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More Crucial Moments at U of Q
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blastermill



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:55 pm    Post subject: New program flops Reply with quote

New program is a mess
The new 8 week QU foundation program is reportedly a disaster say students who are very unhappy with the constant assessment and are dropping out. Apparently they are going to scrap this expensive new Foundation program and try another one. Why don’t they just look at other more successful programs like the one at ZU? They raised the pass mark to 70% which is unfair when the rest of the university passes students at 60%. How can you expect students to feel like they belong if they are made to feel different?
I am now teaching two former QU students who left the foundation program at midyear –they said there was very little learning but a lot of assessment. They are bright kids but the need more basic language skills which they were not getting in the new foundation. They told me they were forced to write essays when they couldn’t write sentences never mind paragraphs properly.
The new program does not acknowledge the fact that many intake students need very basic language skills, after all this is what a foundation program is supposed to be about – not some fancy prep program for high flyers. I wonder what kind of placement test system they use.

Students complain that they don’t give them any real learning time but expect them to acquire things by magic. One student told me the old program was much better and was sorry he hadn’t appreciated it. Testing students on things they haven’t mastered is not a very sound way to teach and certainly bad teaching practice.

The new Arabic medium English program is doing much better, I don’t know much about it but it seems to be a more reasonable and measured approach to language learning. How many changes does this program have to go through to get it right? Student learning should be the priority; if students need grass roots grammar and language teaching, then that is what they should get.

Anyway, they are gearing up for a new program come September. What new surprises are in store for the hapless students?

Give them a break - go back to 60% pass and let them learn something instead of rushing them through courses that don't serve their needs! That's the talk on the street and at the conference anyhow!
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What they need to revamp are the schools that produce these students. If they are going to teach majors in English, they need entry students who already have a grounding in English grammar, vocabulary, and writing to at least the paragraph level before arriving at university.

VS
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battleshipb_b



Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:32 pm    Post subject: Re: New program flops Reply with quote

blastermill wrote:
New program is a mess
The new 8 week QU foundation program is reportedly a disaster say students who are very unhappy with the constant assessment and are dropping out. !


Not surprising. The new 8 week modular program at KFUPM is not doing that well either. These Gulf students need more time - they can't be rushed through the learning process. And 70% pass - asinine! This can only result in inflated grades and I bet it sure does! 60% is the norm and far more realistic and rationale - what a hare-brained idea! No wonder the students are not happy! I teach male students but they'd go crazy if they were told they needed 70% to pass. We'd have a riot. Either the whole English program has the same pass level or they change it back. NO wonder the students are Twittering.
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battleshipb_b



Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:24 pm    Post subject: over hiring & lack of job security Reply with quote

QU Foundation is hiring a record number of teachers - over two dozen is what I heard. They are only losing a dozen. What this means is that they are over hiring despite claims they need more teachers. Reportedly some teachers have less than ten students so what’s the deal?

Teachers say there will likely be a major cull next time they renew contracts in December and many people will lose their jobs as they won’t fire the newbies. Remember there is no job security at this place; we have several ex QU foundation people working in the Magic Kingdom at my place and they were very negative about the foundation renewal system. We have more job security in KSA; experience is more respected and valued than in Qatar.

Renewal is at the whim of a few people who are feathering their own nests. The foundation department has a bad track record of firing teachers - so is a another big firing on the cards for 2013?


http://chronicle.com/article/How-Secure-Are-US-Professors/135388/

In any case, QU foundation favors teachers with no or very little experience just out of grad school; more likely to jump when told to jump. You know how it is. The amount of work they have to do is pretty overwhelming and one new little lady I met at a party almost broke down with the demands made. Hope she’s survived.


Last edited by battleshipb_b on Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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battleshipb_b



Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:36 pm    Post subject: Toxic Workplace? Reply with quote

It appears that QU has recruited more than two dozen new teachers while about a dozen or more are leaving for happier workplaces; some resigned after the deadline because they couldn’t take it anymore.


One leaving teacher told me that the workplace atmosphere is more toxic than ever and rife with back-stabbers and bullies, including one famous bully allegedly called who managed to survive the administration purge last year and reemerged as a facilitator or whatever they are called. He told me the new people on top are just as bad and, in some cases, worse than the previous guys. The new HOD who is even more of a non-people person than the last one, he has no people skills, is known to be rude, arrogant and dismissive and does not support his teachers in any way, shape or form according to teachers. He is not hands on; very secretive (allegedly claims to be transparent – if true, then he should publish the evaluation results he got from staff and his own appraisal. This is a big sore point at the moment along with the long working hours and disorganization.
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