Promoting independence among learners is an essential responsibility which a teacher must meet so that the learner could be provided with an opportunity to acquire the relevant skills and knowledge successfully. Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is the phenomenon that allows encourages academic independence and reinforcing the idea of self-directed learning among students. By definition, the phenomenon involves introducing the students to the concept of research and the idea of using observations as the starting point for conducting a study (Slavin 2006). Therefore, it suggests that a student should be engaged in the learning process and be willing to take active participation in it.
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As a teacher of Arabic working with female students in grades 5-9, I need to focus on fostering independence and motivation in students. Even though the groups of learners with whom I work are mostly homogenous as far as their population is concerned, the needs of the students are very different (Olrich et al. 2009). Thus, each learner requires an individual approach that will help them become active in the process of acquiring academic knowledge and skills. Therefore, I must approach them from the perspectives of different levels of IBL (e.g., an expository instruction, guided discovery, and full discovery) (Long et al., 2011).
I also often have to adopt the principles of constructivism-based inquiry learning (CBIL) when teaching Arabic to female students. To be more specific, I help them not only build knowledge but also understand how it is formed and reflect on the results. In other words, the foundation for meta-cognition is created. IBL provides an opportunity for learners to understand how they acquire knowledge and skills; thus, they become capable of managing their learning process independently.
Inclusive Education in the UAE
Meeting the needs of learners with disabilities and students with special needs is an essential and rather challenging task for the UAE educators. Although the concept of inclusive education seems rather reasonable, it poses a range of impediments to the successful learning and teaching processes. For instance, it may slacken the pace of learning for the rest of the students, thus, making their performance rates drop. Therefore, a comprehensive approach allowing a teacher to meet the needs of all students is necessary (Olrich et al. 2009).
Despite the problems with which the idea of inclusive and special education is fraught, it seems that it has to be encouraged. As a teacher of Arabic in a public school for female students, I believe that it is important to promote diversity and seek new opportunities for communication between learner with disabilities and other students. Therefore, the social aspect of the interaction must be taken into account (Long et al. 2011).
The issues associated with the possible problems with the learners’ performance can be addressed by considering the concept of peer support. Engaging learners into the process of assisting students with disabilities in the acquisition of relevant skills and knowledge, one will be able to maintain the enthusiasm levels high among both types of participants. As a result, both learners with disadvantages and the rest of the students will develop independence in their academic progress. Thus, it seems that the concept of inclusive education must be encouraged in the UAE setting as not only sensible but also an essential element of the contemporary education system. As soon as the appropriate teaching strategy is designed and the needs of all learners are taken into account, a significant academic improvement can be expected (Slavin 2006).
Long, M, Wood, C, Littleton, K, Passenger, T & Sheeny, K 2011 The psychology of education, 2nd edn, Routledge, New York, NY.
Olrich, DC, Harder, RJ, Callahan, RC, Trevisn, MS, & Brown, AH 2009, Teaching strategies: a guide to effective instruction, Cengage Learning, Boston, MA.
Slavin, RE, 2006, Educational psychology: theory and practice, 8th edn, Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ.