MADINAT ZAYED // EmanLutfi Hussain battled to get parents excited about the new system of English instruction and teaching without textbooks when they were introduced.
"Parents were not happy that girls were not relying a lot on their books and doing more projects instead," said Ms Hussain, the English teacher at Al Khama'el School in Madinat Zayed.
"And because many did not speak English it was hard for them to follow what we were doing in school. They would not come in to meet the teachers."
But over the past two years Ms Hussain has seen a slow change and parents are even coming in for updates on their children's progress.
"We have been holding meetings with them and even invite the mothers to attend classes," she said.
Moza Saif Mohamed Al Mansoure, the principal of Al Khama'el, said the emphasis on practical work, interactive classes and the use of technology was benefiting the pupils, even if it meant more work for teachers.
"It is not only about reading and writing; the focus is on critical thinking," Ms Al Mansoure said.
"Pupils control the learning and have become more confident."
Equal importance is given to the Arabic language that is also being taught with new methods.
The Arabic and Islamic teacher, Baksa Mansoori, said her lessons were based on craftwork.
"I like combining arts and craft with Arabic and notice the children remember more that way," Ms Mansoori said.
"I ask them to use coloured sand to form a letter, or use photographs to teach concepts of family."
She said she sat down for the last 10 minutes of each lesson to read to them.
"They take us as role models, so if I do it every day they'll want to do it too," Ms Mansoori said.
Maab Omer, 11, used to study at a private school but recently moved to Al Khama'el and does not find anything different.
"My parents wanted me to learn more Arabic," said Maab. "The teachers are great here so I am happy."