ASU partners with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education, welcomes cohort of Saudi educators

By

Samantha Talavera

Arizona State University has welcomed 52 Saudi Arabian educators to the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College as part of the yearlong Building Leadership for Change Through School Immersion program. Developed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education, the program — which will run through February 2019 — is in direct response to the Saudi Arabian government’s goal of investing in the future of their country by improving and innovating their schools.

To further meet the needs of the program’s participants, ASU’s Global Launch program is offering specially designed intensive English language courses for participants to improve their academic English.

As part of the program, participants also attend various workshops, facilitate quality problem-based lessons and lead others in developing problem-based learning opportunities, develop teacher leadership skills by exploring topics like communication, collaboration and adult learning, participate in a STEM camp, attend the Teacher Leadership Institute conference in Tucson and participate in a mentorship program with Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College professors. According to Ruhi Khan, the program’s director for Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, “We at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College pride ourselves in supporting the scholars to meet the objectives of the project but also to support their social and emotional well-being. Many of the scholars have brought their families with them, and they are experiencing new ways of life in school, shopping, transportation, housing etc. — we try to support them as they face these challenges and miss the comforts of home.”

Through a combination of rigorous English language skills training and professional development coursework, ASU Global Launch is providing additional support to enhance the immersion program. The specialized course for English language instruction includes key vocabulary and pedagogical concepts to support participants for classroom immersion and English as a Second Language communication in academic settings. According to Dianna Lippincott, Global Launch’s strategic innovation manager, participants “are focusing on academic English, from writing structured essays to reading academic research to discussing current issues in education. We at Global Launch find it critical to support ASU’s international initiatives because English proficiency continues to prove foundational for success in international programs”.

Following the coursework this summer, all participants will be embedded in top Phoenix-area schools within the Washington Elementary, Phoenix Elementary and Cave Creek Unified school districts during the fall semester. Through ASU’s wide range of school and community partnerships, participants will learn firsthand how the American educational system works and will develop individual professional learning plans that will support their role in leading change in Saudi Arabia.

“This program is an excellent example of how ASU collaborates across units to bring meaningful educational experiences to educators both locally and globally,” said Ann Nielsen, associate director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Global Education. “The program aligns to our strategic initiatives of internationalizing curriculum by promoting global and intercultural learning on campus and in our local community, and developing and implementing international initiatives through partnerships and educational innovations.” 

For more information about the Building Leadership for Change Through School Immersion program, please contact the program’s director, Ruhi Khan, at ruhi.khan@asu.edu. For more information about the Global Launch intensive English program or international partnerships, please contact Dianna Lippincott at dianna.lippincott@asu.edu.