The initiative, part of the Dh200 million ‘Teachers for the 21st Century Professional Development Programme’, launched last October, aims to train 10,000 government school teachers in the country. These are part of the Ministry of Education’s wider plans to reform education and upgrade the quality of teaching in public schools.
The supervisors have undergone intensive 60-hour training and will take to classrooms in March to ‘mentor and coach’ teachers to tutor pupils effectively.
They were honoured by Dr Hanif Hassan, Minister of Education, on Tuesday, for completing the first of the three phased training, slated to end this December.
“We are being ‘trained to train’ teachers on the new standards outlined by the ministry. It is a step towards innovation and a turning point as it clearly showcases the priority of the ministry to invest in people rather than just classroom facilities or curriculum,” Dr Badria Ahmed bin Hammad, supervisor of English, told Khaleej Times.
“We will be learning constantly and at the end of the entire project, we will be professional trainers, help public school teachers. We will observe classes, train teachers and basically help them improve their existing teaching methods,” said Aisha Al Jesmi, one of the supervisor candidates aspiring to become a professional trainer.
Stressing the importance of students in education reforms, Dr Hanif Hassan said, “We believe this is a real investment. The foundation of our educational reform is centred on our students. We want all our students to have access to high quality education where our schools are designed for student-centred learning.”
Mostly Emiratis, the supervisors are former teachers from different public schools, who have taught various subjects. They have been trained on four standards that include understanding how students learn, creating classroom environments that support learning for all students, using instructional practices that actively engage students and build healthy interactive classroom learning communities.
Finally, the supervisors will help develop an individual professional development portfolio for each teacher that will become the foundation for ongoing teacher development and for assessment of teacher progress and performance.
Nabeela Mirza, director of Professional Development Department at the ministry, said the pool of supervisors has been short-listed from a number of government schools teachers based on their abilities.
“Being teachers, they are well aware of the needs of teachers and students. In the second phase, they will coach and mentor teachers, after which they will attend workshops in the final phase,” said Mirza.
She added that more supervisors will be added to the ongoing programme in the next few years.