Diversity Rules: KHDA announces plans to help Dubai schools become fully inclusive by 2020

Here at TELLAL we talk a lot about the importance of diversity in the classroom and the innate benefits offered by the inclusive classrooms of the UAE.   Time and time again, studies have shown just how valuable diversity amongst students can be, in both their educational and personal upbringings.

Children who grow up in more inclusive and broad environments have access to different experiences and cultures that expand their own horizons in a multitude of ways.  The Dubai Government recognises the potential of this trend and has set the goal of becoming a fully inclusive city by 2020, particularly within the education system.

To help us achieve this object Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) launched a guide in January of this year that aimed to enhance inclusive education in our schools.  According it is mission statement; all private schools in Dubai will now have to commit to the formation of an inclusion support team that will aid the Senior Leadership in putting inclusive education into practice. As well as promoting continued cultural diversity, these groups will also champion the inclusion of and provisions for students of determination so that they can access institutions that otherwise might not have been possible.   The adoption of more accessible practices for students of determination will not only benefit their educational futures, but add immense value to the students they will be in school with; helping them to understand the challenges others face and that fortitude, kindness and patience are at the heart of working together.   Schools are also being asked to ignore traditional admittance practises when it comes to students of determination and shun medical assessments for a more open approach that will create life-defining experiences for those students and their families.

In reference to the new guide, Fatma Belrehif, the CEO of Dubai School Inspection Bureau at KHDA said, “We are aware of the challenges and opportunities in our journey towards building a fully-inclusive education system. The launch of this new guide for schools is a reflection of our commitment to scale-up efforts and enable schools to create a welcoming environment for everyone. This will only be possible when the entire school community values diversity and believes in creating engaging, relevant and meaningful experiences for students of determination.”

The guide offers advice on new procedures for assessment, intervention, support and resourcing and calls on school principals to work with school inclusion teams to:

  • effectively communicate a vision of inclusion, ensuring the engagement of the entire school community
  • develop and implement a comprehensive and strategic inclusive education improvement plan
  • ensure staff are able to use inclusive education practices
  • monitor and review progress of strategic plans

It is an amazing step forward in the inclusion of students of determination, especially those who may have been overlooked previously.  These amazingly brave children have a huge amount to teach us and having them as part of an active, engaged and tolerant classroom can only benefit our students, our teachers and our schools.

Do you currently have students of determination in your school?  How would you rate their experience?  Are they able to join in enough activities, are they supported?  In what ways have they contributed to the school, possibly in surprising ways?  We would love to hear your thoughts on the initiative and what moves you think could be made to help at your school.

If you would like to find out more about the guide and the new rules being proposed, you can visit: https://www.khda.gov.ae/en/news/article?newsId=105292


Don’t miss our next Teach Best Information Session – February 26th 10am

Do you dream of shaping young minds?  Would you like to play a vital role in expanding the horizons of the next generation?  Are you passionate about developing children’s imagination and potential? Then it sounds like teaching is the right career for you.

At TELLAL we understand all too well the value of education and the powerful impact teachers can have.  They have a unique opportunity to foster talent, inspire creativity and promote tolerance, inclusion and understanding.  That is why we take our role as teacher trainers so seriously. Every one of our courses have been designed to the highest standards, both regionally and internationally, so that you can get the most out of it, whether you are just starting your career in education or looking to expand your skills.

If you are thinking about exploring a career in education or becoming a teacher, we want to make sure you have all the right information and advice in order to make the best decisions about how to move forward.  That is why we offer regular Information Sessions so you can ask the experts about TELLAL courses and which one might be right for you.

On Tuesday 26th February, we are hosting a pre-service teacher training information session about the Teach Best program at 10am in the TELLAL Institute in Dubai.   If you have a bachelor’s degree and would like to find out more about how to become a teacher, this is the perfect session for you. During the event, participants will get an overview of our programs, tips on how to apply, what requirements will be needed and details on the various training course routes. 

Our exclusive blended learning programmes offer students expert theory, online learning and on-site practice so that you can maximise your understanding and get real-world experience of how methodologies impact in the classroom. All of our courses are approved by KHDA and recognised by all of the schools in the UAE.  There are both English and Arabic options, although all participants will need an English proficiency test if it isn’t their first language.  The TELLAL courses also provide an extensive mentorship with educational leaders who are experts in their field.  Previous students have been able to gain insightful assistance and support from these inspiring individuals who are dedicated to helping you succeed in reaching your full potential.   TELLAL’s collaborative approach is all about working together to find the best solutions and best practices in order to give all of the children we teach the best possible opportunities to learn. 

Want to register? Sign up here or if you have further questions please email teachertraining@gemseducation.com or call 04 403 5145.

TELLAL Success Stories: Students in Work

As registrations are now open for the next round of TELLAL courses we wanted to share some of our latest news from previous students.

All of our exclusive courses are designed to maximise your opportunity for sustainable and engaged learning as well as aiming to facilitate your future employment.  If you are considering undertaking a TELLAL course, it might help to know how it has benefitted past students and aided them in finding their dream jobs in education. 

This week we talked to Pasant Tarek Elhadary, who is now an FS2 class teacher after taking our ATP early years route course and Lesley Crowder who is also an FS 2 Teacher after she took our iPGCE Early Years course so they could tell us how their TELLAL courses changed their lives.

Thanks so much for chatting to us!  Can you tell us first why you decided to do a TELLAL course?

Pasant: The combination of studying theory with practical applications is a fantastic way to learn, so a TELLAL course really gives you the best of both worlds. 

Lesley: TELLAL was actually recommended to me.  I had been working as a TA and really wanted to get certified as a teacher and everyone said TELLAL was the best.  All the TELLAL trainees I met had such positive feedback and I was given lots of support with understanding more about the course and the qualification.

