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ISSUE 10 | SEPTEMBER 2019

C E L E B R AT I N G YO U • R E WA R D I N G YO U • CO N N E C T I N G YO U

Back To School ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

Getting to Know: Meet the Principal – Albie Huyser

Teacher Talk: One year In – My GEMS Journey - Abigail McPherson

GEMS Rewards: Loyalty Champion of the Year

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ARABIAN The place for good food from Maison Mathis is a unique F&B concept which pays tribute to the rich heritage of Belgian food culture. Inspired by the best of many European cuisines, it’s a place where we treasure and share our culinary legacy. Just like our grandmothers did, and their grandmothers before them, we continue to honour Belgian love of good food. Why? Because it has ‘joie de vivre’ to offer: the pleasure of enjoying life, the joy of sharing good times and beautiful things. Our charming staff will be glad to serve it all with a ‘Bon appétit’ on top.


CONTENTS

IN THIS ISSUE IN CASE YOU MISSED IT… 8 IB Results/CVC 9 Siemans/Revive 10 HPL/BSO Results

GEMS People Team

SOCIAL@GEMS 11 Follow GEMS Education

GEMS EDUCATION Adelle Calumpang Benny Thomas Hfu Reisenhofer Joanna Andrews Niovi Anagnostopoulou Rose Youssef Shauna McHenry

TELLAL 14 Ongoing Education MEET THE… 18 Albie Huyser, Principal – GEMS Cambridge International Private School Sharjah (GCS) 20 Rajakumar Rajagopalan Achari, Art Teacher, GEMS United Indian School

ITP MEDIA GROUP CEO Ali Akawi MANAGING DIRECTOR Alex Reeve CFO Toby Jay Spencer-Davies EDITOR Robert Corder CONTACT COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, ITP CUSTOMER Jamie O'Loane T: 04 444 3193 E: jamie.oloane@itp.com www.gemspeoplemag.com

14 We see genius in every child

PUBLISHED BY ITP MEDIA GROUP REGISTERED AT DUBAI MEDIA CITY, DUBAI, U.A.E.

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All material is the copyright of GEMS Group Holding Limited. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part without written permission from GEMS Group Holding Limited. While every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, the publishers and the owner regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omission contained in this publication and cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein, or any consequence arising from it. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the reader’s particular circumstances. In the case of company or product reviews or comments, these have been based upon the true and honest opinion of the Editor at the time of going to press.

GEMSPeopleMag.com

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CONTENTS

TEACHER TALK 22 GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar: One Year On 26 My First Year At GEMS 27 Survival Of The Fittest 28 Ruck And Roll 29 Calling The Shots 30 UAE’s First United Nations-Accredited Climate Change Teacher Appointed 31 There From The Beginning 32 I Am Zara Amaya

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SPOTLIGHT ON… 34 School Transport Services 35 Telling Our Schools' Stories Through Digital Development GEMS REWARDS 38 Gems Scoop Prize At London Ceremony BEST PRACTICE 40 Better Safe Than Sorry 42 Don’t Suffer In Silence

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WELLBEING 43 Learning From The Best 44 LIV Fit 45 Teaching Tolerance Should Not Be A Fad! 46 Get Creative 47 School Of Rock DOWNTIME 50 Get Reading SECRET LIVES 52 A Peek Into The Lives Of Our Colleagues Outside Of Work

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VARKEY 56 Changing Lives Through Education GEMS PROMISE 57 GEMSU + Creating Talent Profiles

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MESSAGE FROM THE FOUNDER

Dear colleagues, I’d like to start by extending a warm welcome to each of the 1,800 teachers who are just beginning their GEMS Education journey. This is truly an exciting time to join GEMS and on behalf of the entire network, I would like to welcome you to the family. You are now part of a group of passionate, like-minded teachers and educationalists, all brought together by the shared goal of putting a quality education within the reach of every child. This has been, and will continue to be, a transformational year for us. We recently signed with new partners; a consortium led by CVC Capital Partners acquired a significant minority stake in the company, which is a major milestone for GEMS Education, and we are delighted that it coincides with our 60th anniversary year. 2018/19 saw us launch some prominent new initiatives and achieve great success amongst our existing programmes. GEMS Rewards won Loyalty Champion of the Year – Middle East and Africa at the Loyalty Magazine Awards, a remarkable achievement and validation of the programme’s vision and purpose of making quality education more accessible. GEMS Jewels of Kindness was launched and will continue this year. Promoting the core human values of kindness, respect, empathy, helpfulness, and compassion, the initiative is designed to instill values in students and is a celebration of all the good deeds and acts of kindness being carried out by GEMS students. Please ensure you are familiar with the initiative and encourage participation amongst your students. Finally, teacher-parent communication is something I’d like everyone to focus on this academic year. Increased and regular opportunities for parents to interact with teachers allow both parties to gain deeper insights into students’ development and progress. This enhances learning and education outcomes and leads to better informed parents, resulting in happier students and GEMS families and, in turn, positive GEMS advocates and ambassadors. Best wishes, Sunny Varkey

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR STUDENTS Students outperform international averages and achieve the best ever IB results for GEMS schools. EMS Education students studying International Baccalaureate (IB) continue to surpass international benchmarks as revealed by the examination results released in July 2019. This year’s cohort achieved the best ever results for GEMS Education, in terms of both pass rate and average points, and their average pass rate of 94 per cent compares to an international pass rate of 78 per cent in 2018. A total of seven GEMS Education schools participated in IB exams, including GEMS World Academy – Dubai, GEMS International School – Al Khail, Dubai American Academy, GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, GEMS Wellington International School, GEMS Modern Academy, and GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi. The number of students sitting IB Diploma increased to 501, and 49

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of these achieved an average score of 40 or more out of a maximum of 45, with 13 students achieving an average of 43 or more. Adiba Ejaz of GEMS Modern Academy was one of two students who achieved a score of 45, the highest possible, and so

putting themselves in the top performing 1 per cent across the world. ”We are incredibly proud of this year’s cohort of GEMS IB Diploma students and their results. I’d also like to congratulate our GEMS International School – Al Khail students, who performed really well in what was the school’s first year of sitting the IB examinations,“ said David Fitzgerald, Vice President Education (US & IB Curriculum Schools), GEMS Education. ”Many of our students throughout GEMS are set to attend their first-choice university next year after receiving conditional offers from premium universities such as University College London, University of Cambridge, Oxford and Princeton Universities. We wish them all the best in the next step of their educational journey.“

WELCOME TO OUR NEW PARTNERS Funds advised by CVC Capital Partners to lead a consortium to acquire a significant minority stake in GEMS Education. unds advised by CVC Capital Partners (”CVC Funds“) have led a consortium (the ”CVC Consortium“) which has agreed to acquire a significant minority stake in GEMS Education, the world’s largest provider of private K-121 education by revenue. Upon completion of the transaction, the CVC Consortium will acquire approximately a 30 per cent stake in the company from the existing shareholders. The transaction sees the successful exit by a consortium led by Fajr Capital Limited including Tactical Opportunities funds managed by Blackstone (”Blackstone“) and Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company B.S.C. (”Mumtalakat“), the

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sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Bahrain, which acquired a significant minority stake in GEMS Education in 2014. Existing minority investor Khazanah Nasional Berhad, a sovereign wealth fund of Malaysia, which invested in January 2018, will retain its 3 per cent stake in GEMS Education. ”Investment by the CVC Funds marks the third time we have successfully collaborated with global institutional investors. As we approach our 60th anniversary, we look forward to developing the company further. This is aligned with our vision of expanding the business into new markets and continuing our long history of growth,“ said Dino Varkey, CEO, GEMS Education.

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SIEMENS AND GEMS PARTNER FOR THE FUTURE A new initiative seeks to increase students’ employability, enhance sustainability aspects within GEMS Education, and promote digitalisation. EMS Education and Siemens have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase collaboration and integration between the education sector and industry in Dubai. The new partnership builds on ”Rahhal“, an initiative of Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) that encourages schools to think ”outside the box“ and develop innovative learning opportunities. Through the partnership, GEMS students will gain access to industry-level courses and qualifications, support from industry experts, and internships. They will also have the opportunity to be part of an energy efficiency programme that will be adapted into a case study specific to their school, while also partnering with universities for accreditation. ”This is a first-step towards recognising industryacademia partnerships at the school-level and a reflection of Rahhal’s potential to truly disrupt education,“ said Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General at KHDA.

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”We hope the move will encourage students and teachers to co-create cities of the future by working with real-world scientists and innovators. This partnership can potentially encourage many more schools to come forward and partner with Rahhal in an effort to extend learning opportunities outside the classroom.“ The agreement was announced on 23 June at GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa (FPS), which is newly appointed Centre of Excellence for Digital Industries. ”Schools of the future will evolve into hubs of learning, connecting young people with a personalised menu of opportunities linked to industry. Not all of these opportunities will be available at school, some will be in the workplace or in different learning institutions, while others will be accessed via cutting-edge technology from anywhere in the world. The future of education is being developed right now, and this calls for a pioneer to pull all the opportunities together. GEMS FirstPoint School is that pioneer,“ said Matthew Tompkins, Principal of GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa.

REVIVE GIVES NEW LIFE TO LAPTOPS Support staff at GEMS Modern Academy in Dubai receive the latest batch of refurbished electronics under the initiative. he Revive initiative at GEMS Modern Academy in Dubai has given new life to 25 laptops and eight watches in its latest round of refurbishments, all of which were handed over to the school’s support staff by the students during a ceremony at the school. The devices were repaired by the student-led Academic and IT Council under supervision of Basheer Ahmad, the school’s assistant engineer for hardware. The initiative first began in 2017 in partnership with Praxis Advertising in order to reduce electronic waste,

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Dino Varkey, CEO GEMS Education and Dietmar Siersdorfer, CEO Siemens

lengthen the lifespan of devices and ensure they benefit new owners who might not have the means to own or upgrade such items. In the last two years, 95 disused laptops and 225 mobile phones have been refurbished through this programme.

