KDSL Global interviews Rania Nasr

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

Tell us about Risalla Education Consulting.

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

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

Our services include, but are not limited to:

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

 

What challenges are Arabic and Islamic Education currently facing?

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

 

Tell us about the teacher training your company offers.

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

 

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About Risalla Education Consulting

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

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

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