What was your experience of the TELLAL course like?

Pasant (ATP): Overall, the experience was challenging but really inspiring.  The more I went to the theory session, the more I was eager to apply it in the classroom. The demands of the course just highlighted how thorough it was and the quality of the material we were being taught. We also learnt from really passionate principals and mentors who made things exciting and made you want to learn more.

Lesley (iPGCE): It was definitely hard, but now that I have my own class, the intense practical experience we had has really paid off. The TELLAL sessions were mostly on a Thursday afternoon, which can be difficult after a long week, but I actually looked forward to them.  It was amazing knowing that I would be engaging in practical activities and discussions that would influence my work in the following week. 

So how did you find your current role and how did the TELLAL course help?

Pasant: Having been a student teacher in Barsha, I was actively on the lookout for new roles and TELLAL was so helpful in steering us towards positions, particularly in newly opened schools who wanted newly qualified teachers. 

Lesley: I actually heard about the opening for my current role through my TELLAL placement and they gave me great tips on applying.  Overall the intense, hands on practical experience I received on a daily basis was vital to my professional development.  TELLAL helped me fully understand the Early Years classroom and helped me define and mould my teaching philosophy and practice.

What do you love most about teaching?

Pasant: I love everything about teaching little ones.  I love that I have the power to make a change in the world whether it is teaching the kids about the importance of kindness to people and animals or inspiring the kids to love learning. I am always the happiest when a parent emails me a picture of their child’s learning at home that they took from school!

Lesley: Those A-HA moments, especially when something finally clicks for the child.  Mind you, the not so A-HA moments are pretty fun in Early Years as well!

You can start your career in education with a course at TELLAL Institute by registering today! 

How to find the right work/life balance as a teacher

Here at TELLAL, we know all too well how hard it can be to find a good work/life balance.  As passionate educators, you can find yourself enveloped in commitments and extra curricula activities, as well as the desire to reach out to students who you might feel need a helping hand.

Unfortunately this is a combination that can mean you could miss out on key essentials in your own lives.  To help you navigate the nuances of giving your best to your students and your outside-school life, we enlisted the advice of some great teachers who have some useful advice.  This week, we sat down with Matthew Alan Thomas, the Teaching and Learning Coordinator at GEMS Wellington Academy in Silicon Oasis to find out how his experience has helped him get the balance right.

Hi Matthew!  Thank you so much for talking to us, can you tell us a little bit about your career?

I actually started as a community sports coach/ rugby club mascot. After doing my PGCE in Bangor, Wales, I have taught in two independent schools one in York and one in London before deciding to embark on my latest challenge in the UAE.

What got you into education?

My two uncles, Jeff and Ian.  Ian passed away from Multiple Sclerosis and Jeff Alzheimer’s disease. It happened in my late teens/early twenties. I decided from then on to do something with my life that was purposeful, fun and inspired positive change. PE teaching is my perfect vocation!

What do you like most about being a teacher?

Every day being different; whether it’s the lessons that we teach or focus for the year.   It could be anything from improving the quality of physical education for the children of determination, healthy eating or utilizing the Dubai Sports Council events to plan trips.

What do you find the most challenging?

Simultaneously meeting the needs of all stakeholders in the school.  Whether that is teaching children with a range of abilities, communicating with parents and staff or outside providers. However, with the correct procedures these tasks become a lot simpler. When you get it all right, it can be very rewarding!

What is the biggest misconception about teaching?

Probably that it has to take place inside the classroom; these days we know so much more about how children can, and should, learn.  As long as we create safe and stimulating environment, we can find more productive solutions to assisting learning, including the outdoors.   That way we can create excellent learning experiences for our children that will serve them well into the future.

What are the unique attributes of teaching in the UAE?

Flexibility is key; you never know what might be coming around the corner and with the innovations in education and stakeholder needs, you need to be ready for anything. You also need to foster a good understanding for the needs of all students, their religious beliefs, cultural identity and ability levels.  

How do you achieve a good work/life balance?

I actually read this book,  Do Breathe: Calm your Mind. Find Focus. Get Stuff Done and one of the key tips was to condense your day into just one post-it-note.   It helps me prioritise my day, as well as fitting neatly in my pocket, and keeps my task list manageable instead of overwhelming.  At home to save time, I subscribe to a meal order delivery service “Hello Chef” that brings in the raw meats, vegetables and spices, all in the correct portions to keep my energy levels up throughout the day.  This means I can relax while cooking and eat healthy without having to worry about how much time it will take after a long day.  I also use the app Headspace to prepare for a busy day at work. This helps me reset my mind and generally helps me to become more creative, less reactive, gives me more energy in my day-to-day life.   If I am really in need of a zen-like pick me up, I visit Point Zero and use one of their float tanks for an hour.

What do you like to do most with your off time?

I like to volunteer my time, mainly around sports in the UAE. This term I am coaching with Middle East Touch Rugby in their preparations for the Junior Touch Championships in Paris. I play touch rugby, mixed netball, and recently a sport called Spikeball.  Playing sport/ putting your body under stress goes a long way to refocusing the mind and relieving anxiety – even just a walk can get your mind on a better track.

What tips would you give new teachers for setting a balance from the start?

  1. Be useful and dependable in certain situations.
  2. To think not just of your subject but also of the whole school implications of your actions.
  3. Remember this phrase “In the joy of others lies your own”. They say altruism keeps you happy and healthy.

What advice would you give teachers who might find themselves struggling with their workload or disconnecting?

Ask for help! “The brain is for having ideas not for keeping them”. Teachers are naturally quite empathic people. They can normally understand any situation you are in and most often can guide you to a greater path.

Watch our recent graduates receive their qualifications from Reverend Canon Professor Kenneth Newport – Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic) and Dean of Education at Liverpool…