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Sep - Oct, 2018. VOL.6 ISSUE 1










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MISSION STATEMENT “Our vision is to equip educators with the materials and tools to function optimally inside and out of the classroom. Teach Middle East Magazine provides a space for educators to connect, find inspiration, resources and forums that are aimed at enhancing their teaching techniques, methodologies and personal development.� TEACH MIDDLE EAST MAGAZINE

Mathletics is an award-winning digital maths resource created by educational experts, specifically designed for personalised, blended teaching and learning. With a vast range of curriculum-aligned learning resources and the Multiverse times tables challenge, children have all the tools they need to become successful learners. Instant feedback, automated reports and easy customisation and ‘Assign’ functionalities allow teachers to plan ahead. Mathletics’ flexible content makes it the perfect companion for your classroom!

Mathseeds is a digital maths resource, created specifically for the needs of early maths learners. It combines highly structured lessons with fun motivational elements that keep children engaged and keen to learn.

Find out more about our resources and try for free at


Sep - Oct 2018








06 The process and problems of selfevaluation in schools 08 A Profile of a ‘True’ School Leader in the Digital Age 10 Using your strengths to meet the demands of your role

22 Getting To The Heart Of Assessment at Hartland international School Dubai 25 Discover a treasure trove of information about the UAE 26 Gratnells at BETT MEA

11 How to Make Best Use of Teaching Assistants

28 Winning the competition for children’s attention

12 “What’s the story?” Using context to develop reasoning and computational fluency

29 Should I stay or should I go? Tips on planning your next adventure.

14 Fostering a coaching culture in international schools 16 Connect with fellow educators, join the Twitter conversation with #TeachUAEchat

30 The Importance of Play-based Learning in Early Years 32 Understanding Sensory Processing 34 Fiona Cottam Discusses why new schools need robust assessment processes.

17 Top Reasons to Attend The Middle East School Leadership Conference 36 Curriculum Enrichment ideas for Educators in The Middle East 2018. 18 Texthelp – Leading The Way in Literacy Support in Education 20 Establishing an Inquiry Learning mindset in Mathematics Classrooms


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38 Understanding Organic Learning 40 Running with the vision at Shining Star International School Abu Dhabi








44 A moment with Mohammed Bamatraf


47 Encoding Success 48 Time Management Tips To Help Avoid Teacher Burnout 50 Mind That Pain

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Sep - Oct 2018

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“ There are some things one can only achieve by a deliberate leap in the opposite direction” FRANZ KAFKA

Others of you, may not have taken such a great leap this year, but by moving schools, grades or even locations, within the Middle East, you have made a change nonetheless which will also thrust you into the unknown. Welcome back. It is often said that our greatest achievements lie on the opposite side of conquering our fears and leaping forward into our dreams. I would like to encourage you to make a deliberate leap in the opposite direction of your fears and embrace all the possibilities that lie ahead of you in this new academic year 2018-2019. The Middle East is an exhilarating place to live and work. There is always something new to experience both inside and outside of the school and the classroom. There are always new and exciting initiatives afoot. To make sure you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in education, subscribe to Teach Middle East Magazine’s weekly newsletter and keep checking the website ( www. regularly, as it is constantly being updated with the latest education news and articles

Sep - Oct 2018

Teach Middle East Magazine® EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Leisa Grace Wilson +971 555 029582

It is the start of a new school year and for many educators reading this magazine, this school year marks a leap into the unknown. Many of you have moved yourself and possibly your families to a new part of the world to start a new life and experience something different. If this is you, then welcome to the Middle East.

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One of the best ways to increase your network and make valuable connections, is by attending some of the many education events held in the region annually. It is also important to take advantage of these events for your continued professional development. There is an events section on the Teach Middle East website which lists the “Must attend” education events across the region. The Middle East School Leadership Conference takes place on October 9-10, 2018 in Dubai. This event will bring together the region’s school leaders under the theme: LEADING SCHOOLS IN THE 21ST CENTURY-COLLABORATION OVER COMPETITION. To learn more about this event and to take part, please visit On February 23, 2019 Teach Middle East Magazine, will host the third annual Middle East Maths Teachers Conference in Dubai. This event has now become a staple on the academic calendar and a must attend event for mathematics educators from across the region and beyond. Visit www.middleeastmaths. com for more information. The best conversations take place online with connected educators, so head over to our social media channels to get connected with like-minded educators and grow your network : like us on Facebook @Teach Middle East Magazine, follow us on twitter and Instagram @teachmiddleeast, let’s keep the conversation going online. Leisa Grace Wilson

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Pandian +971 50 5081 431 HEAD OF ADVERTISING

Richard Simapili Business Development Manager +971 55 8015 334 PUBLISHED BY

Moftah Publishing FZ LLC (Registered at Fujairah Creative City)

ADVERTISING GENERAL ENQUIRIES WEBSITE Copyright 2018 Moftah Publishing FZ LLC. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the permission of Moftah Publishing FZ LLC. Where opinion is expressed, it is that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial views of the publisher or Teach Middle East Magazine. All information in Teach Middle East Magazine is checked and verified to the best of the publisher’s ability, however, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any mistake or omission enclosed in the publication.

