Sheryl Lee Rogers
Senior Manager – 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.
Considering the future careers of students is something that many teachers spend quite a bit of time thinking about and we recently wrote an article that took a look at some of the, as yet, unimagined skill sets that we might need to begin preparing our students to develop. The educational sector as whole is constantly evolving and one of the key ways in which it has been doing so recently is in how we adapt new, more flexible and more inclusive learning methodologies and vital skills development for careers that don’t even exist yet. From all of our work with schools both here in the UAE and in the wider Middle East region we are constantly looking for insights and experience that could help us shape our training and techniques to better arm teachers to accommodate these factors in their classrooms.
One of the main elements that we have been focusing our attention on in our own training is facilitating more effective learning techniques. As you all know, not everyone learns in the same way so by embracing new processes that allow for greater retention and more malleable learning, trainees can feel more empowered to grow their professional development. It is exactly the same with the students in our classrooms.
As anyone who has stood in front of one of the diverse classrooms of the UAE, no two students are the same. In this region, teachers are even more likely to encounter a room full of children with significantly different backgrounds, experiences, skills and frames of reference. This mix can be extremely beneficial to the students in terms of their societal evolution, but it can make our job as teachers more difficult when it comes to finding the right learning solutions to give every child the best chance for success. Many teachers are able to identify certain traits that reflect the capabilities and preferred learning methods for individual students and tailor their approach accordingly, but this doesn’t always work in every situation, or when it comes to existing guidelines for career preparation.
Luckily for everyone, the system is catching up to the teachers who knew this all along. In one fantastic example of the UAE’s foresight into learning practices, the Federal Youth Authority launched the Emirates Youth Professional School (EYPS) this month. Under the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, this initiative of up skilling goals will act as another conduit to preparing students for the labour market by using vocational training to add value to academic learning. The school will offer a range of professional courses and executive education programmes across a wide variety of fields and all delivered via an ‘Uber-style’ model that crowd sources instructors, teachers, experts and professionals in the UAE. According to Gulf News, the Minister of State for Youth, Shamma Suhail Faris Al Mazroui commented, “The Emirates Youth Professional School provides a unique educational experience that bridges gaps between the conventional academic learning and the rapidly changing labour market.” Kicking off in November 2019, the programmes will be available to all youth in the UAE aged 15 to 35 and will offer free vocational learning and hands-on training in a combination of practical and theoretical learning all year round.
Some of the professional courses offered will include:
While there are so many ways in which we can help better prepare our students for their future careers and the modern workplace, many of which we will be discussing in our upcoming series, vocational training is certainly an extremely productive step. This reinforcement of non-traditional paths as viable and positive career options reduces the stigma of certain paths being better than others and highlights the valuable role many vocational positions play in the growth of society.
A recent report from Linkedin highlighted how much more relevant non-traditional ‘soft’ skills are becoming in the hiring practices of employers. Biospace further broke down the report to highlight the unconventional factors that will be more useful in the workplace and therefore should be developed earlier in our classrooms. It can often be easy for people to focus more on the acquisition of knowledge when it comes to school, rather than the application of it. Thankfully this is a custom that is being reduced as our curriculums evolve to focus on preparing students more effectively for their future instead of assuming a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Academia isn’t just about the pursuit of knowledge, it should certainly also include the capacity to give our students the best possible start in life, no matter where their path might take them. Being able to present our students with more choices and especially those that might be more suited to their talents and desires allows us to enhance their development and empower their education.
Do you think vocational training is useful for students? What other things could we be doing to help prepare them for the future? Let us know what you think or if you have experienced effective methods. Join the conversation via our social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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