Published On: Tue, Nov 15th, 2016

FAU Conducts Professional Development in Egypt

By: Kelsie Weekes

Florida Atlantic University professors within the College of Education recently traveled to Egypt to deliver intensive professional development to hand-picked educators in Cairo. The workshop resulted from a Memorandum of Understanding signed between FAU and the Balanced Education Company (BalancEd).

From left to right: Dilys Schoorman, Maysaa Barakat, Jennifer Freeland and John Hardman at the platform of the Keops (Khufu), the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in Giza, Egypt

From left to right: Dilys Schoorman, Maysaa Barakat, Jennifer Freeland and John Hardman at the platform of the Keops (Khufu), the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in Giza, Egypt

BalancEd is spearheading teacher professional development in Egypt, and this new MOU arranges for the future development of partnerships to include an annual workshop series, the completion of a teacher leadership certificate, as well as master’s degrees in educational leadership or curriculum and instruction.

Maysaa Barakat, Ph.D., an assistant professor in educational leadership and research methodology at FAU and a proud native of Egypt, spearheaded the project in collaboration with Salma El Bakry, Ph.D. and Mahmoud Hamza, Ph.D., co-founders of BalancEd. Michelle Vaughan, Ed.D., assistant professor in curriculum, culture and educational inquiry at FAU, and Dilys Schoorman, Ph.D., chair of curriculum, culture and educational inquiry at FAU, were involved in a six-month long planning and development phase producing six curriculum modules and the ongoing research project.

This culminated in the first ongoing series of professional development sessions offered in Cairo by FAU faculty members. Ira Bogotch, Ed.D., and Pat Maslin Ostrowksi, Ed.D., served as research partners on the project with Robert Shockley, Ph.D., representing FAU’s College of Education as project administrator.

Maysaa Barakat, Ph.D., Jennifer Freeland, Ph.D., John Hardman, Ph.D. and Dilys Schoorman, Ph.D. traveled to Cairo to lead workshops with 16 Egyptian educators who had been handpicked to participate in 12 days of intensive professional development. These 16 educators were tasked with leading teacher professional development for public school teachers in Cairo.

“As I pass by the drama room, I remember the good days we had with the FAU team,” said Isabelle Simon, one of the trainees. “All of the learning and understanding, all of the confusion and questions, reflection time, all of the good times together, are deeply embedded in our memories. The shift of the mind-set is being transferred to our teachers and inside their classrooms.”

Reflecting on the impact of the experience, Schoorman agreed.

“I was elated to see genuine shift in the mind-set of educators toward a comfort with active and engaged learning,” she said. “We were able to achieve in Cairo what many of us struggle to achieve here in the USA. I am hopeful that we will be able to replicate the results achieved in Egypt in our work in Broward and Palm Beach counties.”

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