worked for my group. The biology group was a small one, consisting of seven educators. This was the best part for me! It allowed the instructor to be more personal with our questions, comments, and concerns, which made it a more engaging and valuable. I’m sure that most people who love their content felt eager to expand their professional development making day one the most exciting. Day two was spent breaking down the three core elements that every scholar has to show mastery on in order to obtain the diploma. The three core elements are Theory of knowledge (TOK), extended essay (EE), and creativity, activity, and service, which is often referred to as CAS. The three core elements are similar to what you would see in college. For example, when I was a biology major during university the only “papers” I had to write were in my general education classes. My life was creating a schedule for myself to finish labs and the reports that went with them. Congruently, this is what an IB scholar would experience in their science content course. If you are immersed in the world of IB, then time management and organization is imperative. As per my instructor, not often does IB request certain material from you, but if you are audited, it is best to keep documentation on what is happening in your class. Day three was a half day to recap on anything that may have been unclear and to tie everything we had learned together in a way we can feel confident to implement IB practices in our classroom this fall.

Overall, I had a great experience at training! My instructor did a phenomenal job of pacing, integrating hands-on tasks, and clarity of explaining which really made me want to be invited into his classroom. In the future I hope to return to FLIBS for level 2-3 training.

 

Tiffany Johnson
9th Grade Biology Teacher
KDSL Global Fellow
Website: www.kdslglobal.com
Twitter: @KDSL07 and @sayscienceTEM

Meet our KDSL Global Summer Interns

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Vamsi Krishna grew up in Dubai and currently is a new student in The Gems Modern Academy. Previously he attended The Indian High School. This is his first internship experience but Vamsi have done loads of volunteering work at various camps and events. He has been on the school’s cricket team and House team at his previous school. Vamsi has a science background with a focus on subjects like Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, English Language, English Literature and Business Studies. He is eager to learn lots and gain experience in this internship.

 

Jenessa Dsilva has earned her Indian Certificate of Secondary Education in April 2018 from GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai. She developed interest in business related education and is currently pursuing ISC grade 11 Business Studies, Economics and she has major interest in studying Psychology as well. She has always been articulate in writing and has discovered Fine Arts as one of her passions. All through her schooling each year she participates in several charity related activities and is enthusiastic about giving back to the society. During her free time she loves to read nonfiction books and sketch out some art pieces. During one of the summer school activities she has helped develop an innovation lab along with her peers at school. In the future she seeks to attain a career in the field of Psychology along with Art.

 

 

ASCD selects the first Emerging Leader based in the Middle East

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DUBAI, UAE, July 8 2018 – ASCD is excited to announce the selection of educators for its 2018 class of emerging leaders. The Emerging Leaders program recognizes and prepares young, promising educators to influence education programs, policy, and practice on both the local and national levels.

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.

The first Emerging Leader has been selected who is based in the United Arab Emirates. 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 at Universal American School in Dubai. 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. She will be a featured speaker at the MENA Teacher Summit held during 5-6 October in Dubai. Visit www.menateachersummit.com for more information.

To learn more about ASCD’s other programs, products, services, and memberships, visit www.ascd.org. To learn about the GCC ASCD Connected Community visit www.gccascd.com.

 

ABOUT ASCD

ASCD is dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. ASCD’s innovative solutions promote the success of each child.  

ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community

The GCC ASCD Connected Community is to unite educators throughout the region, inspiring all of us to learn globally and teach locally.

 

PRESS CONTACT

Kevin Simpson, KDSL Global, kevin@kdslglobal.com