Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Happy TAMK graduates in the United Arab Emirates

Graduation ceremony at HCT.

There were twenty three very satisfied and happy TAMK graduates at the ceremony held at Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in April. The graduates of the 21st Century Educators program had just completed three modules of online teacher education and were awarded a Post Graduate Certificate by the Finnish Ambassador to the UAE, Mr. Ilkka-Pekka Similä.

The graduates all work as teachers in the United Arab Emirates and although they all have good knowledge of their subject area content, most had never undertaken any formal teacher education. The TAMK 21st Century Educators program filled that gap with modules in pedagogy for the 21st century, appropriate use of educational technology and authentic assessment for learning.

The participants were all enthusiastic and positive about their experiences while studying. As Ms. Manal Eman, a business teacher said, “Taking the course was one of the most challenging and fulfilling experience I have ever had. I devoted loads of time to complete all the tasks, projects and blogs required for each module. I came to work with great people in team work. Personally I have benefited a lot from the well-combined program for both my postgraduate studies and professional work.”

Ms. Manal Eman receiving her diploma from Mr. Ilkka-Pekka Sipilä.

After the ceremony, the participants took part in the concurrent ELearning conference where they presented and showcased the projects they had completed during the program.

Dr. Dean Sheetz, the MBA Program Coordinator for the HCT had this to say: “Many people entering a classroom for the first time as teachers underestimate the challenges inherent in teaching well. The experience is difficult enough for those who have gone through teacher training but is doubly so for those with nothing to guide them but their own past experiences as students. The combination of teaching theory with teaching practice in this course was a real help to our content teachers; making them more comfortable in their role as teachers and opening up a whole new world of possibilities for them in helping students to learn.”

Mark Curcher, the director of the program was delighted at how well the program had been received and the amazing enthusiasm and development of the graduates.

Participants of the first 21st Century Educators program.

The ceremony also stimulated a lot of interest for the program among participants in the concurrent Elearning conference and several have already signed up for the second cohort of the 21st Century Educators program, which will start in September 2013.

Article by Mark Curcher
Pictures by Sean Dowling 

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