Using a newspaper, an adhesive tape and a disposable cup, teachers on Sunday were hard at work to build a playhouse as part of their group technology challenge.
"We are building a home using our critical thinking and our 21st century skills. Later, we will discuss (what we've learned) between us and see how, maybe, we can use this learning in our Math class,” said Souha Jaouahdou, indicating her two peers from another schools.
She is one of the 11,000 teachers from 256 public schools who participated this week at the professional development training by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).
The four-day training programme, being held for the first time, aimed to provide teachers with new strategies, tools, hands-on-experiences, opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, and the opportunity to learn more about a particular topic of interest.
Among the training topics they can choose from include differentiation, making assessment for learning work, supporting high achievement for all students (including students with special needs and gifted students), planning for high-quality instruction and literacy strategies across the curriculum, strategies for English language learners, 21st century learning, and 21st century learning for kindergarten students.
Noting the importance of the programme for teachers, Asteh Qiblawi, one of the facilitators and a teacher at Al Qaddisiya School, said that differentiation is a good strategy in meeting all her students' needs.
"We used to know about the different learning styles but we didn't have the tools to assess our students and to know what is the learning styles of the students, so right at the beginning of the year now we have questionnaires, we ask our students to do some activities and fill in the questionnaires in order to know what type of students we have in our class… so that will help us to modify our instruction to reach at least most of our students in the class,” she explained.
The training is provided by six international professional development provider companies (Centre for British Teachers, Cognition Education, GEMS Education, Nord Anglia Education, and SSAT) and one international university (University of Florida), however, school leaders and facilitators will lead the activity sessions within the workshop.
This training is an extension of a planned series of training courses where teachers receive one-and-a-half hours a week in their school, according to their training plan. At the end of the school year, each teacher will have to complete more than 30 hours of training.
In her visit at Al Mawaheb School, one of the 48 training/school centres, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, Director-General of the Adec, commended the teachers for their choice of training programme.
"We are not here to enforce anything, we want them to choose what they think is (their) need. The ownership is there, they are the initiators and we are fulfilling their demand… and teachers select what match with their needs and student needs,” she said.
"The best thing about this training is that teachers are able to exchange different ideas and practices with different schools,” she added.
Source: Khaleej Times