Stories of how education can build a better world.

  • What makes an effective teacher? UAE educators, parents, policymakers and learners have their say.

    by Sue Mainey

    As the UAE implements a new teacher licencing system and new national teacher standards, it is timely to reflect on what it is that actually makes a teacher great, explains Sue Mainey, Pearson’s Middle East Director of Marketing.

    When it comes to defining what makes a teacher great, who better to ask then teachers themselves? Along with teachers, Pearson has recently asked parents, policymakers, administrators, researchers, and of course, learners, what they believe makes a teacher most effective.  

    This Global Survey of Educator Effectiveness questioned thousands of stakeholders from across the globe, asking participants to list, in their own words, between three and fifteen qualities that they felt were most important in making a teacher “effective”. Participants were asked to indicate what type of teacher they were thinking of in making this list, that is, what level of education the teacher taught at, and what subject the teacher taught. The survey did not define “effective” for participants, other than that it meant “good,” allowing respondents to define what an effective teacher meant for themselves. The majority of survey participants in the UAE came from Dubai (54%), followed by Abu Dhabi (39%), with the rest of the Emirates making up the remaining 7% of participants.

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  • Blended learning: getting the right mix

    by Sue Mainey

    Demand for high levels of English proficiency among school leavers, graduates and workers is on the increase in the Middle East. How can the boom in digital learning innovations help to fill this demand, and how can we ensure that these innovations are having the greatest impact on learner outcomes?

    Blended learning is a buzz word commonly heard throughout schools, universities and other learning institutions throughout the Middle East. It is rapidly becoming a staple of educational offerings in the region, as in many other parts of the world. As it becomes more and more commonplace, it is perhaps timely to consider what blended learning actually means and what elements of blended learning are more successful in actually promoting learner outcomes.

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  • Open Ideas: Research worth sharing in the world of education

    by Bahar Varicioglu

    How do we learn, and what keeps us motivated to do so? What is the body of knowledge and skills that Middle East learners need as they move into the second half of the 21st century? How can smart digital technologies be best deployed to realise the region’s goal of a more personalised education? How can we build education systems that provide high quality learning opportunities to all? These questions are too important for the best ideas to stay only in the lecture theatre, on the bookshelf, or alone in one classroom. Instead they need to be accessible to all, shared and debated openly, adopted and refined, as Bahar Varicioglu, Pearson’s Efficacy Lead in the Middle East, explains.

    In today’s world of rapidly changing economic and social demands, effective, relevant and continuous education has become the key to increase someone’s chance of success in life. Governments, policy makers and educators in the Middle East, and all around the world, constantly search for and debate about how to improve the educational outcomes, as they make decisions and take actions effecting the lives of millions of learners. While making those decisions, all the stakeholders in the education community need to stay informed about the latest evidence and insights on what is happening in the world of teaching and learning – asking what really works in education and what doesn’t?

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  • Building STEM capability in Saudi Arabia

    What role will science, technology, engineering and math education have in realising the Kingdom’s Vision 2030?

    Saudi Arabia, like many of its neighbours in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is making bold moves to rapidly build a competitive, globally orientated economy. Reducing the Kingdom’s traditional reliance on natural resources to create a more knowledge-based economy will require significant changes to the country’s education system, a fact not lost on many of Saudi’s key decision makers.

    The Kingdom allocated close to $400 billion to education between 2005 and 2015, a vast amount when compared to what other countries with similar populations typically spend on education. This money has been assigned to improving virtually every aspect of the education system, from kindergarten to university.

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  • Celebrating English Language Teachers

    A new Pearson ELT Teacher Award and Blended Teacher blog series celebrates the creativity and innovation of teachers everywhere.

    Twenty-two years ago, in 1994, UNESCO proclaimed 5 October to be World Teachers’ Day. Every year since, people have come together to celebrate the life-changing effect that teachers have on all of us. This year, we wanted to mark the occasion with something extra special for English language teachers everywhere. We want to help share the endless enthusiasm, creativity and innovation that English teachers bring to all learners.

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  • Decoding Adaptive with EdSurge

    by Michael B Horn

    When Clay Christensen, Curtiss Johnson, and I published Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change How the World Learns in 2008, we didn’t use the phrase “adaptive learning” once in the book. Just eight years later, it’s nearly impossible to imagine writing a book about educational technology and neglecting the term. With the rapid growth of blended learning and technology more generally in schools, asking if educational software is capable of adapting to students’ needs is commonplace.

    Teachers are increasingly attempting to reach all of their students, each of whom have distinct learning needs, with the right learning experience at the right time. Having effective adaptive software turbocharges those efforts and can provide a realistic pathway to accomplish that goal.

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  • The Need For Arabic Open Educational Resources

    by Nafez Dakkak

    Abdullah is 25 years old. He was in his last year of university when the war broke out. He had to drop out of university and suspend his studies. Through his perseverance, the generosity of others, and an internet connection, Abdullah has been able to rekindle his pursuit of education by taking courses online in Arabic.

    Serene is 21 years old. She dropped out of university when she had her first child last year. Now that her daughter is older, she’s starting to look into continuing her education. Through flexible online options she’s been able to polish her skills and get ready for university while still taking care of her daughter.

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  • Taking female attainment in the Arab world to the next level

    by Sue Mainey

    Great gains have been made in educating girls across the Middle East over recent years, but what can be done to translate this achievement into better equality in the workplace?

    As we celebrate Women's Equality Day, it is timely to reflect on the progress women and girls have made in the Middle East when it comes to education. In the space of just a generation, educational attainment levels for females in many parts of the region have risen dramatically. In fact, in some parts of the Middle East women and girls are powering ahead in the education stakes – surpassing their male counterparts when it comes to school performance and higher education attainment. However, these great gains in female education are not necessarily being translated into greater representation and progression in the workforce. This Women's Equality Day we look at the hard won progress of female education in the Middle East and what is being done to convert academic success into workforce participation.

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  • Bridging the gap: How can vocational education improve the fortunes of workers and employers in the Middle East?

    by Mark Andrews

    As youth unemployment hits an unprecedented high in the Middle East, governments, parents and educators are looking to find practical and sustainable ways to beat this challenge.

    And rightly so. Unemployment (and underemployment), can have a devastating impact on both individuals and the communities of which they are a part. These affects are felt even more acutely when unemployment affects the young, contributing to poverty and social unrest.

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  • The Arab Youth Bulge: Challenge or Opportunity?

    by Sue Mainey

    The Arab world is experiencing a unique demographic transformation. Never before in the history of the region has there been such a large percentage of young people making up the overall population. In other words, the Arab world is experiencing a youth bulge. And this is not just any youth bulge. The Brookings Institute has put the population of people between the ages of 15 and 29 in the region at 30% (that is 100 million people)[1]  - the highest youth population in the history of the region.

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