KDSL Global interviews Sue Beers

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Sue Beers, the Executive Director of MISIC. Now serving 160+ school districts in Iowa and other states, MISIC began in 1998 as a collaborative between 15 school districts in central Iowa.

 

What inspired you to work in education and curriculum? 

My mother and grandmother were teachers. I just followed in their footpaths! My interest in curriculum development came for designing my own lessons and curriculum, as we had no state or local curriculum guides. I received a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and while doing that study, became intrigued with not only writing curriculum, but leading others in this work as well. As a Director of Curriculum for 19 years, I had the opportunity to work with teachers from all content areas and grade levels to design and implement high-quality curriculum.

 

Tell us about the books you have written for ASCD.

As a former language arts teacher, literacy has always been my passion. Early in my career, I discovered that I had a significant number of high school students who were reading below the 5th grade level. I also realized that even my high-performing students were unable to independently process and understand the content-area text that they encountered. Many had simply stopped reading and waited for teachers to tell them what they needed to know.

I started researching and studying how to help students use text to learn in all content areas. This has been my lifelong passion and resulted in my writing 5 Action Tools for ASCD in the area of literacy in the content areas. The books were Reading Strategies for the Content Areas, Reading Strategies for the Content Areas Volume 2, Writing to Learn in the Content Areas, Adolescent Literacy, and Teaching 21st Century Skills, which included a great deal of literacy connections.

In addition to literacy, I am passionate about providing high-quality professional development programs for teachers and administrators. ASCD asked me to develop a set of tools for this, resulting in another action tool on this topic.

 

 

What is the importance of integrating literacy skills in science curriculum?

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) standards include alignment to the literacy skills students need to be able to read, write about and talk about science concepts. If one knows a lot about science, but cannot share that knowledge by communicating with others, the advantage of that knowledge is loss. If they cannot read science content, they will miss a key method for gaining science knowledge. There are specific tools and methods for reading science that need to be explicitly presented to students. Science teachers are not asked to be reading and writing teachers, but rather to use reading and writing to help students learn their science content. Science teachers need to help students unlock the content by giving them the tools they need to comprehend the unique structures, vocabulary and nuances of scientific language. In addition, they need to provide opportunities for students to write about their learning in order to deepen and sharpen their understanding.

 

To learn more about MISIC visit http://misiciowa.org.

 

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Making connections among a myriad of initiatives and supporting learning through humor and example are professional passions for Sue Z. Beers.  In workshops delivered across the country, Sue shares strategies and tools for creating effective learning opportunities that prepare students for college, careers and citizenship.  Improving teaching and learning will necessitate that teachers, administrators and district personnel participants deeply examine their own current practices against best practices.

Sue’s 40-year career as a classroom teacher, program coordinator and district administrator has provided her with hands-on experience in the areas of effective teaching and school improvement.   As the founder and current Director of the MISIC Consortium, Beers works with over 160 school districts in Iowa and other states in guiding the alignment of curriculum, instruction and assessment in order to improve student learning.

As a consultant, speaker and ASCD Consultant, Sue has shared her expertise and experience with school districts and educational organizations nationally and internationally to improve teaching and learning in the areas of

  • Using Professional Learning Communities to Achieve Effective Instructional Change
  • Leading the Implementation of the CCSS: Strategies and Resources
  • CCSS Implementation in Literacy and Math Classrooms
  • Key Shifts of the CCSS in Literacy and Math
  • Reading and Writing Strategies in the Content Areas
  • Literacy Across the Curriculum
  • 21stCentury Teaching and Learning
  • Professional Development Planning
  • School Improvement Planning
  • Effective teaching strategies
  • Curriculum Development
  • Assessing Student Learning
  • Using Data to Inform Instruction

 

Sue co-authored ASCD’s “Leading the Common Core” professional development institute and is also the co-author of Reading Strategies for the Content Areas:  An ASCD Action Tool, Volumes 1 and II  and Using Writing to Learn Across the Content Areas:  An ASCD Action Tool.   She has also authored an ASCD Action Tool on Strategies for Designing, Implementing and Evaluating Professional Development, Adolescent Literacy and Teaching 21st Century Skills.

 

 

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KDSL Global interviews Mirai

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Nyla Tariq, Co-Founder of Mirai. They are passionate educators, founders & strategists shaping innovative learning & leadership to prepare you for the future now.

What inspired you to start Mirai?

The belief that education and learning are critical drivers of preparing people of all ages and countries for the future workforce. It isn’t just about starting schools and neither is it about creating workforce training programs, it’s about creating ecologies of learning and innovation that have measurable impact, that encourage learning and that help people find opportunities.

