Gulf Educators Embrace New American School Science Standards
Dubai, UAE, 28 April 2014 – Educators from American curriculum schools across the region have gathered in Dubai to learn how new standards governing science education in the US will impact on the learning outcomes of their students.
In April 2013, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were released in all American states, with the goal of providing students with an internationally benchmarked science education. The NGSS have had a profound impact in schools across the United States, which up until the release of the NGSS were governed by science specifications dictated by individual state education ministries.
American curriculum schools across the Arab world have been implementing the standards over recent months, a process which has been demanding at times for teachers and principals. The goal of the Dubai event, which was led by developers of the NGSS, was to provide these educators with professional development training designed to maximise the benefits of the NGSS and ensure schools undergo a smooth transition to the new curriculum.
The NGSS were designed to not only foster consistency across all American schools, but to ensure the American science curriculum is up-to-date with the most recent innovations and discoveries in the rapidly changing fields of science and technology. The standards were developed after concerns in the US that the science curriculum was failing to keep pace with the demands of a modern, globally-orientated workforce. Effective science education has been linked to America’s ability to foster an educated society and retain a competitive edge across a range of industries. A 2007 Carnegie Foundation Commission report that was an impetus for the reforms concluded that the country’s “capacity to innovate for economic growth and the ability for American workers to thrive in the modern workforce depend on a broad foundation of math and science”.
Participants at the Dubai event which was held at the American Collegiate school, were told of the important role science education would play in securing the long-term economic future of the Arab region. Karim Daoud, Managing Director of Pearson Middle East, a sponsor of the event said:
“A first rate science curriculum based on standards that are content rich and supported by excellent pedagogy, assessment and teacher training is critical to a country’s ability to perform competitively in the global market place. Access to a solid science education is necessary for a student who wants to study science at a university level or pursue a career in one of the many industries founded on scientific principles. A great deal of work opportunities in today’s fast-paced economy depend on a superior science education, making it crucial that we support strong science learning in our schools”.
Amanda Collins, the Director of Professional Development at Pearson Middle East, believes that providing quality teacher training opportunities is key to making certain the new standards are implemented effectively, and have a positive impact on the learning outcomes of students in American curriculum schools.
“Offering professional development to teachers working in American curriculum schools in the Gulf region will help them understand how to take full advantage of the NGSS in their classrooms and give their learners a firm understanding of key scientific principals and theories. The NGSS have been designed so that they are embedded with learning that promotes 21stcentury skills such as communication, critical thinking and team work – employability skills that are necessary for success in any career, regardless of industry or profession. This is why it is important that we give teachers tools to actively engage with the NGSS and provide an outstanding science education to their students”.
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