One of the recipients is Nizam Mudwen, head of office boys at the school, who received a refurbished laptop, which he said will help his daughter complete her studies in computer science in India. ”I feel privileged and honoured to receive the laptop from the Academic and IT Council. It’s been useful for my daughter; she is using it for her further studies. I hope this initiative continues to benefit many people,“ he said. Keane Moraes, leader of the Academic and IT Council, said all data on the refurbished devices is ”wiped“ and the software completely reinstalled before they are packaged and handed over to support staff. He said it was a privilege for the council members to work for Revive, which benefits the support staff and their families, as well as teaching students new skills. www.gemspeoplemag.com

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

WORLD CLASS STATUS AWARDED TO FOUR GEMS SCHOOLS They join an elite list of schools with High Performance Learning World Class Accolade our GEMS Education schools have become the first in the UAE to have been accredited as High Performance Learning (HPL) World Class Schools. Jumeirah College, Royal Dubai School, Jumeirah Primary School, and GEMS Wellington International School are now among just 13 schools worldwide to achieve this prestigious status, which recognises exceptional and consistent performance in categories such as teaching standards, curriculum quality, school leadership, and engagement with the wider school community. The schools were all able to meet HPL’s demanding standards during the rigorous two-year World Class School Award scheme, which is designed to recognise institutions at the forefront of educational thinking. The four GEMS schools all managed to reflect HPL’s researchbased, pedagogy-led philosophy in which every student is regarded as a potential high performer and not limited by ‘ability’. Professor Deborah Eyre, Founder and CEO, High

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Professor Deborah Eyre with principals from RDS, JPS, WIS and JC

Performance Learning said: “These GEMS schools join an elite group of schools across the world whose quality of education is truly exceptional. We look forward to working with them going forward as part of The World Class Schools Fellowship and with other GEMS schools adopting the HPL approach.” ”We are delighted that our schools have been successful in achieving World Class School status,“ said Simon O'Connor, Principal Jumeirah College.”This highlights that the schools are operating on par with some of the very best in the world. It is a huge achievement for one school to be successful, but for four GEMS schools to achieve this recognition is indeed phenomenal. The founding principle of HPL is that all students can achieve at the very highest level and this echoes our view of ensuring all our students receive outstanding education.“ These four schools will now support other GEMS Education schools as they embark on the HPL programme.

BEST OF BRITISH GEMS Founders School — Al Barsha receives its UK Department of Education number. EMS Founders School — Al Barsha has successfully completed its British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspection and, as a result, received it’s British Department for Education (DFE) number. For Principal/CEO Matthew Burfield, the process was essential for three reasons: the ability to deliver the key qualifications for its staff; attract better quality candidates for teaching positions; and demonstrate the school is of a certain, internationally recognised standard.

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On the first, Matthew spelled out just how vital the DFE number is. ”We needed to ensure the school could offer Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) induction, Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) assessment-only routes, and be better prepared to deliver the International Post Graduate Certificate of Education (IPGCE) through partner institutes,“ said Matthew. ”You can’t do any of that as an overseas school unless you have your DFE number. We have about 29 young teachers who need one of those qualifications, and we have another 16 who are qualified

with the IPGCE. To be able to teach in the UK, they need the QTS and the NQT.“ The inspection rated the school as ‘outstanding’ in five areas: leadership and management; welfare, health, and safety; behaviour of children; the provision for spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development; and the delivery of curriculum able to meet the range of pupil needs. ”I think it’s really lovely to have that standard, and to be outstanding already in our very short journey is really quite something. That brings us in line with school like GEMS WSO, which has a similar BSO report to us. I’m really pleased with that,“ said Matthew.

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ARE YOU FOLLOWING GEMS EDUCATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA? https://www.facebook.com/GEMSeducation https://www.instagram.com/gems_education/ https://www.linkedin.com/school/gems-education/ https://www.youtube.com/user/gemseducation https://twitter.com/GEMS_ME

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Ongoing Education TELLAL addresses just how important continuous professional learning and development is.

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or many of us, teaching is far more than a career, it is a vocation. It is something that we have immense passion for, and that enthusiasm is consistently displayed in our dedication to our students and the hours and hours of extra time we give to helping them grow. The impact teachers can have on their students often remains with them long into adulthood. Teachers have a truly unique opportunity to shape the characters and lives of students, and encourage their pursuit of greatness. Today, the educational landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, and new methodologies and innovative

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technologies are emerging to help us enhance the learning potential within our classrooms, as well as the ways in which our institutions facilitate student development. These advances have also increased the demand for professional learning and development opportunities, so any teacher wishing to do more can learn how best to engage their students and how to grow their career in order to lead and inspire others. ACCESSIBLE ADVANCEMENT Luckily for teachers within GEMS, they can access some truly amazing professional learning and development

opportunities incredibly easily through the TELLAL Institute. TELLAL was established in 2016 here in the UAE by teachers for teachers. If you haven’t come across TELLAL yet, the acronym stands for Teacher Learning and Leadership for All, with emphasis on the philosophy ’for all’. It reflects their inclusive approach to growing teacher and leadership talent. That is why TELLAL exists for one purpose only: to improve the quality of teaching and leadership in schools. Through its dynamic development of dual English and Arabic programmes, supported by innovative technology, TELLAL trains and develops teachers and school leaders to an international standard, meeting the growing global demand for quality learning and decisive leadership in schools.

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Working closely with GEMS schools, TELLAL has developed workshops and training programmes that are designed to meet the needs of teachers and deliver unrivalled levels of support and guidance. If you are interested in exploring the many opportunities offered by TELLAL’s Professional Learning and Development (PLD) courses, you will have help at every step. All GEMS teachers can access the TELLAL training calendar via Phoenix on the GEMS portal. There, you can view the full range of programmes running for the year and obtain information about the key objectives covered, the details of the trainer, and the target audience. Once you have identified the course that is right for you, you can register your interest online and your school’s Professional Learning and Development Leader (PLDL) will be notified. The PLDL role is unique to GEMS schools and is designed to facilitate direct links between TELLAL and teachers in schools. As part of the TELLAL extended team, they can offer advice and guidance on the most suitable courses for your point of need. They can also connect you with the relevant Subject Network Leader so you can engage in a professional learning community that is specific and relevant to your area of expertise and interest. TRAINING FOR TOMORROW Through TELLAL, you can access a wide range of continuous Professional Learning and Development courses, no matter your level or area of

expertise: discover how to make a difference for your students and the next generation by progressing through the TELLAL Leadership Academy, which offers programmes from teacher leadership through to systems leadership, or enhance your teaching skills through one of the postgraduate qualifications offered in partnership with Liverpool Hope University (UK). TELLAL also offers specialist professional development programmes in areas such as Special Educational Needs, Digital Blended Learning, Arabic Learning and Parental Engagement. One of TELLAL’s longest running and most popular programmes is the Train the Trainer (TTT) two-day training. Arming expert teachers with the knowledge and skills to train other teachers reflects TELLAL’s capacitybuilding approach to professional development that ensures there are always new opportunities for all teachers. This year more than 100 GEMS teachers have attended TELLAL’s TTT with the aim that each

participating teacher shares his or her ideas, passion and classroom practice with others. This will provide a rich and varied calendar of training for the academic year 2019-20 which you, as a GEMS teacher, have full access to. Professional learning and development training really can make a huge difference, not only for your career, but in the way you influence and inspire others. You can opt to take courses that will enhance your teaching capabilities, broaden your skill set, and expand your knowledge of innovative practices that could drastically improve the learning potential of your students. You can also choose to enrol on a course that will help you develop into a mentor, a trainer of other teachers or a leader within your institution. Perhaps you could even channel that growth into shaping the ethos and direction of your school for the better. If you have a passion, imagine what sharing that with others could do? Imagine where a Professional Learning and Development course could take you and your career.

If you would like to find out more about the range of TELLAL courses and whether now is the right time for you to take a step forward, you can visit their website at www.tellalinstitute.com or speak to the PLDL in your school.

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GETTING TO KNOW

Albie Huyser We chat to the newly-appointed principal of GEMS Cambridge International Private School Sharjah (GCS), due to open in September 2019, about approaching her role and her vision for the school.

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ell us about your background in education. My career started 24 years ago in South Africa. I come from a very rural area and we built the first school I worked at ourselves. On Saturdays, we would go into the community to give extra English lessons. Later, I moved with my husband to the UK, and for most of my teaching career I was in London. I taught in tough schools but I was drawn to the chance to mean something to somebody. In some cases, a teacher was the only stability in a child’s life. We stayed there for 12 years and it was amazing. I built genuine

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relationships with the students and it was wonderful to see how they came through the school. Many of them went to university and in many cases, they were the first in their families. It was rewarding to see how attending that school changed their lives. Five years ago, we moved to the UAE. I had a Skype interview with the founding principal of Cambridge International School — Dubai (CIS) and knew straight away that we had the same vision. I joined in the second year of GEMS Cambridge International School — Abu Dhabi (CIA). At the end of the first year they had

1,300 students, and we opened in the September that I joined with 2,600. How are you going to approach your role as a principal of a new school? I’m so excited about this opportunity at GEMS Cambridge International Private School Sharjah (GCS), because we’re using the best from the GEMS Cambridge schools. I’ve learned so much and I hope to use this expertise to make our school even better. We also have the support from our other Cambridge colleagues; they all bring their own ideas and I can bring my ideas to make this school something special. When the children come to our school, I want them to feel that it is a safe place where everyone is happy. While our GCSE results matter, they’re not the sole focus. As a teacher you need to be the best you can be while helping students achieve the highest grade possible and have the most opportunities possible. But it’s also

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about how we make our students feel and how we make our parents feel when they come into the school. I hope that when people come into our school they see that while we have very high aspirations and great facilities, this is a place where people matter. We hope that our school will be unique. What developments would you like to see in the education sector, particularly for teachers? I think teaching is not just a job, it’s a passion. I want to make sure that our teachers feel valued and that we are supporting them. There are amazing opportunities through TELLAL and through our own network. A wonderful thing about GEMS is that the principals have empathy for one another, and they support one another; we can draw on expertise from around us so that we develop our own teachers to become the best practitioners they can be. I think teachers are so used to giving of themselves. We want to give back to them so they also feel that they are developed, they are valued, and that we appreciate what they do. Who inspires you? Strong women that are still kind and considerate. There are many

times when as women we think it’s expected of us to be without any feelings or emotions because we must survive in the man’s world. You can still be strong, you can still be assertive, but you don’t have to be nasty. That’s how I want to encourage the girls in our school. I was really inspired by the founding principal of the academy where I taught in London. She was always calm, she was always considerate, and she was always extremely professional. Only when she retired did I realise what an amazing woman she was. When we went to meetings it was as if people flocked to her. It’s

I think teachers are so used to giving of themselves. We want to give back to them, so they also feel that they are developed, they are valued, and that we appreciate what they do not that she was particularly dynamic, it was just her presence. That is what I aspire to be.

GCS campus and facilities The school is strategically positioned to provide the best access to students and families across Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. The campus has state-ofthe-art facilities, including:  A spacious school library, which offers a panoramic view of Sharjah University  Advanced science and STEAM labs  ICT suites  A multi-purpose hall  Audio-visual facilities  Art and music rooms  A range of dedicated sports areas

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GETTING TO KNOW

Encouraging Creativity

Rajakumar Rajagopalan Achari, Art Teacher, GEMS United Indian School, talks about following in his father’s footsteps and encouraging his students to flourish.

