UAE teachers build new partnerships with UK schools under the British Council’s connecting classrooms programme

Published November 10th, 2009 - 02:58 GMT

New international school partnerships that give students in UAE and the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />UK the opportunity to learn directly from each other about their respective cultures are this week being formed under the British Council’s global Connecting Classrooms programme.


Teachers from schools based in Derbyshire in the UK are visiting UAE (07 – 10 Nov) to meet for the first time teachers from their potential new partner schools in UAE.

The six new UAE schools participating in the Programme are:

Khadeeja School, Ajman

Othman bin Afan School, Umm Al Quwain

Al KhansaSchool, Dubai

Al LisailySchool, Dubai

Al ShafeiSchool, Dubai

Al EdreesiSchool, Dubai


During the four day Contact Seminar being held at Dubai the teachers will finalise their new partnerships and develop a joint curriculum project for their students to take forward. The new schools joining the programme will form ‘cluster’ partnerships between groups of 9 schools. This will give the schools more scope to work on projects they are particularly interested in and help to ensure the long-term sustainability of the partnership.


Discussion sessions will give the teachers the opportunity to build a shared understanding of the cultural differences between them and their different education systems. The teachers will also participate in a school visit to Al Khansa School to attend classes and meet with the students and teachers. They will also sample some of the sights and culture of the Middle East with a tour of Dubai’s Bastakiya area.


There are now more than 200 schools in the Middle East and the UK operating in partnerships since Connecting Classrooms was introduced into the Middle East in 2006, with plans to increase that number by a further 180 over the next two years, 21 of the current participating schools are based in UAE. 


Connecting Classrooms aims to improve trust and understanding between students living in different societies, by linking schools around the world with schools in the UK. By working on joint curriculum projects students have an engaging and motivating way to learn about the world in which they live and to help prepare them for their future role as active global citizens, while teachers have the opportunity to share and learn new professional skills.


At the Contact Seminar, Eman Lutfi Jamil Hussien a teacher from Al Khamael Model School for Girls, Madinat Zayed which already has a Connecting Classrooms partnership with Shirebrook Community College in the UK described how her students’ joint curriculum project on culture and traditions had a positive impact and enabled her students to have a better perception of their partner country and its people.


She said: “My students prepared postcards which focussed on traditions and family life in the UAE and exchanged them with the students at Shirebrook. The fact that the project was done as part of the school’s curriculum greatly helped in terms of better value added to my students’ education. They have now understood what it means to be a ‘Global Citizen’. I personally, gained a lot of experience by sharing best practises with my counterparts in the UK. I was delighted to visit and meet the teachers and students of Shirebrook when I participated in a Study Tour that was organised by the British Council as part of the Connecting Classrooms programme. The visit to UK was an eye opener for me.”


Amy Cottage, Regional Programme Manager Schools for the Middle East said:


‘Contact seminars are an exciting time for teachers as they mark the real start to an international schools partnership.


‘This is the first time teachers from the participating schools have the opportunity to meet and to begin to share their knowledge, culture and skills. For many of the UK teachers this week’s visit will be the first time they will have visited the Middle East and experienced its hospitality.


‘The British Council’s successful and expanding Connecting Classrooms Programme is now the largest international schools programme in the Middle East and works in partnership to support a country’s national education strategy.


‘I look forward to seeing these new partnerships flourish and wish them all every success.’

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