Student Case Study
A Case Study of an Outstanding Egyptian Learner's Progress
How "Teachers First" PD Program has helped to develop M. Al-Shablangy's Progress?
For more than 11 years, Mahmoud Al-Shablangy has crossed the bridge over Shebin El-Kom Canal - 75 km to the north of Cairo, in the middle of Nile Delta - to go to the Integrated Distinct Governmental Language School (IDGL School, Shebin El-Kom, Monofia) which is a governmental or public school. He has completed KG, primary and prep or middle stages having one dream; to be oil engineer. He has two younger brothers and his father, who aged 39, is a company clerk. Since early age, he has been a brilliant student. So his family, teachers and school have taken care of him greatly. They have encouraged him to have more academic achievements besides doing different school activities such as poetry, swimming, science and technology. In the school year 2015-2016, he has been a prep-three student. In the same school year, five of IDGL teachers have taken part in "Teachers First" Professional Development Program. "Teachers First" has been organized by the Presidential Councils for Education and Scientific Research (Egypt) and Imagine Education (UK). It has been a great opportunity for the brilliant student for more progress and achievements. What are the circumstances that have helped him? How does "Teachers First" Professional Development Program impact a student? What are the achievements? What are the lessons learned?
A journey ..
In primary and prep or middle stages, Mahmoud has been fond of learning, reading, inquiry and research. So some teachers have been waiting for his "out of box" questions which he has raised continuously and eagerly. He has been the top student for many years. His father Mohamed Al-Shablangy - aged 39, a company clerk - said, "Since his early age, we have encouraged Mahmoud's progress of academic achievement and school activities. We have helped him to be a brilliant student who takes part in different school activities that help to develop his skills." In addition to being brilliant academically, Mahmoud has made great achievements of different school activities. He has taken part and won prizes of school local, national and international activities and competitions such as: the Ideal Student, Oracle ThinkQuest, Connecting Classrooms, First Lego League and Intel Science and Engineering Fair.
The new strategies and techniques have helped students to be active learners through teaching
One of the five teachers - of "Teachers First" - has been teaching English for one of prep-three classes, which has been Mahmoud's class. The teacher of English has implemented some teaching, learning and assessment new strategies and techniques that help to develop active learning in a learning stimulating environment based on new professional behaviors. The strategies and techniques include: thinking hats or cards, Go or Stop cards, one-sentence summary, for or against (thumb voting), campfire learning and class celebration. Instead of being passive listeners, the new strategies and techniques have helped students to be active learners through teaching, learning and ongoing assessment processes. Mahmoud Al-Shablangy - aged 15 - said, "As we have started learning using 'Teachers First' new strategies and techniques, we have developed a greater desire to go to school where leaning has become enjoyable. We have learned how important inquiry, thinking, group work, cooperative learning, and stress-free learning environment are. We have been encouraged to think and collaborate effectively. This environment has helped me, my classmates and schoolmates to have more academic and school activities achievements. Samir Omara - a senior teacher of English at IDGL School - said, "Mahmoud has always been fond of learning, reading, inquiry and thinking. I have always learned from his ideas, his classmates' ideas and my colleagues' ideas and experiences. Based on these different ideas, I have learned how to modify my teaching strategies and learning activities. I have always enjoyed teaching in Mahmoud's class as he and his classmates have helped me to implement and track the impact of what I have acquired through 'Teachers First' in a stimulating learning environment." (Appendix 2) Noha Habib - IDGL School Principal - said, "'Teachers First' has been a different professional development experience as it has helped teachers to work through a community of practice. They teach lessons based on different learning styles and available resources, discuss and modify, reteach and learn from feedback. 'Teachers First' has great impact on students of primary, prep and secondary stages. Five teachers have taken part in face-to-face 'Teachers First' training in Cairo. Now, sixty teachers are members of IDGL extended community of practice. The academic and school activities achievements of Mahmoud and many other students are examples of 'Teachers First' impact on students who have started to enjoy learning." During the school year 2015-2016, Mahmoud and his classmates have taken part in Teachers First activities in Class 3C. He has taken part in "Teachers First" Launch of extended experimental phase of Greater Cairo in the Ministry of Education. He and his schoolmates have given a presentation on Teachers First impact on learning. He and his schoolmates have taken part in "Teachers First" Celebration as they have been given prizes. Mahmoud has ended the school year successfully, but his ambition has always been endless! He has worked hard to join Monofia STEM School which has been started in the school year 2016- 2017. He has passed STEM School exams successfully. So he has been approved by MOE to join Monofia STEM School.
Although Mahmoud's learning journey is short, it has had many deep lessons learned. What are they? A learner needs new teaching and learning strategies, techniques and activities that fit different learning styles and individual differences. Teaching strategies and techniques should develop higher thinking skills. A learner always needs family's, teachers' and school's support. A teacher needs to have new different professional behaviors besides new teaching strategies and techniques that make teaching and learning enjoyable for all by changing school into a stimulating learning environment at low cost. Teachers need to learn, work and develop together through communities of practice that help different teachers to share and exchange ideas, experiences and feedback. Teachers always need school leaders' and supervisors' support to develop outstanding Egyptian learners and sustainable professional development.
As Mahmoud's dream is to be oil engineer who gets the black treasure out of the ground, the dream is to develop a teacher who helps to get potential treasures of different learners. As a change ambassador, the teacher should and can do that effectively!