Teachers, education leaders and policymakers took part in a dialogue on how to improve best practices in schools across the country at the Qatar University’s Fourth Annual Action Research Conference held recently. The event organised by QU’s College of Education (CED) and the Supreme Education Council’s Education Institute, was attended by QU and SEC officials, teachers and leaders from independent schools as well as CED faculty and students. Addressing the participants, CED dean Dr Hissa Sadiq said: “This event aims to promote a culture of life-long learning through developing the research skills and abilities of teachers and students of education.” She said the conference would give the participants an opportunity to address important questions such as: “how can such forums be made part of teaching practices instead of being a sideline events?”, “what provisions are made for schools to contribute to improving practices in the classroom?”, and “are recommendations coming out of such forums brought into the classroom and implemented?” Education Institute Research unit team leader Dr Asma al-Muhannadi said: “This is an important scientific event that gives teachers the opportunity to highlight their skills in writing research and to share their experiences and challenges. We celebrate and appreciate the commitment of our teachers, as well as that of our partners, in contributing and improving the education system in Qatar.” Education Institute’s Curriculum Standards officer Rima Abu Khadija said: “Asking questions and getting answers is the best approach to learning. The importance of research for education is that it supports teachers’ assessment of teaching and learning in equal measure. This conference gives teachers’ important strategies on how to do action research, which is a key part of professional development.” The keynote speaker was Qatar Foundation Institutional Research director Dr Dirar Khoury, who is also the Research Division’s acting executive director. He outlined the preparatory stages of the development of the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS). “The Qatar National Vision 2030 and Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016 laid the groundwork for the national research strategy. The four pillars - economic, human, social and environmental - support and underpin all pillars of QNV 2030,” he said. Highlights of the conference included presentation of the year’s Best Action Research Paper award to Anbarah al-Abdallah from Al Shaqab Independent Primary School for her study titled: “Improving Students’ Skills in Problem-solving.” The programme also included 22 presentations by teachers and workshop sessions by Hala Abou Saad, Maha Fahmy, Mayada Aboulela, Fatma Saeed al-Hassan, Cham Sheikh and Shereen Hamadeh, who are CED Masters’ students of Education Leadership, and Special Education. They all presented their research findings during the conference.