A significant part of GAI mission is to prepare its students for the work place and the real world. One step to realize such humongous mission is to start by creating a student community that consists of heterogeneous mixture. The school is devoted to allowing students of varying thinking levels and abilities to mingle together. When taking a tour around our school or when observing any of our classes, one will notice how the talented is rubbing shoulders with a classmate that has learning difficulties or at least who is not as academically endowed as the former. Such healthy amalgam simulates the coexistence of people with varied intellectual abilities in everyday life.
Such blend, however, entails more commitments and requires incessant updating of our resources, continuous specialized training of our teachers, and the tailoring of customized programs to satisfy the needs of prodigies as well as those of the disabled. To realize such a goal, class teachers and coordinators collect data, whether concrete or abstract; share feedback’s; analyze them and cooperate to create individualized programs. For the best interest of the student, these programs are designed to grant a shrewd investment of the outstanding students’ skills and to ensure a gradual, well paced progress of less lucky ones. Gifted students are typically asked to take leading roles in their areas of talent. Whether directly or indirectly so, these students serve as teachers’ assistants in helping peers grasp challenging information and acquiring skills. In assigning them such tasks, exceptional students are driven in an early admission into maturity and have their character built a lot earlier than others. On the other hand, parents of students with learning difficulties report their children’s impairment to the school’s social worker by providing substantiation of the learning disability. The matter then is transferred to subjects’ coordinators to meet with subjects teachers and develop an academic scheme fitting the measures of those students’ capacity. GAI already has ADHD, ADD, autistic, visually, and physically impaired students integrated into its regular classes with special services and programs running to suit them. For instance, one approach in the special program is to teach grade-six level reading skill in a reading selection of attenuated difficulty. For some students’ condition an IP (individualized planning is the solution). For another, the answer is in accommodated or modified tests. Another technique is to delay the fulfillment of a higher level of thinking such as those in Bloom’s Taxonomy. That is to say, a student with ADHD or ADD would not be required to reach analysis or synthesis level of thinking for a given skill at the same time as other same-grade-level students. In cases where students who come from schools weaker in certain subjects than our school are admitted in GAI, we run a double curriculum where a student of grade six would simultaneously take the curricula of both grade five and six in order to bridge that academic gap and ultimately become part of a regular curriculum.. One of the special services the school provides for visually impaired students is larger sizes of test papers (A3), extra testing time and a teacher to read the exams for them to ensure that such impediment would not hinder or present a barricade for those students academic development. Special Arabic programs are another facet of our diversified approaches and strategies. These programs are designed for non-Arabs, and Arabs born and raised in a non-Arabic speaking country. Students enrolled in this program are not exempted from Arabic classes, but rather take Arabic with unnecessary difficulties clipped out. Similarly, non Arabic speakers among students are provided with an English translation of material of both Qatar History and Islamic studies that are originally given in Arabic.
It is worthy of noting that these programs are developed according to two plans; the short-term scheme and the long-term one. For the first, students with learning difficulties are gradually introduced into material with reduced intensity until they are totally immersed in the material in the long-term plan. To name just a few, a number of our students who were part of our special Arabic programs did eventually get reintegrated in the regular Arabic classes.
For such programs to be effective and to produce the desired academic results, instructional staff members are periodically trained on differentiated instruction techniques and strategies. Such training might take many forms and can be held on campus and outside of it. All related workshops and seminars held at QF or SEC are announced for and posted at the fingerprint device for all teachers to see and participate in. School administration, subject coordinators, and head of department constantly encourage teachers to register and attend such professional training workshops. Even more, throughout the year, subject coordinators and teachers hold numerous training seminars among which there might sometimes be peer training especially in the case where a teacher with certain exceptional experience might transmit his experience to fellow teachers to benefit from. Also, many of the coordinators at GAI are licensed trainers who sometimes train teachers on some teaching skills that need further sharpening and mastery and to solve certain educational situations as they may arise. Nonresident educational trainers are hired by the school administration to guarantee perpetual betterment of the educational quality delivered at Global Academy International.
Global Academy International has an array of ways to reward outstanding students and even low achievers who are demonstrating progress. Although it might be one of the most orthodox ways of recognizing students’ accomplishment, giving out certificates of achievements and appreciations is used in our school as a very effective and a psychologically uplifting tool of tangibly motivating students. Some teachers may sometimes announce the names of some students and thank them publicly in the morning for a specific positive behavior in order to boost that student’s self-esteem and to nurture a sense of positive competitiveness among others. Giving out prizes and gifts to students and posting their names on the Student-of- the -Week panel, particularly at the lower grade levels, are gambits we see as pleasing and satisfying to students at such a young age. For the older student s, however, seeing their names printed on the honor lists displayed in the school entrance hall is both honoring and lucrative for it entails a gift on their parents’ part. To add to this spirit of positivist around the school, many of the intermediate and upper classes have a Celebrate-Our-Success corner where they can stick whatever token, object, certificate, or picture that reminds them of a certain success or a moment of victory they take pride in and which they can use as a positive emotional archive.