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elf-evaluation is not simply a process, or an event sparked by an external stimulus, but should be the core ingredient of continuous improvement in every school where the teachers and school leaders are the key agents of change. Get self-evaluation right … and the school functions like a well-oiled machine where everyone knows and understands their own roles and responsibilities, expectations and boundaries are defined and clearly articulated, and activities have a purpose. When this happens, the evidence collected makes a meaningful contribution to the school’s evaluation of its own performance and feeds into a cycle of leadership decision making to drive improvement. Unfortunately, in recent years, the term ‘self-evaluation’ has become synonymous with inspection, audit and accreditation for too many people. As a result, the power and potential of true self-evaluation is often lost in translation, especially when used as a management tool rather than a driver for strategic thinking and action.

In our experience, too many schools put a lot of focus on micro and macro activities with the result that selfevaluation often becomes an onerous process that is perceived as a burden with the resulting impact of overload on teachers and leaders. Every school should use their valuable time and energy to make self-evaluation a meaningful process that works for them in their own unique context. If this doesn’t happen then monitoring processes are often carried out without a clear purpose and the collection of more and more evidence starts to take over from other important activities and functions in the school. Sep - Oct 2018



This approach focuses on the detail of what is happening in individual classrooms and is typically characterised by a high volume of lesson observations, work scrutiny and student voice activities.


Your school’s selfevaluation should be driven internally and should not be a reaction to external factors and influences.

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This approach focuses on the whole school taking the school improvement plan as the big picture to drive self-evaluation and usually concentrates on analysis of data from assessments and examinations but can also involve parental and local community evaluations.

MEANS-END A means to an end is something that is done only to produce a desired result and is therefore any action (the means) carried out for the purpose of achieving something else (an end). This approach focuses on how well the school’s evaluation strengthens its improvement planning and has an impact on the quality of students’ learning.

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Schools are living dynamic organisations that can change very quickly and it is so important to remember that one small change, whether in staffing or the composition of an individual class of students, can have a significant ripple effect throughout the whole school. The biggest mistake for any school leader is to assume that one size fits all and that what has worked for them previously, will automatically transfer into a new context. This means that school leaders need to develop flexibility in both the process of self-evaluation and the behaviour of their people towards selfevaluation. Therefore, one of the first things any school leader must do is to accept responsibility for setting the tone through the way they themselves choose to behave towards selfevaluation. We have identified six main ways that school leaders often behave – which of these metaphorical characters best describes your behaviour at the moment and what does this mean for your school?

When leaders adopt the caterpillar behaviour towards selfevaluation, they wait and expect others to come and tell them what is happening. A lot of time, energy and effort can be wasted because everything becomes fragmented and reactive with no clear strategic purpose.

This behaviour towards self-evaluation is typically associated with a flurry of activity where staff are involved in a constant cycle of lesson observations, work scrutiny, data analysis and other monitoring activities. Leaders ‘buzz around’ in circles like a busy bee trying to collect as much evidence as possible but what purpose does this serve and at what point does it stop telling you anything new?

Ninja behaviour is when the school’s most senior leaders take on the mantle and responsibility of self-evaluation personally and start to believe they have to do everything themselves if they want to achieve results. This is dangerous because it can create fractures in the school and affect its capacity to improve.

Behaving as the all-seeing owl, leaders realise the importance of getting as broad a picture as possible of the school’s performance and start to develop a 360-degree view of what is happening. This requires joined-up thinking and processes with clear lines of accountability to bring middle leaders into self-evaluation and make sure they do not miss something important.

Stepping outside the school will give an external perspective on its performance. By behaving like a wolf, leaders will get a more balanced view and are more likely to recognise potential threats and weaknesses, although the danger is that they develop a predator/ prey relationship with staff that can undermine relationships.

If leaders don’t like what they see, they may decide to retreat back into their shell for a period of time. This turtle behaviour provides an opportunity for self-reflection but continued withdrawal from active participation is not sustainable and will create confusion and instability across the school.

