Using Classroom Observation to Investigate Productive Student Participation in Higher- and Lower-Performing Qatari Schools
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In 2002, Qatar established key elements of educational reform in schools including national curriculum standards; emphasis on critical thinking through student-centered teaching; establishment of charter (independent) schools; standards-based assessment; English as the language of instruction in math and science, and extensive teacher professional development. While classrooms characterized by these reform elements should emerge as more successful on Qatari standards-based assessments, little research has been done to examine the relationship between these characteristics and standards attainment or even to determine whether these classroom teaching and learning elements exist (Knight et al., 2011). Three phases of research were conducted in a research project funded by the Qatar National research Foundation over a period of three years. The first phase provided descriptions of teaching and learning in reform-focused schools (see Akhlef & Knight, 2011). The current study extends the profiles developed in Phase I through further investigation of observed differences in student-centered instruction and productive participation of elementary math and science students in higher and lower performing Qatari schools implementing the reform. Data were collected in the Fall of 2008 in 17 schools randomly selected from 46 schools that had implemented the Qatar standards for at least 3 years. Findings from this study emphasize the 2011 AERA theme involving the use of educational research that contributes to public policy and public good. This research provides information about teaching and learning in student-centered classrooms at two levels – the professional knowledge base and the Qatar educational context and can inform Qatari policy makers who are involved in the reform movement.
- Psychological Sciences [45 items ]