 

What was the mission at the outset?

The mission is to bring together the best in learning design, learning technologies and innovation to ensure employability, opportunity and innovation for people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. We saw a huge gap in what was happening on the ground, in schools and in workplaces versus what needs to be happening for future workforce needs.

 

What is the most important thing that you are working on right now and how are you making it happen?

While technology is not the definition of innovation, it is definitely a driver. We are focusing our efforts right now in sourcing the best in learning technologies from different parts of the world, and bringing it to the Middle East and Asia to be able to scale the impact of great learning.

We are working with schools and corporates on creating ecologies of innovative learning through learning & leadership consulting, predictive analytic models and digital learning.

 

To learn more about Mirai visit https://www.miraipartners.co.

 

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Nyla Tariq is motivated to create global social change. Her work spans 4 continents & all ages of learners, innovating to build people’s talents and capabilities.

She co-launched Mirai, one of the Middle East’s first innovation consultancies, to help schools, businesses, & governments prepare for the future.

Prior to that, she led business development at NYU StartEd Accelerator, working with leading startups & investors in the U.S EdTech space. Nyla has led growth & training for one of the U.A.E’s top teacher development & training platforms and has worked to implement workforce strategies for thousands of GCC based blue-collar workers.

She also co-founded Kids World Group in the U.A.E, a network of boutique Montessori nurseries delivering affordable & high-quality early years education. At Kids World, she led operations, taught toddlers fine-motor skills, & trained teachers.

Nyla is a passionate advocate of gender & minority rights. To that end, she has personally educated men on gender-based violence in the favelas of Brazil and taught English to increase the employability of women in refugee camps in Greece.

 

 

New KDSL Global Senior Associate

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Meet Mona Fairley Nelson, our new KDSL Global Senior Associate.
 
Mona Fairley-Nelson is an educational leader who has served in numerous international schools since relocating abroad in 2014. Mrs. Fairley-Nelson’s vast leadership experience includes: developing international partnerships with colleges and universities to support school innovation, developing quality instructional practices in K-12th grade, accreditation planning and report writing, multidivisional strategic planning and school improvement, budgeting development and allocation for organizational growth, implementing effective leadership and supervision models, and creating sustainable practices for start-up schools across the globe.
 
The majority of Mrs. Fairley-Nelson’s work in education has centered on supporting American curriculum schools in the NESA region. She presented at the MENA Teacher Summit in Dubai, AAIE conference in San Francisco, and the END conference in Portugal. Additionally, she organized the PEAK 2019 educational conference in Kuwait which hosted over one thousand of the country’s educators. In August of 2019, Mrs. Fairley-Nelson will expand her professional reach to include the AASSA region as well.
 
Mrs. Fairley-Nelson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development, a Master of Education degree in Elementary Education, and a Master of K-12 Leadership and Supervision degree. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education degree in International Educational Leadership from Wilkes University.

New KDSL Global Manager of Learning

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Meet Rashenah Walker, our new KDSL Global Manager of Learning. In this role Walker will manage projects in our professional learning portfolio for the MENA region.

Rashenah Walker is an international curriculum specialist and educational trainer. She holds a Master’s degree in Education majoring in Instructional Technology and is a dual major Doctoral Candidate in Educational Leadership and Curriculum Design. Rashenah began her career in the United States as special education and Advanced Placement teacher. Since then, she has worked in the areas of curriculum design, educational administration, organizational needs analysis, and teacher development. As an independent contractor, Rashenah has completed professional development training for TESOL, College Board, Edmodo, and KDSL Global making significant contributions to educational organizations within the U.S. and internationally. Currently, she is serving on the TESOL Professional Standards Council, has appeared as a guest on the radio show Myk12career.com, in addition to winning multiple Global Education Supplies and Solutions (GESS) awards for her research on using Edmodo in schools.

KDSL Global interviews The GEMS Camp Founder Saki Milton

KDSL Global recently had an opportunity to connect with Saki Milton, Founder of The GEMS Camp.  The GEMS Camp, launched in summer 2010 as a free 6-week Saturday camp, preparing urban girls in grades 7 through 9 to be well-rounded, confident, and ready for college and beyond.  Since its inception, The GEMS Camp has been instrumental in inspiring more than 200 girls in STEM studies and is hosted annually at The University of North Texas at Dallas.

 

What was your inspiration to work in STEM?

