I am Hanan Shaker, from the South of Lebanon. I am a math teacher and coordinator at AL Ofoq Al Jadeed School, and proud to have become a Master FIRST-ADLX facilitator and ROOTS consultant for Al Ofoq Al Jadeed. What has pushed me to sit to write this case study on applying FIRST-ADLX is this desire to share a successful and fruitful experience with all the educators worldwide and to motivate them to seek change at all times.
Let me first confess that being part of a magnificent and one of the most prestigious schools in the region has definitely helped in making my experience implementing FIRST-ADLX a success!
I have been working at Al Ofoq Al Jadeed School for about two decades and throughout all those years, Al Ofoq Al Jadeed has never ceased to surprise me in the way it pushes its team steps forward for ongoing professional development and equipping them with all needed tools and skills. Luckily enough, in Fall 2017, I was the one chosen by Al Ofoq Al Jadeed to join ROOTS, a Roadmap Of Outstanding Teachers, an educational conference which was sponsored by NAMA foundation, that was held in Malaysia where I got to work with a very cooperative team of coaches and mentors from SeGa group, who always supported and followed me up through my pre, through and post-trip.
Al Ofoq Al Jadeed is a leading school in the country whose mission is to be always a pioneer in creating a distinguished educational environment in our community in order to prepare a proud, Muslim individual who is disciplined, patriotic, passionate about her / his culture, and fully equipped with the 21st-century skills –a lifelong learner.
Having this mission engraved in every member working at Al Ofoq Al Jadeed, and being motivated by our principal to apply every new in the field of education, I’ve delightedly started to implement FIRST – ADLX Framework in the hope it would make some good and radical changes in creating a growth mindset among our teachers and learners as well. However, I still recall when I first started implementing FIRST-ADLX upon my arrival from Malaysia how I was excited of what I considered a treasure and a breakthrough to education, and how I thought that I could transmit my feelings to the trainees, though at that time my mission was restricted to applying rather than transferring FIRST- ADLX Framework. Then, I was confronted with the first challenge when some teachers considered this kind of teaching and even the whole program as unimportant ─ this kind of resistance might be understood and normal when CHANGE is introduced, for people often favour comfort zones. One of those resistive teachers, who was an A+ student back in school, said:
“Students learn whatever the tool is; I was taught with no activities and teachers used the “lecturing method” and I could excel. Students, who want to learn, learn no matter what; it’s their responsibility to concentrate and understand the material and this should not be the teacher’s job!”
However, this very teacher herself, who claimed that FIRST-ADLX was unimportant, designed and facilitated amazing and engaging activities for her students later on. This change in her attitude and some others’ didn’t occur suddenly; it happened slowly after a few workshops, with the influence of the positive atmosphere dominating. Once, the art teacher left one of the sessions saying, “The positive energy overwhelmed me for the whole day.”
Mrs. Rasha, a physics teacher said, “It’s the best workshop I’ve ever attended.”
Ms. Dina, a supervisor, said, “We learnt in a safe environment.”
Amani Shams, a Math teacher, said, “We are having fun here; we took no notice of time!”
Below are some photos of soft skills workshops facilitated during wave I.
Those workshops helped teachers develop some soft skills, acquire some teaching strategies, alter their mindset etc… And although the group work had always been applied in our school, teachers started to apply it with greater attention and plan for it more carefully. In their lesson plans, teachers started to always consider the activities and energizers; they were motivated even to surf the net for more innovative ideas for other various activities. Astonishingly, they even started to exchange thoughts and ideas about activities, and this enriched their experiences; they started to learn from each other without hesitation or any sense of embarrassment.
This change in the teachers’ attitude and behavior was clearly noticed by our learners and helped improve the learners’ academic performance and results eventually. The graph below shows a clear change and rise in the math grades of some seven graders after FIRST-ADLX. March 2017.
Another satisfying outcome of WAVE I is a case of one teacher who used to believe that doing activities was a mere waste of time; however, the supervisor insisted on having her try to facilitate a session applying the newly given method.
While attending the session, the supervisor heard one of the learners commenting:
“We covered more material today than usual; we enjoyed this session; we wish all our Arabic classes are as such.”
The teacher smiled and nodded her head admitting that she did give more material and learners obviously enjoyed the activities and the group work.
Such satisfying outcomes and feedback from the educators boosted me when I at times had to feel tired doing the mission alone. The positive comments and remarks from the educators made me feel even more determined to transfer Wave II of FIRST- ADLX Framework in the best way possible. And, I could accomplish this mission with a great deal of success. All the 60 educators at Al Ofoq Al Jadeed attended the 4 transfers. I divided them into four groups: the first group included a mix of teachers who teach all subjects from all cycles, the second group was made of cycles 3 and 4 teachers, the third group had cycles 1 and 2 teachers, and the fourth one was of the kindergarten teachers.
The next episode will be about the impact of FIRST-ADLX on teachers and how they changed into educators.
Prepared by: Ms. Hanan Shaker – Math Teacher & Supervisor, FIRST-ADLX Master Facilitator.
Ms. Lina Zamzam English language teacher and supervisor at Al Ofoq Al Jadeed school