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hy did you become a teacher? I entered teaching because both my grandfather and father were teachers. I love to encourage my students to stimulate their creativity through art. What is your favourite art style? Who is your favourite artist? I like post-modernism and surrealism. My favourite artists include Salvador Dali and Vincent Van Gogh, but my all-time favourite is René Magritte. What is the most challenging aspect of teaching art and how do you manage it? I think the most challenging part of the job is working out how best to cultivate creativity in children. All students are creative, but encouraging them to express their creativity through their artwork is the key point. I tackle this by giving my students all types of challenging tasks and

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Being unique is an important aspect of being a creative person. Never compare yourself to anyone. Always be you and be proud of it by keeping the subject exciting by continually incorporating different subjects like science and maths to enlighten and inspire them. I want my students to wake up every day with the thought: ”I want to be creative today.“ Being unique is an important aspect of being a creative person. Never compare yourself to anyone. Always be you and be proud of it. What is your favourite part of teaching? I enjoy seeing my students excel, improve, and bloom in their creativity every day. Empowering my students to be unique in their work, and to stand out and be individuals is the highlight of my job.

What is your teaching style and what is the most important thing you’d like students to take away from your lessons? I consider myself more of a mentor to my students than a teacher. I do not just want to teach them my ways and styles; I ask them to develop and use their own styles, using my technique and experience for guidance. I want my students to incorporate an element of surprise in their artwork. It should be able to astound any viewer. Who has inspired you in your career to date? Firstly, my father is my biggest inspiration. My second is my subject. Art is not just a job for me; it’s a central part of my life.

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COVER STORY TEACHER TALK

GEMS FOUNDERS SCHOOL – AL MIZHAR (GFM)

OneYear On Nigel Cropley

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The school opened its doors in September 2018. Principal/CEO Nigel Cropley looks back over the school’s first year and shares his vision for the years ahead.

ow would you describe GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar’s first year? The first year has gone incredibly well. Bearing in mind that we opened with 1,540 students, all new students, all new parents, and all new staff. I’m very proud of where we’ve got to in our first year.

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What are your top three highlights from the year? We’ve had many. One of the great events we had was International Day. The reason that was so positive was that it was mostly organised by our newly formed parent association. They did an amazing job and it was a time where you really felt that the school had a community.

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The second was our first-ever National Day, which was very similar. We’re in a predominantly Emirati area and many of our parents got involved. It will be even better next year, there’s no doubt about that. But once again we were able to open our doors to our community and we really want this to be a community school. Because of the location, we have a real possibility of that happening. The other thing that really stands out for me was probably the first week of the school, when we opened our doors and welcomed all those eager students. Within the first couple of weeks, some of our FS students were crying at the end of the day, not because they were sad or because something happened at school, but because they didn’t want to go home. That was special. From coming in the first couple of days and being a bit scared and crying for reasons you don’t want — everything being so new and so big and being away from mum and dad – to within a couple of weeks crying because they don’t actually want to go home. For a school to have students want to be there that badly is very powerful.

I think that’s our moral responsibility as educators to make sure we don’t fail any single child, and no matter their challenges they have a pathway where they will succeed

How would you describe the team ethos at GFM? It’s very positive. I think it really helps when you start a school and everybody feels that they’re in it together; one team on one journey. I try to interview and recruit people that I feel have that growth mindset, that can-do attitude, and positivity.

All the staff have an awful lot thrown at them and they cope very well, keeping in mind many of them are very young and for some it’s their first time away from home. I’m very proud and pleased with how they have coped with the enormous pressure that they’ve been under in year one.

What is your vision for the school moving forward? I want the school to have a good, community feel in terms of wanting the students, the teachers, and the school staff to be happy. I really want to work on being kind to one another within our school and most importantly make sure that every child has a pathway for them to succeed in the future. I think that’s our moral responsibility as educators to make sure we don’t fail any single child, and no matter their challenges they have a pathway where they will succeed. We continue to expand — we’re looking at taking in around 800 new students next year and with that come many more opportunities, more people in our community but obviously new challenges around keeping consistency with what we’re doing and spreading our positive message. www.gemspeoplemag.com

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TEACHER TALK

What sets GFM apart from other schools in the area? It’s warmth. One of the comments that we get from parents on school tours is the very open and friendly atmosphere. The senior leadership team has an open-door policy and we try our level best to have all the classroom doors open at all times. We welcome people into the school. We have set an ethos in the school where teachers can expect somebody to walk into their room for an informal look at what’s going on at any time. We want to build a relationship of trust. We’re also all learning together so if something’s not going quite right, we can do something about it.

The Misunderstood Millennial – A Teacher’s Perspective Written by Aarti Sunil Kanal, Supervisor of Grade 6 at Our Own High School – Al Warqa’a

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n 12 June 1989, 30 years ago, I embarked on my journey as a teacher – and what a fulfilling journey this has been! People generally react by saying: ”You must have imparted so much knowledge to so many kids!“ But more than that, I have learned so much from so many kids. In the past three decades, I have witnessed millennials changing, competing and emerging, and I am filled with so much awe and appreciation for them.

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I sincerely admire the youth of today. Many will ask: ”Despite what they are?“ To which I reply: ”No, because of what they are!“ Youngsters of today have to struggle and compete to prove themselves in this tough competitive era and pave their own paths. Yet, we often look down on them and discount their independent battles. While we sneer at them for being addicted to technology, we need to reflect on our own deeds. Since it’s ‘our generation’ that has provided

them with this menace, it’s no wonder who the actual culprit for their advanced lifestyle is. We proudly say: ”We are what we are because of what our parents have taught us!“ But are we really as good as our parents were? It is overwhelming to reconnect with students whom I taught more than 25 years ago and to see how they have evolved into strong individuals with clear values, a distinct vision, and the courage to stand up for their beliefs.

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TEACHER TALK

One Year In – My GEMS Journey We chat to Abigail McPherson, Elementary Physical Education Head of Department and Teacher at GEMS Dubai American Academy, who will help onboard the new teachers joining GEMS Education this year, a position she was in only a year ago. GEMS schools that are in the area had I not seen all the teachers and admin in one room. It was mind blowing. How did you find settling in? I adjusted pretty well. All systems were a go after GEMS Awareness Day, learning about the school schedule and curriculum as well as different data management systems in preparation for the students’ arrival.

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hat made you apply to work for GEMS Education in Dubai? I came to Dubai for vacation a few years ago and my Spanish teacher from high school was a teacher in the area. She encouraged me to investigate an opportunity abroad. I never knew it was a possibility, so when I returned home, I started the application process. How did you feel before you arrived? I was a bit nervous but more excited than anything. I knew I was coming to a great campus with awesome resources and opportunities, and I couldn’t wait to see what it would be like to live and teach abroad.

Looking back, if there’s anything you could tell yourself in that first week, what would it be? I would make more connections with people. I would have loved to have had just a little more time to interact with other teachers from different

campuses or maybe interact with teachers in my same subject area. What advice would you give new teachers who have just joined GEMS? Be open minded, be available and have fun. This is an awesome opportunity and you have the power to make this experience your best. Soak up all the knowledge and resources provided to you and do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. Also document your journey by journaling, taking pictures or videos – it’s a great way to reflect on your growth and determine how you would like to set goals for the future.

Abigail’s top three highlights of her first year in the UAE:  Being featured in the Khaleej Times for GEMS Awareness Day  My U14 basketball team beating our rival school in a match and placing second in all our tournaments  Picking up a camera and learning more about photography and videography

Describe your first week. What did you do? Wow, the first week was a haze of touring my surroundings and getting acquainted with the school and my new co-workers. I did however document my journey on Instagram @AbbyTeachingAfar. I recorded a video every day counting down my 30 days to Dubai as well as my first 30 days in Dubai. Describe your experience of GEMS Awareness Day. GEMS Awareness Day was a great way to learn more about the company and things about the UAE. I would have never understood the vast amount of

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Survival Of The Fittest Sir Christopher Stone, Global Chief Education Officer, GEMS Education, shares his thoughts on living in a time of rapid change and how it is imperative we adapt in order to keep up.

We will need smart children emerging from smart schools if we are to still be a world leader during the next 25 years Dear Colleagues, I wanted to write to you all as we move into another new term and another era for GEMS Education. This note involves mixing three basic ingredients: your own values; how you think the world is shaping events and finally what you have learnt about people and culture. In truth, it is OK to change your mind about things: that is how we learn. What is unacceptable is to have no mind, to stand for nothing and to stand up for nothing! We should remember the saying ”what comes from the heart enters the heart!“ This blends well with the Chairman’s view of passion. Essentially, ”what doesn’t come from the heart will never enter anyone else’s heart.“ Caring for others and empathy are at the very core of the world’s best school leaders. As I reach 61 years of age it is not acceptable for me to say that ‘when I was young, like a young tree, I could bend with the wind but now that I am old if I bend that far I will break!’ Instead I must continue to bend, to adapt, to flex and to learn. The technology platforms for society now evolve every five to seven years. This is a challenge for many people, as it often takes us a generation to fully understand and accept change. Previously you could patent your idea. These days, the idea is obsolete before the patent comes through, thus making patents increasingly irrelevant in the field of technology. Just think what this means for us in teaching. The only ever-present constant is change and we, GEMS Education, must always fully embrace change. Enhancing our students’ adaptability is about applying the features that drive technological innovation into our culture and social structures. We have to be more agile in schools and in the School Support

Centre. The new kind of ‘normal’ is dynamic stability. The more we move forward the more stable we are. We can find calmness in dynamic stability. We will not find calmness in hoping that change will slow down or stop. So, will this all slow down? Much as we sometimes hope so the answer is no. We have no choice but to learn to adapt to the new pace of change. It will be harder and will require more self-motivation – we see that in the USA and Europe. There is a widening gap between the pace of technological change, globalisation and environmental stresses (the recent Attenborough series has highlighted this) and the ability of people to adapt and manage these. At GEMS we must learn quickly and adapt quicker. Being part of the changes and embracing them will give you more control and allow for more navigation through the changes. We have to paddle our canoe faster than the water we find ourselves in. The only way to steer is to ‘paddle’ as fast, or faster, than the rate of change in technology, globalisation and the environment. The only way to thrive is by maintaining dynamic stability by cycling faster not slower. For that to happen effectively, faster is not enough on its own – we must reorganise and redesign the way our schools operate and feel. We have to enable more leaders, parents and children, on more days in more ways, to keep pace with the changes in education, in the market and in the countries we operate in. It will take moral innovation to re-imagine how we scale sustainable values to everyone we possibly can, harnessing the power of one as well as the power on the entire GEMS Education group. Things have changed. They will not change back. The last 25 years have been about who could make things cheapest. The next 25 years will be about who can make things smartest. GEMS Education will need smart children emerging from smart schools if we are to still be a world leader during the next 25 years. Let us see where we can take our company to – together. Yours sincerely, Sir Christopher Stone Global Chief Education Officer

www.gemspeoplemag.com

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21/08/2019 11:16:23 AM


TEACHER TALK

Ruck And Roll Matthew Richards, Director of Rugby at Jumeirah College, discusses playing international rugby and how that experience makes him a better teacher.

