Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF), attended the Third Annual Teaching and Learning Forum today. The event, which brought together teachers, leaders and policymakers from across the country, was designed to promote professional development and lifelong learning.
Organised by the Education Development Institute (EDI), part of QF’s Pre-University Education, this year’s event was sponsored by Exxonmobil in Qatar. The Teaching and Learning Forum falls under QF’s year-round professional development programme, and aims to provide educators with the opportunity to share knowledge and discuss industry issues, while enhancing the education system by empowering teachers.
The forum was also attended by Dr Mazen Jassim Al Jaidah, member of QF Board; Ms Buthaina Al Nuaimi, President of Pre-University Education; Mr Alistair Routledge, President and General Manager of ExxonMobil Qatar Inc.; Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Naimi, Chief Operations Officer, QF; and Ms Fawzia Abdulaziz Al Khater, Director of Education Institute at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
Addressing dignitaries, senior officials and audience members, Sheikha Noof Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani, Executive Director of EDI, Chair of the Teaching and Learning Forum opened the conference. “Today’s third edition of EDI’s Teaching and Learning Forum has brought together approximately 1,000 attendants who will benefit from 95 professional workshops,” she said. “Bringing together such a large number of experts and teachers, this forum is part of Qatar’s continual development. Not only does the event enhance professional potential, it simultaneously empowers the generation of tomorrow by providing tools to equip teachers with an operational framework to support best practices in Qatar.”
Andy Hargreaves, Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education and Professor in the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, delivered the first keynote speech at the opening session. “With some of the highest educational standards in the region, Qatar is making sustained advances to improve best practices in the classroom,” he explained. “This is a testament to the commitment and innovation of the country’s educational system, which also recognises and seeks to address its weaknesses.”
“Education is a dream with determination. It’s a vision created by educational leaders and a proactive approach by national educators to motivate, inspire and transform the classroom environment into a haven of engagement and active learning. Best professional practice means adapting international frameworks to address Qatar’s social needs, and supporting the teachers who will lead and develop the generation of tomorrow. We will lift those we serve, by lifting those who serve them, and it’s our task to continue to develop collaborative culture which will facilitate mutual enrichment.”
Dr Simon Breakspear, founder and CEO of LearnLabs, a global learning research and design agency, served as the event’s second keynote speaker. He engaged attendees by focusing on global lessons on leading ‘Innovation For Better Learning’.
“Cultivating learning innovation is crucial if Qatar is to ensure that all of its young people develop the knowledge, skills and attributes to succeed in a knowledge-based economy,” he said. “To be successful, this innovation should be focused on designing effective and engaging pedagogical approaches rather than simply adding technology to the classroom.”
“The work of educational innovation needs to be driven from the passionate and deeply skilled teachers and leaders working in schools. They must find ways to work in collaborative teams, engage all students in deeper learning, and share their innovative practices across the diversity of schools. This type of system-wide innovation and sharing will be key to the next stage of improvement and reform.”
Radwa Abuzaid, a Grade 1 teacher from Umm Al Qura Model Independent School for Boys, was attending the forum for the third year. “I think it’s a very beneficial opportunity for educators in Qatar to come together and share our experiences so we can collaborate and improve the way we teach,” she said. “I especially enjoyed this year’s keynote speeches, and I feel they offer tangible recommendations which both myself and my colleagues can use in the classroom.”
QF firmly believes that education is key to the continual development and prosperity of Qatar, and that teachers are integral to shaping the future of the nation. Therefore, building and supporting a comprehensive integrated learning environment is vital to developing national capabilities, which will help drive Qatar’s continuous advancement.