As a secondary mathematics classroom teacher, every year I saw 1-2 kids in each class who actually wanted to learn. They were focused, studious, hard-working, and hungry for a challenge. Unfortunately, with the challenges many teachers like myself face in an urban classroom, those students are typically the ones who end up getting shafted. Large classroom sizes, disrespect, and lack of resources are issues an urban teacher faces on a daily basis. I know I did. My heart broke every time I saw a girl who reminded me of myself as a student, but wasn’t getting the quality education that every child should receive because I was too busy dealing with classroom management or catching up those who were 1-2 grade levels behind. Going home every night knowing that I wanted to do more led me to action.

In 2010, I was teaching at an IB school. I was so moved by my students’ personal projects that I decided to explore my own summer project to give back to those students in my neighborhood. That’s when I started The GEMS Camp. I started The GEMS Camp for the girls who are ridiculed for being smart. Girls who do everything they’re supposed to do, but have to stay in their environments just because they don’t have anywhere else to go. I wanted to give them what was given to me – a quality learning experience that made me curious about the world and compassionate about others in a safe environment. Over the years, my interest in STEM has grown as demands for the workforce have changed. I’ve realized the significance of preparing students for jobs of the future, especially problems facing the environment or those with disabilities.

I believe that the shortages in STEM fields can be filled by preparing more women, which currently account for about 13% of the U.S. STEM workforce. To do so, we need to prepare girls with knowledge and skills but also equip them with confidence to be successful in such fields. My involvement in the community led me to combine my background, experience and passion into forming a nonprofit organization. I encourage teachers to find ways to explore their talents and interests beyond the bell.

 

Tell us about the GEMS Camp

The mission of The GEMS Camp (Girls interested in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science) is to build confidence in urban teen girls in grades 7-12 through five core areas called the 5 Karat Gems – Academics, Career, Creativity, Leadership, and Service– so that they will be successful in STEM studies and careers. The Organization’s vision is to change the trajectory of generational poverty for underrepresented girls’ families.

We teach girls how to be CREATIVE thinkers and communicators – a valuable life skill to help them break away from the pack. They learn LEADERSHIP strategies through a one-of-a-kind, research-based curriculum addressing specific needs of urban girls. Third, girls participate in SERVICE to help them internalize the value of giving back to a greater cause. The camp also prepares girls through ACADEMICS by using rigorous and engaging lessons and experiments led by highly qualified instructors. And finally, The GEMS Camp addresses CAREER opportunities to its participants by inviting local, successful STEM women to speak about their professions and personal backgrounds.

The program started in 2010 as a Saturday day camp servicing 30 rising 7th-9th-grade girls held at a public library in Dallas, Texas. Since 2017, the model has evolved to a one-week residential Summer Experience program held at the University of North Texas at Dallas. The program concludes with a Graduation Ceremony and Community Exhibition, recognizing girls for completion and achievements throughout the program. The GEMS Camp continues to gain momentum reaching more students while maintaining authenticity to its mission. To date, we have served roughly 400 girls, exposing them to more than 30 North Texas female STEM professionals representing major corporations and organizations such as IBM, Atmos Energy, Frito Lay/Pepsico, Mary Kay, Inc., Hilti, Texas Instruments, HKS Architects and more.

One of our greatest accomplishments is the expansion of our mission to include helping girls build global STEM networks through travel. In June 2018, eight high school girls traveled to Italy (Naples, Rome, and Florence) to explore the “M” in STEM, studying geometric concepts of ancient and modern architecture, technology, and engineering. June 5-15, 2019, ten girls will have the opportunity to participate in a culture exchange in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) with local female STEM girls, while the Dallas camp will be held, June 21-28, 2019.

 

What do you see as the future of STEM?

To address the whole child, The GEMS Camp program design is rooted in the latest STEM education research, primarily STEM Learning Ecosystems (SLE’s)and incorporates best practices for bringing minority and low-income girls into the STEM career pipeline. In the future, I foresee STEM education headed more down this path based on reports I’ve read. The phrase STEM learning ecosystem has emerged from early works of human development research. SLE models include children at the center influenced directly by other people (e.g., family, friends) and settings (e.g., schools, neighborhoods) and indirectly by their environment and culture. Students shape and influence their environment and narrative via connections with other learners, community representatives, and the broader scope of world culture. I believe more funding will shift towards collaborative partnerships that are operating with this model. The emergence of newer adaptations of STEM –STEAM and STREAM will continue to take place.