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hen Jumeirah College (JC) needed a PE teacher and Director of Rugby, they couldn’t have asked for a better candidate than Matthew Richards. The 36-year old Englishman played professional rugby between the ages of 17 and 24 before taking a few years to teach while playing part-time rugby in Wales. He then moved to Australia for two years to play rugby full time and moved to the UAE four years ago. He played top-division club rugby with the Dubai Exiles for two years and then signed with the divisional rival Jebel Ali Dragons. At the end of his first year with the Dragons, and his third year playing rugby in Dubai, he became eligible to play for the UAE. Matthew was included in head coach Apollo Perelini’s initial 40-man training squad and then in the 25-man travelling squad for the Asia Rugby Championships in May. ”That’s when our training really ramped up,“ said Matthew. ”We were training three or four times a week for a month in the build-up to the tournament. It was the end of the season, so we also had weekend training camps.“ Given he is not longer playing professional rugby where his routine would have a regimented structure,

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from his workouts, to his diet, to what he wears, Matthew has to balance his responsibilities as a teacher with the demands of his training. ”People are working and sometimes they can’t train. Sometimes your best player can’t play for you on weekends. As a PE teacher I can’t play certain games when the school has tournaments,“ he said.

I’m being exposed to all these top coaches and I’m playing against other teams where we get to see what they do as well. We see how they train, and we can take the bits we like and replace what may be a bit dated

SCHOOL SUPPORT Matthew had concerns about asking for the time off required to play in tournaments but insists the school couldn’t have been more supportive. As a sports teacher he was achieving international sports honours and could share with his students what he’d learned. He added that it keeps his teaching fresh and he is not doing the same drills he did five years ago. ”I’m being exposed to all these top coaches and I’m playing against other teams, where we get to see what they do as well. We see how they train, and we can take the bits we like and replace what may be a bit dated,“ he said. WHAT’S NEXT? At the end of 2018 the UAE qualified for the top league of the 2019 Dubai Rugby Sevens, where they will play against Asian powerhouses Japan and Hong Kong. In September and October, the team will then take part in a threetournament series. If they make it to the top four of that series, they stand a chance for Olympic qualification by going into a playoff system.

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Calling The Shots Jaco De Wit, KS3 maths teacher at The Cambridge High I find when teaching inside the rules it just School – Abu Dhabi, discusses being awarded the UAE blazer for refereeing an international rugby match and how makes it so much easier in terms of keeping the he is trying to develop the next generation of players.

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aco de Wit, a high-level rugby referee was recently awarded a UAE blazer for refereeing his first international match. He started refereeing rugby 10 years ago in South Africa and continued to do so after moving to the UAE in 2017. He joined the UAE Rugby Federation and from there it took a year to get appointed to the Asia panel, which allowed him to referee all the games taking place in the rugby-playing Asian countries. He received his blazer after refereeing his first international match between Thailand vs Kazakhstan on 15 May at the Asia Rugby Championships. Referees are awarded the blazer of the country where they are based and each of them looks different. The UAE blazer is black with a red lining around the edge whereas in South Africa Jaco would have a green blazer with a gold border. The blazers must be worn at all official functions and awards evenings. If a referee attends a match, they must wear it unless instructed otherwise. FEW AND FAR BETWEEN Not many referees are awarded the UAE blazer due to a shortage of qualified referees in the country. Anyone who wants to join is encouraged to contact the UAE Rugby

Federation and they will receive an email with the details of the first meeting in September, where all the new law changes for the year are covered. Aspiring referees are required to take a fitness test and exams, which start with a beginners’ course followed by levels one, two, and three. These courses apply to all the countries where rugby is played. ”Everybody on a rugby field that is blowing a whistle should have a level one qualification as a minimum. For level two, referees get invited to second division games, and in level three you can referee world rugby. I did my level three in South Africa and it took about eight months to complete. Honestly, it felt like more work than my degree! Candidates have to submit their diet plans, how they train, what they think before a game, and they have to be honest because the examiners will pick it up if you are not,“ said Jaco. Jaco added that the support he received from the school in terms of allowing him the time to attend matches has been great. His priority is to ensure his work is up to date and the lessons are planned for his absence. NOT JUST AN OBSERVER Jaco’s passion for the game has extended to starting the sport at the school, and there are now 40 boys participating. The school

players safe and showing them available shortcuts to playing the game previously offered touch rugby, so Jaco has taken this year to teach the players new skills in order to be able to play rugby well and avoid injury. Having refereed for over a decade and worked as the technical advisor to one of South Africa’s provincial teams, Jaco has been exposed to all levels of rugby coaching. ”I find when teaching inside the rules it just makes it so much easier in terms of keeping the players safe and showing them available shortcuts to playing the game,“ he said. The Cambridge High School – Abu Dhabi (CHS) has a senior side and a junior side and Jaco is trying to get Year 7 and 8 together and Year 9 and 10 together and take them to Sports City at least once a month for practice on the full-sized rugby pitch. Jaco is also trying to set up two seven-a-side teams for the juniors and seniors to build a strong team and he would like to take at least one of his teams to a Sevens tournament before December this year.

BECOME A REFEREE If you or someone you know would like to become involved in refereeing rugby, please visit: http://uaerugby.ae

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TEACHER TALK

UAE’s First United Nations – Accredited Climate Change Teacher Appointed Candice Wright, Head of Humanities and GEMS Geography Network Leader at GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa, has become the first in the UAE to be appointed a United Nations-accredited Climate Change Teacher.

Candice Wright with FPS Principal/CEO Matthew Tompkins who fully supported her pursuit of the accreditation

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nder her role as the UAE’s first appointed United Nationsaccredited Climate Change Teacher, Candice Wright, Head of Humanities and GEMS Geography Network Leader at GEMS FirstPoint School — The Villa (FPS), can now deliver up-to-date climate change lessons to students and share best practice with fellow teaching staff. The appointment is in line with FPS’s strong focus on sustainability and its pioneering approach to working with external and industry partners to deliver an enhanced curriculum. The UN Climate Change Teacher Academy is a new programme currently on trial in the UK, with its Climate Change Teacher Course launched in April 2019, free for primary and secondary school teachers throughout

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the world. Discovering the opportunity online, Candice took the initiative and gained the support of FPS’s principal, Matthew Tompkins, who encouraged her to complete the course, which is made up of five units accredited by the One United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn). Candice said: ”I am thrilled to be involved with the UN CC. The importance of climate change cannot be underestimated and it’s imperative that our children understand these issues and have the knowledge to make positive decisions that can bring about adaptations. I have been an advocate of climate change awareness and ensuring my students are equipped to face future challenges for a long time. My work with the UN CC will now allow me to do this to a greater depth and ensure the

best possible learning opportunities for my students.“ She added that FPS’s students are extremely engaged and motivated towards making a difference. They are becoming increasingly aware of both the causes and mitigation methods as we continue to teach them. I look forward to developing this in the next academic year when we will continue to work with the UN CC and Model United Nations. Matthew Tompkins, Principal/CEO FPS, said: ”We are immensely proud of Candice and her pioneering work in this area. Climate change and sustainability are areas that all industries are required to consider and make morally responsible decisions about. At GEMS FirstPoint School we are inspiring the leaders of the future, and Candice’s expertise in this area will support the development of all at our school.“ The UN Climate Change Teacher Academy is being delivered by Harwood Education, in partnership UN CC:Learn, and sponsored by YPO in the UK. Through the programme, teachers are able to not only teach their pupils vital lessons about climate change, but also earn fully-funded CPD and certification from the United Nations. Ultimately, they will be able to encourage and generate social innovation, and prepare today’s youth to protect the planet. Congratulations to Asha Alexander, Principal of The Kindergarten Starters, for becoming the first principal in the UAE to become a climate change leader, certified by the Untied Nations. Find more details about this in this next issue of GEMS People.

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A lot of what I like about GEMS is it’s so diverse in its student populations, its sports, its curricula. It’s so multicultural which is great for the world we live in today – Rhonda Lakin

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nda Lakin (left) Sam Pousafar between Rho ht) and his mother, Dessy (rig

Rhonda Lakin and Sam Pousafar at his gradu

ation

There From The Beginning Sam Pousafar stepped into Rhonda Lakin’s class as a KG pupil and years later he asked her to introduce him when he did his valedictorian speech. We chat to them about their strong student-teacher relationship.

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hen Sam Pousafar was selected as valedictorian of GEMS Dubai American Academy’s (DAA) class of 2018, he was told he had to choose somebody special and he could pick any teacher that he felt had helped him throughout the years. He chose Rhonda Lakin, a KG teacher who was also his first teacher when he started school as a kindergartener.

MEMORY LANE Although Rhonda doesn’t remember Sam’s first day specifically, she does

remember him as her student – a shy boy with definite ideas about what he did and didn’t want to do. He was obsessed with dinosaurs and every time there was an activity that involved dinosaurs in any way, he wanted to assist in the lesson. As Sam leaves DAA for university and Rhonda retires from full-time teaching, they both have extremely fond memories of their time at the school. Sam loved how diverse the student body was, with some students coming from countries he hadn’t heard of. He said it was good

to have an all-round education and be exposed to different cultures. For Rhonda the experience was a bit more varied, considering that she taught around 350 students over her 17 years at the school, and each year provided many fond memories. ”A lot of what I like about GEMS is it’s so diverse in its student populations, its sports, its curricula. It’s so multicultural which is great for the world we live in today,“ she said. She has exciting times to look forward to with her family. She became a grandmother for the first time this July, and she plans to visit her daughter and the baby in Colorado. One of her daughters got married this July in Devon, and another daughter will get married in Scotland in May. She hopes to be a substitute teacher at DAA. Sam will attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he has been accepted in the Honours Programme. He has yet to declare a major but is open to the options available once he starts his studies.

Rhonda Lakin’s top tips for new teachers joining GEMS Education:  Be a collaborative team member  Learn from your team  Being part of a team is such a great advantage, so join in

www.gemspeoplemag.com

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TEACHER TALK

I Am Zara Amaya Aarti Seth, an English teacher at GEMS Modern Academy, discusses why she wrote her play and how she felt seeing it come to life as the school’s annual production. Aarti added that the production would not have been possible without the support of the school. Kevin Oliver, Group Cultural Coordinator at GEMS directed the play and Axel Rodericks, Head of Department — Music and Assistant Dean: Performing Arts provided the music.

