Abu Dhabi is one of the fast-developing emirates of the UAE in the 21st century. It has already succeeded in the tourism industry, developed several successful business relations, and introduced effective managerial approaches. However, the investigations show that being one of the largest in terms of population, Abu Dhabi still faces certain challenges in the educational sectors and inabilities to provide all people, potential industry and business workers with the required portion of education (Buchler-Eden, 2012). The New School Model is one of the latest attempts to foster a child-centered learning environment, and it will be discussed and evaluated in this proposal.
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In the New School Model, several areas have to be investigated and evaluated: school management, teachers and principals, curriculum, and student scoring in tests. Per each section, there is one research question that should be answered in the process of evaluation and investigating the New School Model:
- What are the obstacles in the existing school management system implemented in Abu Dhabi and possible changes that can be offered to succeed with the New School Model?
- Regarding the fact that the New School Model requires the enhancement of new teaching methods, is it justified to neglect the already developed principles and approaches to achieve effective student learning outcomes?
- Can the NSM curriculum be developed regarding the already offered standards or some new learning standards should be established?
- Should teachers promote continuous or rare assessments of students to check their scoring in tests and use the results to understand what students have already learned and what they should learn more?
The past achievements of the UAE Government proved that it was possible to promote free education that could result in educational excellence, but it was also necessary to integrate an effective curriculum and quality that was able to support the values developed by the representatives of the UAE and the citizens of Abu Dhabi in particular (Godwin, 2006). Abu Dhabi Educational Council (ADEC) has been working on the improvements of educational reforms and learning processes during a certain period (Al-Taneiji, 2014).
On the one hand, it is required to focus on the professionalism of teachers and their abilities to understand what students may expect from the offered educational process and meet their expectations. On the other hand, the Abu Dhabi education system should be used to introduce professionals and experts in different spheres of life (Abu Dhabi Education Council, n.d.). It means that students should learn new material and realize how they can use it in regards to the changing world. Abu Dhabi education is challenged a lot nowadays, and ADEC cannot understand if it is necessary to concentrate on the development of public or private schools (McKinnon, Barza, & Moussa-Inaty, 2013).
Therefore, it is required to evaluate the maturity of teachers in all schools and make sure they can use their professionalism to improve student’s Arabic and English literacy, use the learning outcomes of their students, and continue developing regarding the principles and standards (Abu Dhabi Education Council, n.d.). Buchler-Eden (2012) explains that there is a gap between the theory and practice of the New School Model. The evaluation of the model is impossible in case the reasons for this gap are clarified, and the situations when it is not harmful to neglect the gap are considered. The offered program helps to combine the changes in school management, underline the teaching principles, develop a good curriculum, and understand the worth of student scoring in tests that can be organized in terms of the New School Model.
The evaluation of the New School Model may be characterized by certain limitations that cannot be neglected. The first limitation is connected to data access. Not much credible information is available about the worth and effectiveness of the chosen approach. Another limitation is time. Not much time is available to conduct thorough research and understand if the program is properly implemented, and if some changes in teaching practices are required. Finally, the inability to reach as many stakeholders as possible is the limitation for consideration. Students and teachers should be interviewed and studied thoroughly to clarify the effectiveness of the program.
The evaluation of the program should be based on the properly developed methods of data collection and analysis. To answer the already identified research questions, it is necessary to follow several methods and gather information accordingly. The obstacles of the implementation process can be identified with the help of semi-structured interviews with students and teachers. It is suggested to involve the people with different experiences to clarify what people, who have already used the model, who have just heard about it, and who have not known about it before, think about its possible impact on students and future graduates.
A benchmark is a method that can be used to compare the processes of the chosen model and underline the peculiar features that can be used as the benefits and the shortages of the New School Model in Abu Dhabi. Finally, a qualitative method can be used in the evaluation of the program to gather enough information about the offered educational approach and investigate what people have already discovered in this field and what limitations can be expected.
Four main areas have to be evaluated in the project. The New School Model aims at fostering a child-centered learning environment and creating the standards that can be applied in terms of pedagogical methods and resources available to students and teachers. School management is a complex of the activities that should be organized in Abu Dhabi schools. It is not enough to analyze what has been already done and offered to students and teachers. It is important to understand how it is possible to use the teachers’ potential to provide Arab students with enough educational opportunities.
The New School Model should be evaluated in terms of managerial steps and the readiness of different schools to take them properly. The principles according to which teachers should work and students should be educated play an important role in the program. Not to break or neglect the already established rules and principles teachers are welcome to use different resources and evaluation methods (Abu Dhabi Education Council, n.d.). Still, it is necessary to clarify if the variety of sources and opportunities is as effective for students as it may seem to be. The NSM curriculum is based on a set of learning standards (Abu Dhabi Education Council, n.d.). Still, learning outcomes do not always correspond to the expectations. The task is to realize the impact of the curriculum on the learning outcomes. Finally, the assessment of students should be regular. This fact should be proved using comparison to the effects of regular and rare assessments organized by students.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The overall recommendations are based on the necessity to facilitate the implementation of the New School Model and to comprehend what kind of work should be done to investigate the benefits of the offered approach. Abu Dhabi students have to learn the material and use two languages (English and Arabic). It may happen that some students are not ready to be bi-lingual. Therefore, it is suggested to promote flexibility and patience among teachers, who have to work with students and their preferences. It means that school management and student scoring should be properly grounded and explained.
Another recommendation is based on time and touches upon the principles according to which teachers should work. To succeed in implementing a new educational approach, teachers should have time to analyze their past achievements and decide what principles may be neglected, and which ideas cannot be forgotten. Finally, some teachers believe that the integration of a new curriculum is a real challenge, and to avoid confusion, teachers should comprehend the goals and possible outcomes of their work.
In general, the evaluation of the New School Model should be properly organized regarding such issues as time, professionalism, instructions, and design. The program should not be a surprise. It should be a clear combination of the ideas and steps that teachers and students should be ready to take.
Abu Dhabi Education Council. (n.d.). New school model. Web.
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Al-Taneiji, S. (2014). Professional development in the new school model in the United Arab Emirates: Expectations and realities. International Review of Social Sciences and Humanities, 8(1), 99-112. Web.
Buchler-Eden, H. (2012). The Implementation of the Inclusive New School Model in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi: A School’s Tale from a Teacher Perspective. Web.
Godwin, S. M. (2006). Globalization, education and Emiratization: a case study of the United Arab Emirates. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 27(1), 1-14. Web.
McKinnon, M., Barza, L., & Moussa-Inaty, J. (2013). Public versus private education in primary science: The case of Abu Dhabi schools. International Journal of Educational Research, 62, 51-61. Web.