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Abu Dhabi youth council puts education officials on the spot

 
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nomad soul



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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 5:27 am    Post subject: Abu Dhabi youth council puts education officials on the spot Reply with quote

Abu Dhabi youth council puts education officials on the spot
By Roberta Pennington, The National | May 17, 2017
Source: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/education/abu-dhabi-youth-council-puts-education-officials-on-the-spot

ABU DHABI // Teachers with a strong grasp of technology and more authority to control unruly classrooms are needed to improve the standard of education. That was the message for decision-makers at a public event aimed at giving an insight into the classroom. The Minister of State for Youth Affairs joined officials from the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) for a meeting with Emirati students about the state of education.

The discussion at Hamdan bin Zayed School was part of the Emirates Youth Council’s Youth Circles initiative, which gives young people a forum to express their opinions and ideas.

Hamda Yousif suggested teachers receive more training to keep up with the demands of modern education. "The school curriculum and the technology are updating so quickly, not even the teacher can handle it," the 17-year-old said after the event. "The teacher teaches in the same way she was taught in the old times. Not every teacher is capable of teaching with modern technology. I wanted to suggest that they create a teachers’ hub where all they do is teach teachers and make them learn how to use technology."

Fifteen-year-old Hamed Al Hanaee suggested more be done to encourage Emirati men to become teachers. "I asked why don’t they put Emirati men to study education to teach us?’ said Hamed, who is in Grade 9 at Hamdan bin Zayed School. "The Emirati youth would have more of chance, because an Emirati teacher knows what the Emirati student needs and he knows what we think. He understands, because he was once at my level and knows how it feels."

Noura Al Mansouri, 22, said more needs to be done to empower teachers in the classroom. "Teachers don’t have the authority like before," said Ms Al Mansouri. "Okay, we know that students have rights and that teachers should not hit them, but teachers also need rights. Now, if you go to schools today you see the students are not listening to the teachers very well, because they know that the teacher doesn’t have the authority to do anything back to them."

Ms Al Mansouri also questioned the value of teaching the subjects of maths and science in English. These subjects used to be taught in Arabic before ADEC introduced the Abu Dhabi School Model in 2009, which reformed the public school curriculum and changed the language of instruction to English in those subjects. "They made these subjects simple so students can understand it in English, but when it was in Arabic, it was more in-depth," said Ms Al Mansouri. "The point of teaching science and maths is to teach you science and maths, not to teach you English."

The forum allowed students to raise concerns or express praise about the country’s schools and universities, said Khaled Al Romaithi, member of the Emirates Youth Council, who moderated the discussion. "They asked questions directly to the decision makers, which means they receive their answers directly," said Mr Al Romaithi. "If we have any challenges, I was able to raise that challenge directly to the decision-maker, so now it’s clear. There is no filtration. There is no missing information along the way."

Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, ADEC director general, fielded most of the dozen or so questions asked over an hour by the audience of about 50 young people. "This Youth Circle is yet another opportunity given to students to express their opinion on different education-related matters through discussions and promote awareness to ensure academic quality and excellence are maintained across ADEC schools," said Dr Al Nuaimi.

(End of article)
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dragonpiwo



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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 6:52 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

I wholeheartedly agree that maths , science and vocational training should be done in Arabic.

English should be there to support communication with the international community, companies and work force.
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veiledsentiments



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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is, of course, a very good reason why they switched to teaching science and math in English. It is because since their universities teach everything in English, the students need to learn it and learn it WELL while they are young children. It has cost the country a huge fortune to teach these student English for 1 or 2 years, when they are over 18, before their English is even close to a standard of studying in it. That was purely the approach to get rid of the university foundations programs. And, it seems to be succeeding. (vocational education is a whole other issue)

But for the most part these kids showed the normal lack of understanding of the realities. They still don't understand why they need the English, of course. There is nothing that is going to convince Emirati men to be teachers... a low wasta, low pay, low prestige job.

It is actually nice to see that there are students who understand the need for discipline in the classroom and that the teachers need more power to punish... not hit, but punish... and not be blamed for bad behavior in the classroom.

VS
(the real debate that needs to be settled is whether it makes any sense to be teaching in English at the tertiary level... a detail I have questioned since the 80's - and that we have debated here many times)
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dragonpiwo



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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 6:27 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

If you follow the CEFR for ELT and go through IELTS and get the required band score, you should be good to go on any uni course as long as there is EL support.

That said, I guess we'll see the benefits of this earlier immersion in a few years time. There are certainly some smart younsters around here.

My background's been vocational training for some time and I've always thought the content should be taught in Arabic in conjunction with closely allied ESP English courses ie we do them in operations, mechanical, instrumentation and electrical for our oil and gas trainees.

Behavioural has become a trendy thing here. That will be a harder nut to crack.
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veiledsentiments



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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 1:46 am    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

dragonpiwo wrote:
If you follow the CEFR for ELT and go through IELTS and get the required band score, you should be good to go on any uni course as long as there is EL support.

It is obvious that you have never taught university in the Gulf and have any real knowledge of what has been going on for the last 25 years in tertiary education. But much too big and complex a topic to go into here and now. A massive variation in level entering the universities each year (from nearly zero level beginner to a very few low advanced) with completely unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved in a year or two.

It has been and is a whole different ball game from what you have been doing. Cool Consider yourself lucky I think.

VS
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dragonpiwo



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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 2:49 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

Nope. Never claimed to have taught uni in the Gulf but we get their graduates and dropouts, so I know there's a huge difference in level. I've also got pals who teach at uni and HCT here and loads at ADEC.

There are all sorts of issues with this immersion set up. Everthing ends up getting dumbed down and the bar just gets lowered.

Teach em in Arabic I say.
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Gulezar



Joined: 19 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 4:50 am    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

dragonpiwo wrote:
Teach em in Arabic I say.


And from where do you get the textbooks? I've heard that in the past in Puerto Rico for some subjects that textbooks where English and lectures were in Spanish. I'm not sure if that is still true. Even in such a case (text in English/lectures in Arabic) the students would have to be above average readers of English and the professors would have to be fluent is both languages.

When it comes to research, the students will be very limited if they only reference Arabic material. I wonder how many Biomedical articles have been written in Arabic.

Students tend to "youtube" a topic which they are struggling with. However, they still need to write and publish their research in English.
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veiledsentiments



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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've often thought that if the Gulf (and other Arabic speaking countries) invested the money into translation and production of Arabic textbooks, they would be further ahead in their systems. Actually for a fraction of what they have spent on expat teachers and imported textbooks...

But working together and agreeing on who, what, where, and why is also extremely problematic.

VS
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dragonpiwo



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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2017 5:30 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

My thoughts exactly.

In vocational training we get all sorts who you know could do a great job but who trip up because of the company's English requirment or because the training is done by western teachers. Firefighting is a great example of this. English should not be the factor that determines someone's potential to become a firefighter, technician or operator.

Of course, opcos could help themselves by having a minimum English entry requirement but often these programmes are political and come from the top.

Re the unis, surely translating stuff is way cheaper than employing hordes of expat teachers. In the current set up, I don't see too many Middle Eastern unis doing well in rankings.
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