However, long-term sustainability of such concepts are dependent upon the global job market. All of the data still point to science, technology, engineering and math-based positions; not the arts – though I am a firm believer and supporter of the arts. Until we see extreme shortages and disparities in the arts, as it pertains to STEM, I am not fully convinced yet that STEM is on its way out nor STEAM has enough critical mass to sustain its current popularity. But, I could be wrong; I hope it is not a fad.

Unlike the early days of STEM where emphasis was on engineering and computer science, I do believe greater increase in the sciences –biology, environment, and chemistry — will experience tremendous growth as human impact, biological warfare, and medical care are becoming macro-economic issues for both government and private sector.

To learn more about The GEMS Camp visit:

https://www.thegemscamp.org

 

Saki Milton

 

Saki Milton is an experienced mathematics educator with more than 20 years in the education industry including adult learning, curriculum writing, coaching, market development, consulting, and most importantly eight years of classroom teaching. Passionate about STEM education, Saki is known for her extensive work in the U.S. by founding The GEMS Camp (Girls interested in Engineering, Mathematics and Science), a non-profit organization whose mission is to build confidence in girls in grades 7-10 in five core areas called the 5 Karat Gems – Academics, Career, Creativity, Leadership, and Service – so that they will be successful in STEM studies and beyond. The organization has served more than 350 girls across Texas since 2010, partnering with major STEM employers such as BP Oil, Pepsico-FritoLay, HESS Corporation, and NASA to name a few. Saki has worked for Pearson Education Middle East as the U.S. Schools Curriculum Manager, delivering educator support to American international schools across the gulf region. Today, she is an independent international educational consultant working on worthwhile edTech and publishing projects globally. Saki holds a B.A. in mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin and an M.B.A. in marketing from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

KDSL Global interviews Literacy Leader Jacob Sule

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KDSL Global recently had an opportunity to connect with literacy leader Jacob Sule. Jacob is the founder of iRead To Live Initiative, a non-profit organization that focuses on achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals of Quality Education in Nigeria. He was recently named one of 30 literacy leaders named to the International Literacy Association’s (ILA) 2019 30 Under 30 list.

 

 

Tell us about the iRead To Live Initiative, why it’s important, and some of the accomplishments of the non-profit. 

We are a team dedicated to serving the course of humanity by giving back to the society by promoting and enlightening the community on the importance of education, supplementing government efforts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Quality Education in Nigeria, and inspiring students to imbibe a reading culture.

As a Non Governmental Organization, we are focusing on advocating for quality education and improved learning conditions in both government and private owned schools. This is in accordance of the Vision 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a team, we also share the same philosophy that education is a tool with which one can change the world for the best.

WHAT WE DO

We are currently working in Ifetedo community, Ife South Local Government, Osun State Nigeria with the management and teachers of public cchools, by volunteering to teach different topics and subjects in various schools, providing students with textbooks, exercise books, writing materials and other educational materials to aid the learning process.

In promoting and enlightening the community on the importance of Education, we adopted the Parent Teacher Association meeting strategies, where parents, teachers and notable stakeholders hold meetings often times to discuss and sensitize parents and guardians on the need to enroll their children and wards in school(s) rather than using them as laborers on their farmlands knowing fully that farming is predominant in the community.

OUR MISSION

Promoting and advocating for quality and equitable education for all, connecting rural areas by organising academic and extracurricular events.

OUR VISION

To supplement government efforts in achieving the sustainable development goals of quality education in Nigeria.

OUR FOCUS

We have a desire to reach out to the Nigerian and African child that deserves quality education and self-empowerment; as well as mental alacrity but with less or no capacity to attain the feat.

As young people who are tired of continued neglect of children in rural communities, we decided to ensure that every child, regardless of their backgrounds, in Nigeria must continue to have unhindered access to quality and equitable education. As a non-profit organization, we have consistently engaged government to ensure that it does not neglect its responsibility of providing quality education to all Nigerians.

Though as a relatively young organization, we have been able to accomplish the following:

  1. Launch of iRead To Live Maiden Quiz Competition for Schools
  2. Establishment of Reading Clubs in some schools
  3. Purchase and donation of writing materials, textbooks and other educational materials
  4. Donation of a wheelchair to a physically challenged Undergraduate Student
  5. We hosted the Maiden Edcamp in Nigeria, 2018
  6. Successfully hosted several oratory and literacy competitions in 2016-2018.

 

 

The International Literacy Association (ILA) named you one of the 30 under 30 for 2019. What does it mean to be a champion of literacy?