Aarti Seth

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arti Seth wrote I am Zara Amaya because: ”There is a Zara Amaya in each one of us. It’s good to give yourself a voice because we’re all inhibited by different things. It’s about giving a voice to every single child and to encourage them to be confident and forge ahead.“ The play focuses on the journey of a young girl who decides to choose the road less travelled and on the way, she encounters different hurdles. Ultimately, she realises that if she wants the world to believe in her, she has to believe in herself first. An art teacher helps her come out of her shell and to realise that she has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, this teacher passes away as their relationship becomes closer. But Zara goes on to become somebody who realises her dreams.

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STAGE INTERPRETATION Aarti credits Kevin for how the play turned out, saying he gave a whole different dimension to the script and included a song towards the end. Aarti’s play had four characters originally but there were about 350 students involved in the production. ”I think the minute Kevin got hold of the script he knew what he wanted to do with it,“ she said. Kevin said that he was drawn to the topic and the plot because of its relevance to his students and the message was important for parents as well.

There is a Zara Amaya in each one of us. It’s good to give yourself a voice because we’re all inhibited by different things — Aarti Seth

Kevin Oliver

”Directing I Am Zara Amaya was an experience like no other. Working on a project that voiced a young girl’s quest to find her path in life was new and so interesting for me. Using group narratives with huge numbers of students moving swiftly into lit areas and playing with simpler plots that use lighting to enhance a very ‘in your face’ script was a challenge like no other,“ he said. Overall, Aarti feels the play was well received and her favourite moment was a Grade 3 pupil coming to her to say that she understood the message of the play; she must be confident and believe in herself.

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SPOTLIGHT ON

Safe Travels We caught up with Steve Burnell, Managing Director – School Transport Services (STS), to learn more about the safety measures that have been implemented in school buses as well as an educational programme being promoted by the company.

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he STS team has a tremendous responsibility to ensure that we provide our services in line with our values – Safe, Timely, Smart – and with our parents’ expectations of caring for their children on our services to and from school every day. Our teams care for close to 85,000 students across 83 UAE schools and they are the main reason for our success in the transport service market for both GEMS and nonGEMS schools. We strive for service excellence and constantly review how we provide services to ensure that we evolve in line with our customers’ expectations. ”STS has a responsibility to develop a safety mindset that promotes, educates, and embeds the importance of road safety to all of our stakeholders. We must continuously review how we act and what impact our programmes have on our people, customers, and citizens. After all, we are responsible

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for the safe transport of the leaders of tomorrow,“ says Steve. STS's recent initiatives have begun to create an interest in road safety advocacy in its employees and the students it transports around the UAE every day. One of the new and innovative educational programmes recently developed by STS – with the support of the Roads and Transport Authority – to create road safety awareness among students is the STS Smart Safety Bus. The educational bus is the first of its kind in the UAE and is packed with fun interactive safety games. The messaging revolves around the importance of wearing seat belts, following road rules and how one should behave while travelling on a bus. The Smart Safety Bus has already started visiting schools supported by STS and will continue through the next academic year.

STS strives to stay ahead of the competition and it accomplishes this by the quality of services it provides. ”We have started to upgrade our bus fleet with new smart bus technology to further support and monitor our services. In addition to the bus GPS tracking and CCTV systems we provide, we have started installing driver monitoring technology, these are important systems that allow us to monitor driving standards and develop our drivers. We have also introduced RFID student cards (similar to a RTA metro NOL card), all student data is on their card so when they board a bus and check in, the technology lets us know exactly which bus the student is on and when they boarded and arrived at school or home. With the launch of our new app in September, parents will be able to see bus journeys in real time and that their child has checked in plus there are a host of other great functions. We’ve integrated the STS App with the GEMS Connect app, but we also have it as a standalone app for our non-GEMS schools,“ explains Steve. Student safety has always been STS's top priority and it takes this responsibility seriously. STS has recently been accredited with ISO 39001 – Road Traffic Safety Management and this enhances its other ISO programmes that support its integrated management systems. Stay up-to-date with STS's exciting new projects and student information by joining its social media network – @sts_ae on Instagram Myschoolbus on Facebook

Steve Burnell

We have started to upgrade our bus fleet with new smart bus technology to further support and monitor our services

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21/08/2019 11:21:06 AM


Telling Our Schools' Stories Through Digital Development GEMS Education schools are getting new websites. We speak to Pablo Arguello Cazar, the man behind the virtual upgrade.

Pablo Arguello Cazar, Senior Manager – Digital Development

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hy are you changing over to the new platform? We live in a world where content and the way it's presented matters, which means it is more important than ever to ensure that all our school websites are visually appealing to enable them to attract parents and prospective parents while having the latest functionality. GEMS Education offers a variety of curricula and price points to families and enjoys an excellent reputation so we are a natural first choice for parents to click on when they are looking for a new school for their child. The new websites better reflect our brand and the ethos of the schools by having a fresh, modern and high-tech look with a vastly improved customer journey. What are the noticeable changes? The design will be the most noticeable change, but internally a lot will change too. Our schools will have more control over their websites now. It means that they have the ability to reflect their true identity and show more of the school’s personality. We are giving them a solution that is more flexible; almost to the point that they feel they are designing their own website.

Why did you select this platform over other platforms? It is enterprise grade and very wellrespected in the digital world. It’s used by large companies like L’Oréal, American Express, and Flydubai. The platform, which is called Sitecore, is considered a market leader that empowers companies to deliver personalised content to the end users and better meet their requirements. It was positioned among five leaders in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms report this year. The good thing is that this platform offers a lot of new functionality around quality control, governance, and compliance without us being too restrictive. What are the other advantages? It provides a lot more features not only in terms of the flexibility, but also in terms of its marketing capabilities. There are a few features that are builtin that can help our schools with their online marketing. This means that our schools can be a lot more independent when it comes to creating dynamic web content on their websites. This is a big advantage over our current platform, which has resulted in schools having to

come to us for simple things like creating a form, an events page or pop-up on the Home Page. This will be a big advantage for schools going forward as they will have a lot more control. There are more advanced features with the platform including content personalisation where built-in features will allow the schools to show different content to different users based on their behaviour. For example, if the system detects that someone has an interest in the school and has seen the fees and admission process then it can determine that they are ready to sign up. To make things simple it will create a pop-up for prospective parents for them to express their interest in the school at the click of a button. Have you implemented the platform at any schools yet? No. The first schools will be up and running with the platforms before the end of the year. We will start with seven schools, and rollout more each month. Completion will be by the end of the first quarter of 2020. Under the rollout plan, not all the features will be available on day one, but the capabilities will be there to do so much more in the future. As time goes by, we will ensure more advanced training is given to unlock the platform’s full potential.

FEEDBACK The feedback Pablo has received from the schools he has visited to date has been very positive. ”At GEMS FirstPoint School, we are always looking for ways we can improve our communication. This platform will allow us to tailor our website to represent our school personality and to clearly articulate our vision through rich content and a modern design... and keep our community updated with news, notices and events,“ said Matthew Tompkins, Principal/CEO, GEMS FirstPoint School — The Villa. www.gemspeoplemag.com

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GEMS REWARDS

Loyalty Champion Of The Year GEMS Education emerged triumphant at the prestigious ‘Loyalty Magazine Awards 2019’ for its GEMS Rewards loyalty programme, and was named the ‘Regional Loyalty Champion of the Year’ for Middle East and Africa.

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lmarie Venter, Chief Enrolment, Marketing, Communications and Corporate Relations at GEMS Education and Sugam Bhasin, Vice President - Marketing at GEMS Education were the company representatives at the Loyalty Magazine Awards 2019, held amid the auspicious surroundings of the Pavilion in the Tower of London, UK. They didn't leave empty handed, either, collecting the award for Regional Loyalty Champion of the Year. We spoke to Sugam to find out more about the programme and what set it apart from the competition at the gala event in London. Can you describe GEMS Rewards in a nutshell? GEMS Rewards is our way of giving back to our community – our parents, our staff, and our students. The vision that led to the creation of GEMS Rewards was to make quality education more accessible and everything we do as part of the programme drives toward that vision. What are the different components of the programme? Firstly, we have a co-branded credit card which allows our parents to save up to 4.25 per cent of their annual tuition fees while also converting their payments into 12 zero interest monthly installments.

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We also have the parent ambassador programme. Through this programme parents have an incentive to recommend a GEMS school that they know and love to friends and family and from each successful enrolment they receive 4 per cent of the enrolled child’s first year tuition fee in GEMS points. (GEMS points are the currency of the programme and a key metric in how our parents save.) Parents can earn GEMS points through usage of various aspects of the programme but we are also working towards a scenario where they have the ability to convert points from other rewards programmes into GEMS points. The GEMS Rewards app is another key feature. The app has over 800 offers across categories such as F&B, fitness, retail and leisure and travel. We have over 400 offers which are exclusive to GEMS Rewards members, not available on any other platform. These offers range from the classic buy

one get one free, a percentage discount off the total bill, as well as merchants who offer GEMS Points on purchases. Finally, on a monthly basis our members receive exclusive limited period offers via email which could range from invitations to events and sales in the city, through to cash or credit into their accounts at various e-commerce sites and destinations such as noon.com and Tajawal. What are some of the key milestones reached since 2017? The programme was launched back in October 2017 with the GEMS Rewards mobile app, and we then started incorporating various other features like the Ambassador Programme, co-branded credit card and exclusive offers to create an ideal ecosystem to support the programme’s vision. In the two years of its existence the programme has had a number of noteworthy achievements, most notable is the fact that our members saved over AED 35 million across various aspects of the programme. Over the past year, the programme has really come to life and evolved. As a point of comparison, in the last year the app allowed our members to save about AED 4 million and this year we will likely close the financial year on savings of more than AED 8 million. In terms of some other key parameters the number of people using

GEMS Rewards has built honesty, loyalty and happiness amongst GEMS Education employees. It contributes to the financial stability of my family – I can keep a high standard of lifestyle and it saves me a lot of money. Thank you GEMS, you make us feel proud to work for a company that cares about employee wellbeing Khadidja Bessoltane, Assistant Head of Secondary, GEMS Cambridge International School, Abu Dhabi

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the ability to convert points from a variety of different programmes into GEMS points which they can then use to pay school fees. We want to continue to evolve our offers. Every three months we curate our offers based on members’ behaviours, this will assist in personalising and making the programme more relevant, which is going to be key to its future success. Some of the exciting things possibly coming up in year three include a much more robust and enhanced travel offer along with technology which will make segmentation and personalisation more seamless.

