Meet the Presenters — GAD 2017

As GEMS Awareness Day approaches, our presenters introduce themselves and tell us what to expect from their sessions…

View full GAD 2017 agenda

‘Activating Happiness’, Linda Bonner, Life Coach and Author

Linda Bonnar is a Master NLP Coach and Practitioner through MindBridge NLP Trainings®, USA. After 12 years of working in secondary education in the Middle East, Linda left full-time teaching to set up her own coaching business. A business owner, author of the coaching bookPress Play, and a member of the Middle Ease Women’s Health Advisory Board, Linda is an engaging and informative speaker with a passion for helping people increase the quality of their life. An avid equestrian and runner, Linda has completed two ultra-marathons, six marathons and numerous half-marathons to date.

In her workshop ‘Activating Happiness‘, she’ll be sharing a series of self-management skills, techniques and habits to help you find a healthy work-life balance, manage stress and rise to the challenges of the upcoming academic year.


‘Count Nutrients Not Calories’, Heidi Jones, Integrative Health Coach

Heidi Jones inspires others to make positive and healthy lifestyle change. She integrates healthy lifestyle habits and goals setting to help support and guide others to transform their wellbeing, leading them to optimal health and happiness in both their personal and professional lives. A certified integrative health coach and educator, Heidi left a 10-year career in teaching to establish her coaching practice in 2015 and have since worked with the likes of Lulu Lemon Athletica, Greenheart Organic Farm, as well as a list of corporates including ENOC Middle East, Ramboll Middle East and Emirates Aviation.

Count Nutrients Not Calories‘ will get your busy teaching life in Dubai off to the healthiest start. As an ex-teacher, she understands how time pressures can get in the way of healthy eating. She’ll be talking about quick, healthy recipes and where to shop for nutrition-rich, high quality ingredients.


‘What’s Your Number?’ Andrew Hallam, Author of Millionaire Teacher

Andrew Hallam taught high school personal finance at Singapore American School from 2003-2014. By diligently saving and investing, he built a million dollar portfolio by his late 30s. He writes a personal finance column for The Globe and Mail (Canada’s national newspaper) and he wrote the international bestselling books, Millionaire Teacher (Wiley 2011, 2017) and The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing (Wiley 2015). Profiled on multiple news networks, including CNBC, Hallam travels extensively, encouraging international teachers to save. He also warns them of the investment sales sharks that are so prominent in the Middle East.

Andrew promises to deliver a fun and friendly session called ‘What’s Your Number?‘, in which you can find out how to maximise your teaching salary, invest wisely for retirement and live a financially solvent life as a teacher.


‘Culture 101’, Nasif Kayed, Founder and CEO of the Arab Culturalist

Nasif Kayed is an entrepreneur with 25 years of experience working and lecturing on Arab, GCC and Emirati culture in the UAE and the US. He holds an Advanced Certification in Cultural Intelligence and utilises his knowledge in the field to break down the barriers and misconceptions often associated with Arabs and the Middle East. His practical experience as an entrepreneur includes managing and developing more than 40 companies including his last venture, The Arab Culturalist, a cultural consultancy company which provides cultural advisor services across all industries including education.

In ‘Culture 101‘, Nasif will be giving an introduction to Emirati, Arab and Muslim culture to help alleviate misconceptions and stereotypes about Emiratis, and living and working in Dubai. This is an essential session for newcomers to the UAE and promises to be an interactive session with lots of opportunities to ask questions.


‘Get Fit, Be Fit, Stay Fit!’ Rick Bhuller, Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Coach

Rick Bhullar is a Personal Trainer and Boot Camp Instructor here in Dubai. Originally from London, Rick completed a 10 year career as a professional dancer performing with the likes of Lady Gaga, Take That, Snoop Dogg, Kelly Rowland among others. After making the move to Dubai 3 years ago, Rick set up his company Rick Bhullar Fitness, specialising in fitness boot camps, personal training and pre and post natal care. Rick Bhullar Fitness is the home of the Dubai Fit Challenge which has already helped hundreds of clients achieve their weight loss goals.

Rick firmly believes that staying fit and active makes you a better teacher. In ‘Get Fit, Be Fit, Stay Fit!‘ he’ll be sharing tips on getting and keeping fit in Dubai, and how to stay active even during the hot summer months so that you can avoid the notorious ‘Dubai stone’.


