Posted on May 07, 2016

The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), in collaboration with the Education Development Institute (EDI), has concluded the second part of its five-month programme, entitled ‘Empowering Leaders of Learning’, with a two-day event held at the Qatar National Convention Centre. Both WISE and EDI are initiatives of Qatar Foundation (QF), and 21 leaders from QF schools were invited to participate in the conference, which was led by Dr Simon Breakspear, founder and CEO of the Australia-based LearnLabs.

The LearnLabs programme is based on research in effective teaching strategies, behavioural design and organisational learning. It introduces participants to key leadership strategies needed to drive and support change in teaching practice, in order to achieve and incubate excellence in line with the aspirations of QF. In preparation for the session, participants were given a short exercise to reflect on their actions, outcomes, and what was learned over the duration of the programme, as well as a reading focused on teacher learning. School leaders then discussed and reviewed the challenges they face, and designed evidence-informed solutions and detailed plans to address them.

Dr Asmaa Al-Fadala, Director of Research, WISE, emphasised that the programme provides support to school leaders in order to improve student academic motivation and performance. “We are confident that the school leaders who have committed themselves to the innovative, proven techniques and professional practices of this programme will see significant improvement in their students’ academic performance.” Dr Asmaa noted that WISE plans to extend the programme to include more schools, including Ministry of Education and Higher Education schools. “This programme provides our educators with the tools and proactive practices they need to support student success. Our schools, and our future as a nation, are dependent on their dedication and hard work.”

The programme, which was made possible in part by ExxonMobil, focused on encouraging school principals, assistant principals and head teachers in Qatar to reflect WISE’s strategy to support some of the country’s most influential change-agents. This approach to further progressing reform and innovation in local schools was discussed in detail in the WISE Research report ‘K-12 Reform in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries’ (2015), written by Dr Asmaa.

Additionally, throughout the programme, participants received ongoing support through in-school coaching related to their change projects in their unique school environments, forming a supportive leadership community. The goal is for these senior leaders to develop the necessary leadership capabilities and experiences to support every teacher in continuously improving their practice.

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