Elmarie Venter, Chief Enrolment, Marketing, Communications and Corporate Relations and Sugam Bhasin, Vice President – Marketing

the programme has risen significantly. We have close to half our members now using the programme with the number of repeat users also rising significantly. We consider 66 per cent of our members to be regularly active on the programme and that is a key measure of success. Going back to the original vision of why the programme was created, if this is a mechanic to help our families save, then utilisation is a good measure of savings. What set GEMS Rewards apart from the competition? GEMS Rewards is the only programme regionally, if not globally, in the education industry to offer a rewards and loyalty programme for its parents. We are uniquely capable of delivering such a programme because of our size and scale. It also comes down to the vision of putting our students front and centre of everything we do and focusing on creating a value proposition for them which augments the already excellent education that we provide for them. The programme is about giving people more reasons to choose GEMS and reducing the barriers to making the selection of the school that might be perfect for your child. I think these points were recognised by the judges.

How did it feel to collect the award? It certainly felt like a validation or acknowledgement of some of the work that has gone into building the programme. I would also say it was humbling to be nominated in a group of very prominent peers, not only in our category but across the categories in general. What does this award mean for GEMS? This award is validation of the programme’s vision and purpose; its reason for being. It is a really nice acknowledgement of where the programme has come in the short time it has been in existence. The programme needs to continue to evolve and deliver to the expectations of our parents and staff. So we are certainly not resting on our laurels, there is a lot more to come from GEMS Rewards. There are a million ways we can improve the programme and we are going to go after every one of those million ways. So what is next for GEMS Rewards? The GEMS Rewards points ecosystem is going to be a key area of development. We want to acquire more partners to give our members

What advice would you give our new teachers who will be first time users of GEMS Rewards? GEMS Rewards effectively puts your ability to save in your pocket. That journey starts by you downloading, activating and exploring the app. With over 800 offers it can perhaps seem a bit overwhelming and I advise you to start by thinking of some of your favourite brands and searching for them in the app. Once you get used to using the app you can then sort and filter options, and even search offers based on distance from your current location.

HOW TO ACTIVATE THE GEMS REWARDS APP Step 1: New employees will receive an email with details on how to download and activate the GEMS Rewards app. Step 2: Download the GEMS Rewards app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Step 3: Click on register and complete the process. Fill out the fields required and make sure you use the correct user name/ e-mail combination as per the invitation e-mail. For employees your user name is your employee number. Step 4: Enter your birthday, country of residence and gender. Step 5: Click confirm and you are ready to go!

www.gemspeoplemag.com

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BEST PRACTICE

Better Safe Than Sorry We talk to Fiona Robertson, Senior Associate — Technology, Media & Telecommunications at Al Tamimi & Company, about the laws residents in the UAE need to be aware of when using social media.

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hile technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, from our workplaces to our homes, and even our classrooms, there is still an ugly side of the internet that should be cause for concern for UAE residents who need to understand the ramifications of using it inappropriately. Fiona Robertson, Senior Associate — Technology, Media & Telecommunications at Al Tamimi & Company, said that the first area to consider is the content regulations of the UAE, because they apply across the board to everyone when they are active on social media and in the media. These regulations

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include showing respect for the country, the Arab states, and the leaders, but they also cover the areas of religious vilification and anti-discrimination. Other important areas of law users must be

People forget that when they’re on social media, they’re not sitting at a dinner party with their friends; they are publishing something that other people can read.

wary of posting about include religion, politics, and social order. Users must be particularly cautious about posting images which could be construed as pornography, which applies to anything that looks sexual in content. ”People forget that when they’re on social media, they’re not sitting at a dinner party with their friends; they are publishing something that other people can read. Even if they have a closed Facebook group, for example, the forward button can be used, screen grabs can be taken and anything that they create can be circulated much more widely than they understand – and quicker than they realise,“ said Fiona. She added that expats and visitors need to take account of, and abide by, the laws of the country that they are in. They are subject to the laws of that country and in no country is ignorance of the law an excuse.

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DEFAMATION AND CYBERBULLYING Users must be careful about what they say about other people, and it doesn’t even have to be overly critical or nasty; it only has to make the person being spoken about be viewed in a negative light. Defamation is criminal and, in the UAE, it is also covered under the Cyber Crimes Law, which addresses major issues like hacking and extends into areas like breach of privacy and use of materials that are against the morals of the country. ”Violation of each section of the Cyber Crimes Law comes with a fine and jail time. But with regards to defamation, the government can and will deport you. That is something that I think a lot of people don’t take seriously, but they should because it has been done,“ said Fiona. It’s not only defamation individuals have to worry about; sometimes a moment of anger online could cause them to say something they will regret. Although they may feel that their online communities are the best place to engage, if they lash out it is still published on the internet. ”We’re coming into the area of cyberbullying now which is problematic from a legal perspective. The UAE government takes a dim view on cyberbullying, and the Dubai Police has its own designated Cyber Crimes unit and phone number to receive reports,“ Fiona added. NOT ALL BAD Fiona said that when understanding the boundaries that come with posting online and how social media should and should not be used, it can be a wonderful tool for connecting and communicating. ”I think it’s important to use social media in a respectful way. Any laws that make the social media space a nicer place to be are to be actively encouraged – and it’s good that the UAE government is addressing that,“ she said.

Living In The UAE Consular sections of British Embassies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi help you prepare and stay safe in the UAE. We would like to extend a warm welcome to the UAE! This time of year can be hectic for the consular teams at the British Embassies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Expats have returned from summer breaks, new school terms have begun and there is a new influx of UAE residents, and in particular teachers. During this period, information and education is crucial, and we are prioritising our outreach through presentations to a range of schools across the Emirates. As many of you may already be aware, the UAE is a great place to live and work, with so much to offer both professionally and personally. Many of us arrive with the intention of staying for just a couple of years and before we know it have become immersed in all that the country has to offer — its hospitality, climate (most of the year), beautiful sea and beaches, desert and regional and global travel opportunities. We

are also sometimes drawn in by the luxury of the country: the fast cars, opulent hotels, lavish brunches, great restaurants, bars and clubs. We can easily forget that the UAE is not the UK. All of us have chosen to live in an Islamic country which, while being very tolerant and welcoming to a wide range of nationalities, languages, cultures, and religions, has its own local laws and customs, which we are naturally and legally required to respect and observe. The majority of work for the consular departments unfortunately concerns British nationals arrested here in the UAE. The three most common reasons for the arrests are: a) financial crime incidents; b) offensive behaviour; and c) alcoholrelated incidents. In March this year we ran an awareness campaign, which included videos highlighting these three issues, as well as other laws and customs to be aware of.

STAY INFORMED We are eager to expand our outreach work and would recommend that you register for our quarterly newsletter by notifying us at consularcomms.uae@fco.gov.uk. Please also read and sign up to our travel advice at www.gov.uk/foreigntravel-advice/united-arab-emirates, which provides a range of information and advice for living in the country, and will also notify you of any changes. Similar advice is available for all other countries that you maybe considering travelling to.

REPORTING CYBERCRIME Report cybercrimes to the Dubai Police Cyber Crimes unit by calling 901 or online at www.government.ae

You can also follow our weekly guidance and various campaigns throughout the year on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @UKinUAE.

www.gemspeoplemag.com

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21/08/2019 11:23:16 AM


BEST PRACTICE

Don’t Suffer In Silence Sara Hedger, Head of Safeguarding & Child Protection, discusses breaking the stigma around mental health issues.

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ccording to the World Health Organization, one in four people in the world will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder in their lives with an estimated 264 million people suffering from depression, one of the leading causes of disability, with many of these people also suffering from symptoms of anxiety. A recent World Health Organization-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$1 trillion each year in lost productivity. This places mental disorders among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide. Nearly twothirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional due to stigma, discrimination and neglect. Why is it so common and why do we find it so hard to talk about? There are specific challenges for expats, such as potential financial issues, being far from a family network, the fast-paced lifestyle and often long working hours, which can lead to issues of depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. Add in the pressures from social media and it’s easy to see why people can become overwhelmed. The good news is that hospitals, therapy centres and clinics in the UAE are reporting an increase in people of both genders seeking support from a professional. In January 2019, the Dubai Health Forum reported that an estimated

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1.3 million people need mental health help. Speaking at the forum, mental health doctors said self-care was the ideal solution to increasing cases of depression, anxiety and other common mental health problems, followed by community care and better primary healthcare services. What can we do as a community to support better workplace mental health? The World Health Organization’s recent report on workplace mental health states that workplaces that both promote mental health and support people with mental disorders not only contribute to the emotional wellbeing of the workforce but are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and benefit from associated economic gains. Training leaders, managers and staff at all levels to be able to talk openly about mental health, spot the signs and be able to open a dialogue with a colleague, parent or student is vital to preserving the mental and physical health of an organisation.

I recently attended Mental Health First Aid (MHFA UAE) Training with Lighthouse Arabia, a global programme in 22 countries with two million people trained worldwide as Mental Health First Aiders. Along with other front-line school staff, we found it to be a great way to open the discussion and many schools already have key staff trained in this programme. Participants are taught: To approach a person who may be experiencing a mental health challenge and assist with any crisis To listen and communicate non-judgmentally To offer support and information To encourage them to seek help from a professional To encourage them to use other supports Although you do not need to have formal training to help someone, having the opportunity to learn about mental health and being able to use a structured approach to provide help gives us confidence to notice and then engage with people needing support. There is a global increase in the conversations taking place about mental health, fuelled by celebrities, world leaders, and others talking about their own struggles. Let’s not be a slave to the statistics. Break the cycle and start talking!

FURTHER READING AND INFORMATION: Lighthouse Arabia Mental Health First Aid https://www.lighthousearabia.com/ services/mental-health-first-aid World Health Organisation Mental Health in the Workplace https://www.who.int/ mental_health/in_the_workplace

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WELLBEING

Learning From The Best We talk to Ramalingam Kaliaperumal, athletics coach at GEMS Modern Academy, about why children should learn karate and how he is playing his part to promote it.