The ILA celebrates rising innovators, disruptors and visionaries in the literacy field. As a literacy champion you must have shown commitment and continued passion and be involved in innovative ideas and adventures towards strengthening of literacy in your immediate community. For me, having been named alongside 29 other leaders globally, I have been involved in grassroots literacy campaigns by engaging students in rural communities in Nigeria, creating reading clubs, hosted oratory and literacy competitions.

 

Last year you were the founder of Edcamp Nigeria as a way to empower and ignite teachers in the country. What are your major goals for 2019?

My overall goal for 2019 is to scale up advocacy for literacy, ensure improved access to quality education, and professional development for teachers in Nigeria by embracing 21st century teaching approaches.

Also, I will be working with some other educators globally and within Nigeria for possible collaboration and getting students, teachers, and communities to take more actions in the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by offering solutions to societal challenges.

This is in furtherance to the proposed launch of a makerspace in Nigeria. The makerspace will be incorporated alongside anAdopt a School Program and built around the SDGs indicators and targets, so that teachers and students can be fully exposed to the SDGs targets.

The Adopt a School Program – I intend to adopt four schools through iRead To Live Initiative. We will deploy educational resources, train teachers, donate writing materials and take more actions on sanitation and hygiene.

 

 

To learn more about Jacob’s work visit:

https://ireadtolive.org
https://twitter.com/sulejacobs
https://twitter.com/iReadInitiative
https://ireadtolive.org/international-literary-association/

 

 

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About Jacob Sule

Jacob is the founder of iRead To Live Initiative, a non-profit organization that focuses on achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals of Quality Education in Nigeria. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and is nearing completion of his study of Law.

As a leader of Inspire Citizens in Africa, Jacob has consistently advocated for the delivery of SDG 4: Quality Education for every child, launching schools literacy clubs and campaigns, while supporting teacher training and professional learning opportunities in rural areas of Nigeria.

His goal remains empowering all students, teachers, and community members to become educated, impactful, and sustainable thinkers. Jacob is also a featured guest in the Inspire Citizens Activist in ResidenceProgram.

He joined the TEACHSDGs in 2018 as an Ambassador in Teaching the SDGs targets in Schools particularly in rural communities. His continued passion for education in Nigeria made him to host the Maiden Edcamp in Nigeria on December 15th, 2018, a participant-driven session for educators in Osun state, Nigeria for professional development and empowerment.

Jacob’s several literacy advocacies, projects, and campaigns in 2018 earned him the Global recognition as a Literacy Champion alongside 29 other leaders globally.

 

 

KDSL Global Releases Paper on Arts in MENA American Curriculum Schools

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DUBAI, UAE, 28 January 2019 – KDSL Global today released a paper which examines the implementation of the National Core Arts Standards in the USA and in the MENA region. Published in 2014 as a result of a three-year nationwide collaborative effort, the goal of these standards is to assist teachers in developing PreK-12 curriculum that guides the enhancement of artistic literacy among learners.  KDSL Global is a USA and UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.

Lana Hallmark, arts consultant and paper author stated, “The opportunity to participate in telling the story of the National Core Arts Standards came at a timely moment for me. As I look ahead to the revision of the fine arts academic standards in Arkansas in the coming summer, having this fresh review of the background and goals of the NCAS will be invaluable and will certainly impact this important work for the students in my state.” She co-wrote the paper with Kevin Simpson (KDSL Global Managing Director) and Joyce Huser (the President of the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education). Huser said, “The 2014 National Core Art Standards (NCAS) for the fine arts have provided a rich and in-depth guide for meeting the learning needs of students at the PreK – 12th grade levels in my state of Kansas as well as in many other states across the nation.  They have also provided a resource for preparing pre-service teachers and guiding experienced educators in developing and providing a holistic arts education. With an emphasis on process-based learning, these standards have had a great impact on enhancing learning and applying real life application to learning.  Students love this.  While it is a challenge for teachers to transition from the old to the new standards, the professional development that has been provided across the nation has been invaluable in meeting the goals and intentions of these standards. I am pleased to have been a part of the writing process and continue to provide quality professional development in helping teachers understand these standards and how to implement them in their instruction.”

The paper features a list of arts resources, case studies, and results from surveys that would provide data regarding the implementation process in the USA. Questions educators and leaders responded to ranged from impression of the standards, timeline, professional development, and more.

The paper can be downloaded at: http://kdslglobal.com/Arts%20in%20MENA%20American%20Curriculum%20Schools.pdf

 

KDSL GLOBAL PRESS CONTACT
+971 52 542 7009
Kevin Simpson, kevin@kdslglobal.com
www.kdslglobal.com

 

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

 

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.