Towards Linking Research to Educational Development: A Project Experience by: Rima Karami, Rola Katerji, and Diana Sarieddine, ICSEI 2020
The literature showed a near absence of research culture and knowledge production in the Arab world resulting lack of reliable scientific research output, and solutions to the pressing problems of the professional practitioner to face the challenges of their work and play the role assigned to them in their educational institution and the development of their community (The Broken Cycle, 2014; El Amine, 2009). Added to this reality is a case of blind quotation of the concepts and educational practices prevailing in the Western world without looking at the extent of its adaptation to the Arab context and priorities of educators in it. This paper presents the experience of TAMAM project as a research laboratory that combines research and development with the aim of producing knowledge rooted in the context of the Arab school and its social environment that takes into account the specificity of the context and its educational institutions and meets the requirements of educational reform and community development. This paper illustrates the challenges and lessons learned from the use of action research to design a research-based development program model and on the experience gained from educational institutions that participated in the project.
Contextualizing and Elevating Student Leadership in the Arab Region: The journey of a research partnership. BELMAS Annual Conference -2018.
Karami-Akkary, R. & Mansour, S. (July 2018). Contextualizing and Elevating Student Leadership in the Arab Region: The journey of a research partnership. BELMAS-2018 . Presentation at the British Educational Leadership, Management Association (BELMAS) Annual Conference: “Education Policy and Sustainability: global perspectives from the field of educational leadership.” Beaumont Estate, Windsor, United Kingdom
Uprisings across the Arab region have evidenced youth’s discontent with the status quo and the reality of exclusion from public life and participation in their immediate realities. In schools, the status of youth has not been any different. Nonetheless, there has been an increasing interest in and evidence for the integration and participation of students in various aspects of schools as active contributors who can shape the process of teaching and learning. The study presents insight on the practices of student leadership from a collaborative action research project in a Lebanese public school participating in a university-based research and development project for school improvement. The presentation will: (1) examine the current nature of student leadership activities in this school within its national policy context, (2) discuss the challenges that impede the integration of student leadership activities in school, and (3) describe a contextual program for developing student leadership within a school-university research partnership. The study found that students do not have a say in school, particularly in processes that influence their immediate realities. They are not actively involved as partners in the teaching and learning process and in its improvement. Instead, students are positioned as beneficiaries of school efforts, such as efforts to create opportunities for active learning and extra and co-curricular activities. Some of the reported challenges to integrate student leadership activities in this school are: traditional and hierarchical school structures, accountability pressures and demands, time and limiting assumptions about students and their abilities. Through collaborative action research, the school improvement team developed and is implementing an improvement plan to integrate student leadership activities. Insight from this research partnership and understanding of international best practices provided evidence for the preliminary development of a contextual program for student leadership.
Contextualizing teacher leadership for sustainable school-based improvement in the Arab region. BELMAS Annual Conference-By Rima Karami Akkary – 2018
Karami-Akkary, R. (July 2018) Contextualizing teacher leadership for sustainable school-based improvement in the Arab region. BELMAS 2018. Presentation at the British Educational Leadership, Management Association (BELMAS) Annual Conference; “Education Policy and Sustainability: global
This paper presents an alternative model for building teachers’ leadership capacity to promote sustainable school-based improvement grounded in the context of the Arab region. The model counters dominant ineffective approach to professional development delivered through top-down and large-scale reforms in this region. Professional development is mostly short, neglects teachers’ professional learning and emotional needs, focuses on decontextualized and disconnected technical skills, lacks any form of follow up and institutional support that ensures the transfer of new knowledge to practice, and treats teachers as passive executors rather than leaders of reform. As a result, most of the teachers in this context are dependent learners who lack agency as well as competence to implement and lead improvement initiatives. The grounded and contextual leadership capacity building model was developed through the TAMAM Project (www.tamamproject.org); a research and development initiative launched at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon in 2007. The project aimed to design a capacity building model that promotes the leadership capacities of teachers and empowers them to lead and implement sustainable school-based improvement. It has received large and long-term funding that allowed for the cumulative production of knowledge and the development of a network of professionals, including teachers, policy makers and researchers who are engaged in its research and development activities. The contextualized capacity building model was developed after several iterations of research and development, responding to the local professional needs and challenges of participating teachers and schools. It builds the leadership capacity of teachers in a way that links their individual professional learning goals with school-wide improvement priorities. The model focuses on a set of competencies integrated in a job-embedded professional learning experiences delineating the process of school-based improvement. They include reflective dialogue and practice, de-privatization and collaboration, inquiry, knowledge production and documentation, evidence-based decision making and evolving design planning. Teachers acquire leadership capacity and are provided an extended experiential learning opportunity where they plan for and implement school improvement initiative. As such, teachers develop their system understanding and view of learning and leading, while sustaining their motivation to learn and commitment to change. The model and its approach can be used to enrich pre-service teacher training programs. Its preliminary impact invites those involved in school reform in the region to include it as part of any capacity building program, supplementing the technical focus of these programs.
Dealing with Wastage: Building the Capacity of Teachers – GASER, Manamah, Bahrain- 2017
The education wastage has various manifestations – notably the low level of academic achievement and performance of students – leading to academic failures and dropouts, which is a clear indicator of the low quality and inefficiency of education in most Arab countries. According to international scientific studies, the teacher is one of the most important factors behind the poor performance of the student compared to other external elements related to the institution, and this explains why we always see a disparity in the output of education in schools, despite the similar circumstances. Thus appeared the thought behind using methods to prepare teachers to acquire the basic skills that will activate their role as an influential agent and a key player in the development of the educational system, and in particular thinking about developing programs for their in-service training. Based on indicators of the quality of education and student performance, this paper presents the idea of the TAMAM project at the American University of Beirut, which was launched in 2007. TAMAM adopts a school-based approach to develop believes that help educators access solutions to educational problems which is primarily the responsibility of the teacher. This paper presents the model designed by the TAMAM project to build the leadership capacity of teachers. It reviews the results of a procedural research conducted by the team directed to the project to examine the effectiveness of an approach that aims to develop the teacher’s ability to think, inquire, solve problems, and continuous sustainable reform within their institution.