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amalingam Kaliaperumal has been an athletics coach at GEMS Modern Academy (GMA) for 14 years and is a passionate and committed teacher. Being somewhat of a hard task master doesn’t stop students from signing up to be under his mentorship, and even spurs them on to reach their potential. His drive and discipline can be put down to his dedication to training in karate since the 1970s. He competed in his first International Competition in Tokyo in 1993 and has been actively involved in the international circuit ever since. In 2016, he won two bronze medals in kata and kumite in the 8th World Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Championship in Mexico, and in 2018, he refereed the 15th Asian Pacific Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Federation Championship in Jakarta. He feels strongly about learning karate from a young age. ”Self-defense is very important, and karate helps students maintain their health and fitness. They can also face life headon, without fear,“ he said. To date, his regimented practice sessions last four to five hours a day even if it means practicing after work until 9pm. He is currently a black belt sixth Dan, and this year he refereed the ninth Shito-Ryu KarateDo International Championships, held in Tokyo from 15-17 March. Men and women from around 50 countries participated in this prestigious event. SHITO-RYU KARATE-DO IN THE UAE Ramalingam is currently the Head of Shito-Ryu Karate-Do in the UAE and is

authorised to develop and promote the branch of karate throughout the country. This mandate falls under the Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Federation, with permission from the Minister of Youth and Sports. He grew awareness of the sport by offering training sessions at GMA with the support of the principal before

Above left: Ramalingam Kaliaperumal with Sensei Iwan Setiawan – President, Asian Pacific Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Federation. Top: Ramalingam Kaliaperumal with his medal from the World Championship in 2016.

Self-defence is very important, and karate helps students maintain their health and fitness. They can also face life head-on, without fear

Above: Ramalingam Kaliaperumal with Sensei Genzo Iwata – President, World Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Federation.

expanding to other schools in the UAE. GMA recently took part in a karate championship held in partnership with ESM, with Ramalingam’s students winning eight out of the 12 trophies across the competition’s four categories, though it is unlikely all the students will pursue the sport to its top level. Ramalingam extended his teaching to include self-defense classes for girls at the school, run twice a week. The number of attendees from Grades 9 to 12 varies, however, as students attend self-defense classes if they do not have other after-school activities. He said similar benefits of karate apply to his self-defense lessons; girls will improve their health and fitness and increase their confidence.

www.gemspeoplemag.com

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WELLBEING

Above left to right: Hardik Shah, Sophie Gernigon, Ashok Mehngi and Ratheesh Kandathil Veedu

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CHALLENGE

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hen GEMS Education’s insurance providers, Oman Insurance, offered the opportunity for a GEMS team to take part in the Oman Insurance Corporate Challenge powered by LivFit and RushA-Way, the School Support Centre Finance team jumped at the chance. The team, made up of Ashok Mehngi – Vice President Financial Reporting, Hardik Shah - Senior Manager, Strategy and Business Planning, Sophie Gernigon - Manager, Taxation and Financial Reporting, and Ratheesh Kandathil Veedu – Driver, bagged 6th place out of the 85 teams that participated in the challenge. Teams travelled between different locations around Dubai to complete various challenges which included mini golf, a wheelbarrow challenge, puzzle solving, and a memory retention challenge among others. “Not only was this a great fitness activity but it was also great for team bonding. We quickly learned whose skills lay where and worked together to complete the challenges. To come 6th place was a great accomplishment and we were all very proud. Thanks to LivFit for putting together this great event,“ said Ashok Mehngi.

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Teaching Tolerance Should Not Be A Fad! Although 2019 is the Year of Tolerance, Deema Al-Alami, Vice President Education — Arabic & Islamic, says it is a quality that should be continuously encouraged.

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olerance and empathy are crucial attributes a child needs to navigate in today’s globalised world, where media often polarises people and focuses on what sets us apart rather than what brings us together. I cannot think of a better place to teach my children and our students how to be tolerant than the United Arab Emirates. With over 200 nationalities residing in this diverse country, interactions with people from various nationalities daily is the norm. This unique set-up allows our own children and students to

experience first-hand what it means to be tolerant. Learning about others’ cultures and new languages at school and from friends, celebrating cultural and religious events with schoolmates and neighbours (different to one’s own) and being taught by teachers from around the world, nurtures this unique quality in our children and students.

Learning how to collaborate, interact, and accommodate the needs of others, transforms our students from citizens to global citizens This enriching and fully immersive experience in the UAE will not only benefit students in their educational journey but also in the future when they become active contributors to our economies. Learning how to collaborate, interact and accommodate the needs of others helps transform our students from citizens to global citizens. Therefore, I am a firm believer that teaching tolerance should be done in both a systematic and spontaneous way. Having a national campaign to celebrate tolerance is an incredible

systematic way that makes all citizens conscious of their actions and reactions to people who are different to themselves. Schools can raise students’ awareness of their tolerant behaviours, and continually and systematically expose them to opportunities and experiences at school that cultivate tolerance and, most importantly, celebrate it. This regular exposure will have a lifelong impact on our students’ social-emotional development and, hopefully, their ability to contribute to their communities. This systematic exposure paired with the day-to-day interactions in this diverse country, where people can experience the Emirati and Muslim culture while openly and freely celebrating their own unique culture is a distinctive and rare experience. These experiences enable students to become intrinsically tolerant and carry that attribute with them long after they leave the UAE to return home. In a relatively short span of time, a student in the UAE can celebrate and learn about Emirati cultural events (such as Haq Al Lailah), go to church to celebrate Easter, experience Diwali at school and learn about Ramadan – all of which are done in a respectful and open way. This for me, is a priceless opportunity for every student here and essential to the world we live in now. www.gemspeoplemag.com

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21/08/2019 11:25:51 AM


WELLBEING

Get Creative Uns Kattan, Head of Learning and Research at Jameel Arts Centre, and Antonia Carver, Director, Art Jameel, discuss the value of using art to cultivate wellbeing.

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ellbeing’ is certainly a buzzword right now. In June, the UAE government announced 90 different initiatives under the banner of the National Wellbeing Strategy of 2031, with specific attention given to mental health, life skills, positive social impact, and embracing cultural diversity. Equal care is going into the establishment, development, and support of arts and culture in the UAE. It’s now increasingly recognised that the two – creativity and wellbeing – go hand in hand. Until recently, the arts tended to be seen as a somewhat fluffy, optional add-ons to serious learning – but times are changing. Arts and creativity not only provide inclusive and engaging platforms for innovative learning methodologies but also nurture openness and inspire connected future generations. A Brookings Institute report published early this year analysed empirically for the first time how the arts can affect students’ wider development. To quote their findings: ”We find that a substantial increase in arts educational experiences has remarkable impacts on students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes. [School students given access to arts education in the study] experienced a 3.6 per cent reduction in disciplinary infractions,

an improvement of 13 per cent in standardised writing scores, and an increase of 8 per cent in their compassion for others.“ In other studies, arts education, and creative teaching practices in general are recognised as being uniquely placed to nurture the kinds of critical thinking and soft skills necessary for tomorrow’s complex, technologydriven reality. Add in the UAE’s focus on happiness, new technologies, and future-proofed education, and the arts become an even more vital tool for individual and collective growth. You could say we’re a little biased: we see daily how school children and youth spending time at Jameel Arts Centre transform creatively. Education lies at the heart of our foundation, Art Jameel. Located in Jaddaf Waterfront, Dubai, the Jameel Arts Centre features a range of curated solo and group exhibitions, an arts-themed library, and a dynamic public programme that includes daily tours and specialised workshops for schools alongside weekend workshops for families. Some of the works on show are just stunning in terms of the imagination and skills needed to produce them; the majority also inspire discussion and debate on social studies, the family, belonging, geo-politics, and more.

Top tips to embrace your own and your students’ creativity: Collaborate with an artist Attend an artist-led workshop, activity or talk for inspiration on creative, critical thinking; shed inhibitions and work on dynamic concepts and ideas. These conversations and situations often remind us that art is a means and not an end. Keep a journal Challenge yourself with keeping a journal to reflect and record thoughts. Find inspiration in the every day, in mundanity and in simplicity. Stay curious Curiosity fuels creativity! Attempt something new, consider different perspectives and opinions on subjects of interest and in problem-solving. Curiosity should not (and must not!) stop when we become adults but should rather translate into research and original thinking — and inspiring the same in others. Practice mindfulness A relaxed mind is a catalyst for productive thinking and ideas. Keep on keeping on! Nurture courage; develop resilience against a natural fear of failure. Time allows for opportunities for discipline and delving deeper towards finding better resolutions.

GEMS STUDENTS VISIT JAMEEL ARTS CENTRE In November 2018, students from GEMS Modern Academy participated in guided exhibition tours followed by an artist-led workshop. For more information visit: www.jameelartscentre.org and www.artjameel.org

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School Of Rock Four teachers from GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar discovered their mutual love of music, so forming a band was the next logical step.

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n the surface it wouldn’t seem like Head of Year 4 Cillian Gavin, Data Manager Julius Sequeira, Music Teacher Aashish Valsalen, and PE teacher Jehu Arroz have a lot in common. But put them together on a stage with their respective instruments, and GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar (GFM) has its very own staff band, which has yet to be named. ”We started playing together through different situations. I met Julius first and he mentioned that he plays the keyboard. That’s how we got into the idea of playing together. Once, I was setting up the drums and I needed help and that’s how I met Jehu and learned he plays the drums. Through similar conversations I met Cillian,“ said Aashish. BRINGING IT TOGETHER In February, GFM held a fringe festival and the four of them decided to play at the event. Following that performance, it was suggested that the band plays at the staff end of year function in June. ”I used to play at staff functions back in Ireland, and I thought: ‘Why retire so soon?’ We had this goal and a reason to jam together,“ said Cillian. In the two months leading up to the event the band focused on building a set list and getting used to playing together. ”We come from different countries and we chose to stick with

From left to right: Jehu Arroz (drums/vocals), Cillian Gavin (lead vocals/guitar), Julius Sequeira (vocals/ keyboard), Aashish Valsalen (bass/vocals).

the classics, like The Beatles. We have a mix of old and new music,“ said Jehu. Aashish said that playing in the band provides them an opportunity to connect with each other besides being at work. ”There are times where we have deadlines to meet, but even if we play for half an hour, it gets us out of that mindset of work, and we can relax for that time.“ Jehu added that he hoped by playing at the party, other teachers would be encouraged to join in and play music or take part in any of interests they have outside their job.

PURSUE YOUR PASSION ”If you have a talent you should follow your passion. It’s sometimes difficult to follow your passion and to make money out of it. If you have a day job you have to make time for what you love. If we get a chance to perform, we perform. We perform wherever we can,“ said Julius.