The way all stakeholders behave towards self-evaluation is a critical factor in its success in driving improvement in any school. When self-evaluation is accepted as an integral part of daily school life, it is a process with meaning and purpose that becomes a force for development and improvement. In this scenario, self-evaluation will always start with the key decisions that have been taken by the school’s leadership, set in the context of their individual school. Put simply, the school will be collecting the right evidence – for the right things – at the right time – to measure and evaluate the impact of their leadership decisions and actions on students’ outcomes.

Self-evaluation is not – and never should be – a replica for inspection! This all sounds great in principle but, given the reality of school life and all the challenges that schools face every day, is it really possible to embed selfevaluation so that it brings meaning and purpose without overloading staff and creating mountains of additional paperwork? We believe it is and are going to share this with you in a series of articles over the next year, where we will be drawing on our combined experience of over 50 years in educational improvement,

to present some different ways of thinking supported by practical tips and techniques. But … before we start looking at some of the solutions, let’s begin by being totally honest about some of the most significant problems associated with self-evaluation, bearing in mind that different schools will be experiencing these to a greater or lesser extent. • The school treats self-evaluation as an event rather than an ongoing process. This is usually triggered by a reactive response to an external stimulus, such as inspection or an accreditation/ validation visit. • The school is collecting vast amounts of data to evidence it’s self-evaluation, but this is often considered to be monitoring for the sake of it and creates overload for staff. • The school’s senior leaders are committed to self-evaluation but have not articulated the purpose clearly enough to engage and motivate middle leaders and other stakeholders to make a meaningful contribution to the process. • The school’s self-evaluation doesn’t tell you anything new. If it simply reinforces and/or validates what you already knew, then the focus and purpose is not correct in the first place. • The school’s self-evaluation is disconnected from the school’s improvement plan and from the management activities that support the school, such as appraisal.

From working with schools across the globe, we have seen the same patterns arise time and time again. It doesn’t matter what curriculum you are teaching or how your school structure is organised, there are 3 underlying principles that need to be established. Self-evaluation needs to be 1 integrated into the daily life of the school so that you collect the right evidence from the right people at the right time.

Self-evaluation depends on 2 developing the people in the school so that they all behave as leaders of learning and improvement in their respective roles.

school needs to have a purpose 3 The for self-evaluation that takes

account of its unique context and focuses on the right things.

In other words, if you want your school to improve and keep soaring, you need to know what you are doing and why you are doing it – you need to establish a strategy for evidencebased school-led self-evaluation.

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Administrator's Corner



rogressive schools consistently lament the dearth of capable leaders who can take up the reins at the top and sustain a robust stride towards continued school improvement. One of the challenges facing schools in the respective context is the changing role and skill set of leaders that are expected to thrive in an ubiquitous Digital world. For example, a significant requirement for tomorrow’s school leaders is the penchant for service that goes beyond the professional demands of the assigned function and opens horizons for permeation of altruistic thought and meaningful contributions to the wider goal of ensuring a harmonious existence within the global community for mitigating/eliminating the chance of a misstep that might jeopardise a school’s future in an increasingly

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Sep - Oct 2018



‘sensitised’ and ‘connected’ world. Additionally, most of the literature on leadership has been written before the dawn of the Digital Age and its disruptive influences. Consequently, established leadership theories and conventional management practices are being relentlessly tested in an era where profitability is no longer a guarantee of sustainability and huge conglomerates are constantly looking over their shoulders with nervous anticipation of becoming irrelevant from ambitious start-ups. Furthermore, gaining a degree is no longer considered ‘essential’ for career success as ‘abandonment’ has become ‘fashionable’ due to the ‘glaring’ achievements of ‘dropouts’, who continue to receive ‘rock star’

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status within the start-up realm. This is being reinforced by the huge influx of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and core emphasis on specific skills, rather than broad academic credentials. The mandate for future school leaders increases in complexity when the exponential strides made by Artificial Intelligence (AI) are considered with the prospect of incorporating them eventually as ‘employees’, rather than, the status-quo of being considered as ‘advanced’ machines which have no place in schools. Consequently, lessons from the past are largely becoming irrelevant as there is no reliable precedence for a Digital world that is constantly being reshaped by innovations that

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Teach Middle East Magazine - Sep-Oct 2018 Issue 1 Volume 6  

This is a free sample of Teach Middle East Magazine issue "Sep-Oct 2018 Issue 1 Volume 6" Download full version from: Apple App Store: http...

Teach Middle East Magazine - Sep-Oct 2018 Issue 1 Volume 6  

This is a free sample of Teach Middle East Magazine issue "Sep-Oct 2018 Issue 1 Volume 6" Download full version from: Apple App Store: http...

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