ABU DHABI // Sixty teachers at the Twenty First Century Private Academy received training from Abu Dhabi Education Council to raise standards to an international level.
The school, which offers a Philippine curriculum, has about 1,600 students. It expects more than 200 new students to enrol for the new academic year.
Ajmare Singh Sundher, an Adec specialist on school improvement for private schools and quality assurance, was on hand to guide teachers in developing activities and the best tools and resources possible to engage students.
The teachers had a workshop on differentiation instruction, an approach that assumes there is a diversity of learners in every classroom, and that all learners can be reached if a variety of methods and activities are used.
"It will really be good for the students," said Lizabeth Comia, the school principal. "Our teachers will plan a lot of activities which will be student-centred. Teachers will only act as facilitators and bring out the best in their students."
The school organised its own internal faculty development and training programme from September 1 to 5 under the theme "Transformational Leadership and Commitment to Organisational Values".
There is a shift from a teacher-centred system where knowledge is transmitted from the teacher to the student, mainly through a lecture, to a student-centred system. Students will not passively receive information but will be actively involved in the learning process.
To meet the needs of the students, the academy is working on improving its facilities and investing in educational resources such as information and communication technology to support teaching and learning, Ms Comia said.
Teachers worked on the restructuring of the classrooms, assigning class sections and the orientation programme for new students ahead of the new academic year.
Yolanda Arica, 51, registered her two children, Rachel Joy, 15, and Bernabe, 12, with the school last week. She made the decision to pull her children from another Filipino school, Pisco Private School, due to concerns over the new location of that school's premises in Baniyas.
"I have no doubt that they will fit in the new school environment," she said. "The school will prepare them well for college in the Philippines."
Rachel Joy is spending her last year in high school in a new school.
"For the past 11 years, I've been with Pisco," she said. "I'm not too worried about the academic standards here, but I will really miss my friends and classmates."
Angel Samson, 41, a beautician in Abu Dhabi for 13 years, said new students were assured of a safe and orderly school environment. Her son Richard Adamson, 7, has been with the school for three years.
"We don't have problems with the school," she said. "His teachers are very supportive and make learning fun."