STUDENT INFLUENCE Following the performance at the fringe festival at the beginning of the year, students in the school have been extremely curious about the band, and Aashish said there seems to be a new-found respect for each of the members because they are no longer seen as ”just teachers“ – even though the band has only performed in front of students once. The students also seem to be more interested in learning to play music as a result. ”At the fringe festival, my students were looking at me like I had three heads! They were definitely shocked that I was on stage with an electric guitar in my hands,“ said Cillian. He added that after the end-of-year party, all the teachers know about the band and the secret is out. The next step is, he says, to get the students more familiar with the band. Ideally, he would like the band to play at more school events, such as the forthcoming National Day in December. www.gemspeoplemag.com

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Applicable for salary transfer account only and for customers who are new to bank subject to eligibility criteria. HSBC Premier, HSBC Advance and Personal Banking Ruby package customer offer terms and conditions apply. Issued by HSBC Bank Middle East Limited U.A.E. Branch, PO Box 66, Dubai, U.A.E. Regulated by the Central Bank of the U.A.E. for the purpose of this promotion and lead regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. CRN ADV070219. © Copyright. HSBC Bank Middle East Limited 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, on any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited.

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DOWNTIME

Get Reading FICTION Supper Club by Lara Williams

The Travelers by Regina Porter

This is a novel about hunger. Not so much the lack of food but the desire for more, the belief that there is more in the world to discover and taste than circumstance often allows – or permits. The story follows Roberta, a shy 30-something stuck in a meaningless job she hates but which her own inhibitions prevent her from leaving. When she and her new work colleague decide to host a supper club in random and often illicit venues in her town, she attracts an entire community of women seeking to greater role in their own lives. Funny, daring and highly original.

This ambitious debut novel from American writer Regina Porter begins with a warning of sorts: a two-page list of characters. That’s the first indication of the sprawling, multidimensional nature of the story, which charts the fates of two families beginning in the 1950s and stretching all the way to the Obama administration – with frequent intersections along the way. It features, among others, pennypinching lawyers, estranged half-brothers, a Vietnam war pilot and scholars moving to France to save their marriage, all creating a rich, humorous tapestry of modern American life.

‘This Man Booker Prize winning fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel is an interesting story of hope, tragedy and survival. When reading it, I was reminded of a line from Emily Dickinson's poem that says: ‘hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all’ Recommended by Mr. Bishal Rai - English Teacher Cambridge International School, Dubai

NON-FICTION What Am I Doing With My Life? by Stephen Law In the age of Instagram and Facebook posts, it’s easy to think that everyone else is having a better time than you are – that other people are living a life of adventure and new experiences. The reality, of course, is that no one’s life looks much like the edited constructs of social media. Stephen Law draws on the wisdom of Plato, Kant, Kierkegaard and other philosophical greats to place the modern desire for the “best life” in its proper context. Whatever you are doing with your life, he says, make sure you have the right benchmarks.

KIDS

A Wild Child’s Guide to Endangered Animals by Millie Marotta Highly recommended for parent-child time, this colourful and engaging book – packed with illustrations and countless facts – looks at a selection of species around the world that are at risk of extinction. As the impact of climate change, rainforest degradation and pollution threatens natural habitats, shining a light on the likes of the sea otter, the hump-headed wrasse and the remarkable Chinese pangolin can help inspire a love of wildlife and an appreciation of the planet’s many ecosystems. As important as it is enriching.

If you have a book recommendation, submit it to magazines@gemseducation.com 50

ISSUE 10 | SEPTEMBER 2019

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SECRET LIVES

A Look At...

What Our Colleagues Get Up To Outside Of Work Teaching choir is my passion and my way of expressing the music within me. I am a choir conductor and organist for the Filipino Community Choir at St. Mary’s Church, Dubai. Pope Francis’s visit to the UAE earlier this year was an historic event. I was given the privilege to be part of the choir and sing the responsorial psalm as the soloist at the mass, which was attended by hundreds of thousands of people and was televised worldwide. It was a very challenging yet fulfilling experience. As a musician, this was one of the most humbling experiences, and one I will treasure forever. Alvin Mangoma, Music Teacher, GEMS Winchester School – Dubai

One of my favourite hobbies is fishing, even though some people regard it as boring or an old man’s sport. I go every Friday or in the holidays with my family and friends, and I enjoy it a lot. Every year, I go fishing down in Al Hudayriat Island either in my boat or just off the shoreline. To my mind, each time I go fishing is a unique experience. I have caught everything from kingfish to cobia, queenfish to jush, and baby sharks to groupers. The most memorable was the eight-pound brown spotted reef cod. Brown spotted reef cods are common in the UAE but catching an eight-pound one is very rare. It was a struggle trying to pull the rod since the fish was strong and trying to swim away, but every second of it was worth it. Asma Rashed, UAE Social Studies Teacher, The Cambridge High School – Abu Dhabi

Whenever possible, I like to get out and ride my motorcycle. It’s not always about speed for me; anything that makes me feel free and gets my blood and adrenaline racing is worth exploring. Riding is a good stress buster that helps improve mental and physical health. Riding to the Hanle Observatory in the Leh Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir through the world’s highest motorable pass, the mighty Khardung La, was my dream ride. I will never forget those 11 days of adventure. I don’t know whether I will be able to travel the whole world but in the near future I want to ride from Dubai to Egypt, spreading a message of ‘Education for All’. Avinash Surve, Academic Coordinator, GEMS Modern Academy

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Since arriving at GEMS American Academy - Abu Dhabi, I have been able to continue my career in American football. Along with playing in the Emirates American Football League for the Abu Dhabi Wildcats, I have also been fortunate enough to play several international games while representing the UAE. Over the last few years we have played Sri Lanka, India, Romania, Egypt, and more. As an international teacher, I have been very lucky to live in countries that have allowed me to keep playing this amazing sport. As a 38-year-old father of two, I am thrilled to have the chance to have my kids support me and cheer me on all over the world.

I got into sneakers in the early 90s when I started playing basketball. Inspired by the streets of Berlin where I grew up and the fast-growing urban subculture, I fell in love with basketball, hip-hop, street art, graffiti and Michael Jordan sneakers. My parents could not afford the newest Jordans, so I would sell newspapers in our neighbourhood to earn enough money, or I simply picked up a oneon-one basketball game to win a pair. From there, my passion for streetwear and urban subculture grew and I started travelling around the globe, especially to Japan and Korea to find rare sneakers. I hope that all young sneakerheads are also inspired by the messages behind the sneakers, and not only by the status symbol. One thing is certain: every sneaker tells a story.

Justin Kirby, Science Teacher, GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi

Deniza Ibrahimi-Dzaferovic, PYP PE Educator, GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi

In my spare time I do ballroom and Latin dancing. I have been a ballroom dancer for the past 12 years and have competed in many national competitions around my home country of the UK. My highlights include being a five-time Blackpool Medallist of the Year and being placed fourth at the British Championships. I have found a great dance school here in Dubai, where I continue to train, and hope to get back on the competition circuit soon. I am very passionate about encouraging both girls and boys to dance. Not only do the children learn to be dancers, but it also teaches them to be respectful to each other and how to work with others. Ballroom dancing is taught as an ECA is some schools, however I would like it to be available in all. Natasha Lamb, Events and Marketing Officer, GEMS Wellington International School

www.gemspeoplemag.com

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VARKEY FOUNDATION

Changing Lives Through Education We take a look at the initiatives the Varkey Foundation undertakes to contribute toward its mission: ensuring every child has a good teacher.

”W

e are the Varkey Foundation. We believe in a quality education for every child. That’s why, together with our partners, we work to build the status of teachers to ensure that the quality of teaching is enhanced, and outcomes will improve. Teachers matter. Every day, in classrooms around the world, teachers do amazing things. But too often, their work goes unrecognised and unrewarded. We also know that there is a shortage of teachers across the world — with 69 million more teachers

needed to provide universal primary and secondary education by 2030. We believe that teachers are critical to our global future. Through our work across the world, we’ve seen how great teachers can transform the lives of their students and their wider communities for the better. That’s why, together with our partners, we work to build their status in order to raise standards of education for children across the world.“

SOME OF OUR PROJECTS

Leadership & Innovation Programme — Argentina Transforming schools using cutting edge technology, skill-oriented workshops and highly trained local teams.

Generation Z: The First Global Citizens We wanted to hold up a mirror to Generation Z and simply record the reflection that they give us – providing some illumination to help us all understand them better

Global Teacher Prize An annual US $1 million award presented to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

Varkey Teacher Ambassadors Programme As well as having a voice at policy level, Varkey Teacher Ambassadors work together on global projects, reaching an increasing number of teachers and children across the globe.

Global Parents Survey The Global Parents Survey is the biggest and most comprehensive survey of parents’ hopes, fears and aspirations around the world.

Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF) The Global Education & Skills Forum brings together world leaders from the public, private and social sectors and seeks solutions to achieve education, equity and employment for all.

Global Teacher Prize The Assembly A Global Teacher Prize Concert where famous pop artists thanked teachers for their unsung work.

Atlantis Group The Varkey Foundation created the Atlantis Group, an invitation-only body which brings together former ministers of education and heads of government from countries and regions around the world.

56

ISSUE 10 | SEPTEMBER 2019

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INITIATIVES

GEMS APPSTORE® is here GEMS AppStore® establishes a unified view of all the education apps in the GEMS eco-system and helps schools in selecting best-fit apps for their education needs based on curriculum, category, subject/area, etc. Current features:

One-Stop-Shop for Education Apps View all educa on apps (external and internal) being used in the GEMS Eco-system.

Advanced Search Search apps based on curriculum, category, market segment, subject/area, ra ngs, etc.

For any queries or requests to amend app related data for your school, contact apps@gemseducation.com

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School-wise App View Gain insights on specific apps used in schools, license type, adop on levels, cost, etc.

View and Share Feedback Make informed decisions based on ra ngs and user feedback on individual apps.

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ISSUE 10 | AUGUST SEPTEMBER 20192019

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• • • •

This voucher is valid only for one person. Can only be used once. Not available in combination with other promotion or special offer. Not available for resale or refund

GEMS People_Coupons_Issue001_10864980.indd 8

PLEASE TEAR HERE

Terms & Conditions:

This voucher is valid only for one person. Can only be used once. Not available in combination with other promotion or special offer. Not available for resale or refund

20/08/2019 06:05:12 PM


10%

OUR LOCATIONS

My SWR

CASHBACK

On ‘My SWR’ App

DOWNLOAD FOR FREE

A

www.swrhospitality.com info@swrhospitality.com 04 521 5900

T JUS NS E NAM MOTIO O T PRO W FE

Ladies Night EVERY WEDNESDAY & FRIDAY, 6PM ONWARDS Ladies enjoy 3 complimentary drinks OR can go all out with our unlimited drinks package including premium drinks for just 100 AED!

Teacher, Teacher EVERY THURSDAY, 1PM - 9PM You’ve made it to the weekend?! Enjoy 30% discount on the total bill! *Valid ID required, only available for teachers.

/ lepetitbelgemotorcity

www.lepetitbelge.com For information please call 04 521 5900

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Issue 10 - September 2019  

Issue 10 - September 2019  

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