‘How difficult can this be?’ Sue Padmore, Head of Inclusion at Jumeriah Primary School

With 11 years’ experience in the field, Sue is at the forefront of special needs education in Dubai. She finds her work hugely rewarding and says that watching as children develop their confidence and understanding has been a privilege. She has worked as a Support for Learning Teacher, Head of the Dyslexia Unit and is now the Head of Inclusion at GEMS JPS. She is responsible for facilitating the progress of children by reducing the impact of barriers to learning that they are experiencing.

In her session, ‘How difficult can this be?she will share some of the frustrations, anxieties and tensions that children with learning disabilities face in their daily lives, so that you can reflect upon your own experience and understand alternative approaches.


IRD Zone, GEMS Innovation, Research and Development Team

The Innovation Research and Development Group (IRD) is the special projects and innovation group for GEMS Education. Founded in October 2016 with the aim of keeping GEMS Education on the forefront in Global Education, IRD is at the cutting edge of innovation, research and development in education locally, regionally, and globally. The IRD strategy brings together key initiatives across GEMS Education through a unified approach to recognise, celebrate, and invest in key innovations that have a clear impact on schools and global education.

The IRD Zone offers an experiential session showcasing some of the key areas IRD has been focusing on under Foresight, Teaching and Learning, Systems and Processes. You can participate in game-based learning with Seppo and understand how to integrate robotics, humanoids, immersive VR Studio and AR technology into teaching and learning.


‘Drama in the Arabic Network’, Heba ElHelbawi, Arabic Language Teacher Trainer and Lecturer

Heba is an Arabic Language Teacher Trainer and Lecturer with extensive experience teaching Arabic in UK schools and Universities in London. Heba was among the first students to complete the Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL) and the MA in Arabic Language Teaching at SOAS University of London. She is currently the Courses and Programmes Coordinator at London Centre for Arabic Training “Sharek Centre”.

By the end of her session, ‘Drama in the Arabic Network‘, teachers will have explored the theory of why drama and storytelling are highly useful components in the teaching of Arabic and and will leave with a bank of practical classroom activities for incorporating drama and storytelling activities into their teaching.


‘The Arabic Learner as a Resource’, Wassim Wagdy, Teacher Trainer and Senior Lecturer of Arabic Language

Wassim Wagdy has been teaching Arabic in UK schools and Universities since 2000. He was a convenor and programmes coordinator for Arabic in various UK universities including Westminster University, SOAS University of London, and Exeter University. He is currently the lead teacher for Arabic language full-time programme at Sharek Centre, London, and Teacher Trainer on TAFL and TAST programmes.

In his session, ‘The Arabic Learner as a Resource‘, he will explore the theory of why it is important to draw on learner experience and personality wherever possible and share practical classroom activities for doing this.


‘7 Ways to Make the Arabic Language Memorable’, Yousef Omar, Founder and Director of Sharek Centre London

Yousef has worked for more than 19 years in teaching and lecturing Arabic language in UK, Europe and the MENA region, designing materials and curriculum and training teachers in universities and schools. He spent 12 years at SOAS University of London, where he developed the first programmes in the Arabic Teacher Education in UK before developing the Sharek Centre London where the motto is “We believe language and culture are better shared than taught.”

By the end of his session, ‘7 Ways to Make the Arabic Language Memorable‘, you will have explored 7 ways to make Arabic stay in the long-term memory of the learners. The techniques demonstrated will be applicable to Koranic, classical, and modern texts, as well as new vocabulary and grammatical structures.


‘Virtual Reality Classroom Simulation’, Sheryl Rogers,  Senior Manager of Digital Professional Learning & Development

Sheryl is responsible for the design, development and deployment of digital resources and environments that are at the heart of TELLAL’s methodologies. Sheryl came to the UAE in 2009 and worked as part of a GEMS partnership project with the Abu Dhabi Education Council, training teachers in UAE national schools to support the implementation of a new curriculum.

Sheryl will be heading up our ‘Virtual Reality Classroom Simulation‘, where you can come and meet our avatar students Sean, Kevin, CJ, Maria and Ed and practise some instructional techniques in a virtual reality simulator.


GEMS Network Leaders

GEMS subject networks are designed to reduce professional isolation, foster greater faculty collaboration, and spread the expertise and insights of individual teachers. Please take the opportunity to meet your relevant network leader and join one of our GEMS professional learning communities to partner and collaborate with teachers and leaders in your field.

View full GAD 2017 agenda


GEMS Awareness Day 2017 Platinum Sponsors

Silver Sponsor

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