Abu Dhabi education revolution turns to art and music

ABU DHABI // The schools regulator has turned to its arts and music curriculums as its education revolution continues. After expanding reforms to the public school curriculum, including bilingual lessons and the shift in focus to science subjects, the Abu Dhabi Education Council has detailed a pilot programme for arts and music. The two subjects […]

ABU DHABI // The schools regulator has turned to its arts and music curriculums as its education revolution continues.

After expanding reforms to the public school curriculum, including bilingual lessons and the shift in focus to science subjects, the Abu Dhabi Education Council has detailed a pilot programme for arts and music.

The two subjects have been redesigned from kindergarten to Grade 9, said Dr Karima Al Mazroui, the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s acting executive director for schools.

“They are under major revision because arts and music are a huge driver of reform,” Dr Al Mazroui said.

“Now we have so many museums, we have an orchestra, we have an opera – you cannot just segregate what is happening in the school system from what is happening in the real world.”

Adec has enlisted local arts and culture agencies such as the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation to ensure the new classes highlight Emirati culture.

“All of the learning outcomes that were developed for arts and music have a strand related to UAE culture,” said Sara Al Suwaidi, Adec’s curriculum manager. “So in arts, for example, the kids study about the different UAE artists.”

Before the start of this school year, Adec commissioned Emirati artists to work with teachers during their professional training week to design lessons.

“They told them, ‘here are your learning outcomes and here is how you turn them into an art piece’,” said Ms Al Suwaidi. “We had four Emirati artists train our teachers.

“It was not your typical training with a teacher standing in front of the class. It was artists teaching artists.”

The reforms to arts and music are expected to be rolled out to Grades 10, 11 and 12 soon.

“We will be releasing the Cycle 3 strategic plan soon, and in that we will specify what courses will be introduced because it won’t be just arts – it will be, for example, photography, it will be interior design,” said Ms Al Suwaidi.

A new grading system for arts and music is also being tested.

“The students are graded but the assessment is totally different, and the learning outcomes are very much higher and more specific than before,” Dr Al Mazroui said.

“With arts and the music you don’t want the student to fail. We want the students to enjoy these classes, to have less stress, to do it with love, with passion.”

Health and physical education have also been updated across all grades as part of Adec’s Abu Dhabi School Model.

Adec will spend this year collecting feedback about the changes to these subjects.

“When we say pilot year it means we want parents, we want the students, we want teachers, we want school leaders to tell us how good are the learning outcomes in terms of implementation,” Ms Al Suwaidi said.

“We know how good they are theoretically, but we don’t know when it comes to implementation whether it’s good or not.

“That’s why we released pilot copies.”

rpennington@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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