Posted on January 11, 2017

The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) recently led a workshop as part of its Empowering Leaders of Learning (ELL) program, which is designed to support school leaders in improving student outcomes.

The ELL workshops, held in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Education Development Institute (EDI) of Qatar Foundation (QF), are part of a series presented over a period of eight months. The program is intended to strengthen leadership capabilities through working to improve specific areas in student learning. The program follows two separate tracks, one for the Ministry’s ‘Maharaty’ independent primary schools; and one for the QF schools held in collaboration with EDI. The ELL program is made possible in part by ExxonMobil Qatar.

The workshop was led by Dr. Asmaa Al-Fadala, Director of Research, WISE, and by Dr. Simon Breakspear, Founder and CEO of the Australia-based Agile Schools. The objective is to support the participating school leaders with strategies and tools to improve teaching practices and student learning outcomes. The session encourages educators to pursue an evidence-informed focus and to apply research on effective teaching. Dr. Al-Fadala commented: “This leadership training program is part of our commitment at WISE to help our school leaders and their teachers to identify specific issues and design action plans to improve student learning. We want to encourage school leaders to try new approaches, and to experiment creatively for better results. We are confident that empowering our school leaders to apply these tools and strategies and put their knowledge to work is the best way to progress.”

As part of the session, the school leaders were given a set of tasks to carry out in their respective schools before the next workshop in March 2017. These tasks involve harnessing collaboration among committed teachers to define and understand specific learning difficulties students face, and to design creative ways to help them find solutions. Based on this collaboration, the participants will launch two 'sprints' in their schools; these experimental activities could include teacher team building, using student work samples and exercises to collect evidence and recognize concerns, and identifying improved new practices that can be emulated. Additionally, during the March workshop, participants will report and build on their experiences and efforts to engage teachers and students.

One-on-one coaching is also an important feature of the program. Each participant receives several coaching sessions throughout the course to consider feedback and help focus their process. The ELL program reflects the continued goal of WISE, part of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), to support local schools in their efforts to improve. The program encourages principals and administrators to apply guidance and strategies, collaborate, and share experiences toward improved student learning outcomes.