SCSD Staff Visit Kuwait as Part of Educational Partnership
Published on 12/18/17
District News PSLA @ Fowler
PSLA Arabic Teacher Abdulilah Al-Dubai and Assistant Director of Special Education Matt Williams recently traveled to Kuwait, where they observed and provided feedback in seven schools over the course of five days. Sponsored by a Kuwaiti education consulting firm, KOT Consulting and Training, the trip came about after 25 Kuwaiti principals visited the SCSD and surrounding districts last school year.
Dr. Williams indicated that both trips were initiated by the Kuwait government in an effort to reform the school system and educate students in a way that meets the country’s changing economy.
“It is apparent that Kuwaiti educational leaders are working diligently to make progress in implementing new strategies to increase student achievement,” Dr. Williams said. “Their biggest challenge is finding ways to allow students to take ownership of their own learning and to be allowed the opportunity to think critically, and analyze the concepts and their application.”
While in Kuwait, Mr. Al-Dubai and Dr. Williams helped reflect upon a set of professional development workshops that they led for Kuwaiti principals last year and provided an analysis of how the best practices are being implemented. Their goal was to ensure that the Kuwaiti principals returned to their schools with a fresh research-based perspective on how to reform their schools and their Ministry structures. They shared some of the best practices developed in the Syracuse City School District and provided guidance on the next steps in the Kuwaiti educational reform process.
Mr. Al-Dubai is originally from Yemen and said the experience visiting Kuwaiti schools reminded him of his childhood, as schooling in all 22 Arabic countries is very similar in terms of building structure, classroom setting, lesson delivery, social norms and more.
“Visiting Kuwaiti schools to provide workshops, counseling and to work with teachers was an excellent experience,” he explained. “We were able to see how some of the topics we discussed in our workshops – like classroom management, lesson planning and delivery, classroom setting and assessments – are implemented in schools at different levels. When I returned to PSLA, I shared with my students some of pictures I had taken and explained to them about the Kuwaiti education system and how students learn and interact with their teachers there. It was a good chance for my students in our culture class to learn about Kuwait. We talked about Kuwait’s map, currency, flag, historical places and more, as well as how the schools differ in terms of classroom expectations, school uniforms and culture.”
Thank you to Mr. Al-Dubai and Dr. Williams for the role they played in contributing to initial reforms to the Kuwaiti educational system… and for helping to expand our students’ exposure to other cultures!