Please find below a list of the presentations from Strand B: CURRICULUM 1 (Strand Leader: Samia Al Farra):
Fostering 21st Century Teacher Leaders in World Languages and STEM: An Innovative Program for a Changing World
Rebecca K Fox & Wendy Frazier - George Mason University
This presentation will share the results of an international professional development program for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and World Language (WL) teachers, the U.S. Russian Teacher Professional Development Program, in Far East Russia and the U.S. from 2009-2011. Twenty Russian and 18 U.S. teachers participated in the study; of these, all twenty Russian teachers and five U.S. teachers traveled to the partnering country for field experience in schools, and to learn through targeted professional development focusing on several areas, including learner-centered instruction, technology, and reflective practice. Another strong aspect of the program was a cultural component designed to achieve increasing international mindedness and intercultural competence among the teachers and their students. The program sought to foster teacher leaders who understand and can teach diverse learners in a rapidly changing world by purposefully joining STEM and WL teachers to encourage dialogue, content-based learning and pedagogical development across disciplines, and to address the role that language plays in teaching, learning, and professionalism. In this program, the languages particularly incorporated were English and Russian.
Data were collected through electronic surveys, observations, teacher portfolios, and focus group interviews. Data highlight the program’s positive impact that international work had on teachers’ confidence for exploring ways in which STEM and language instruction can be integrated in a problem-based learning context that promotes authentic language learning through content. Teachers conducted action research in their classrooms, and presented their results at an international teacher conference in Vladivostok, Russia, May of 2011. In addition to the research results, digital photo stories and other visual highlights provide rich evidence of learning. Technology played a strong role in the communication and facilitated implementation, and the follow on projects of the program, and yet there were challenges when implementing collaborative projects when teachers return to their home countries.
International curriculum without compromising the national identity. Whose curriculum is it anyway?!
Samia Al Farra - Taaleem School Management Group
Many people believe that international schools create international students who become alien to their culture and hence students lose their own national identity. While I disagree with this belief, I want to argue that international bilingual schools (English and Arabic), on the contrary, can create students who think globally and act locally. They create the thinkers, the inquirers, the communicators, the knowledgeable, the principled, and the courageous. This can really be achieved if the curriculum is well-balanced, relevant and meaningful, the teaching methodology is varied and the assessment is authentic. I will share the features of this curriculum that is bespoke for the Arab region and will allude to the child-centred pedagogy and assessment techniques that can be adopted.