BTC Commences Partnership with University College London Institute of Education

December 13, 2018

To enhance the work of the Leadership Center, the Bahrain Teachers College commenced a partnership with the University College London Institute of Education (UCL). UCL's Centre for Leadership in Learning operates a program much like BTC's new Leadership Center, which focuses on providing targeted support to struggling schools. BTC's Center started in October 2018 and has dedicated itself to working with 17 schools judged inadequate by the Bahrain Quality Assurance Authority for Education and Training for three cycles in a row.

UCL utilizes an approach of leadership coaching, which seeks to encourage school leaders to identify their own solutions to the problems within their schools. Often, school improvement is considered to be aided by traditional forms of professional development, in which a lecturer provides detailed knowledge about evidence, theory, and practice. Coaching, on the other hand, recognizes that contextual differences within schools are often so great as to require solutions that are specific to the school and its leadership. It is a process that empowers school leaders to take action within their schools based on solutions generated on their own for their school contexts.

To begin this partnership, two trainers from UCL visited Bahrain for a week-long workshop. Mr. Greg Ross and Ms. Sue Hellman lead such workshops all over the world, as well as within schools in London. Their visit to Bahrain in December 2018 centered on coaching practice. Attendees included many BTC faculty members; four Ministry of Education School Chiefs (who are currently serving as leadership coaches in BTC's Leadership Center); the Ministry curriculum leader for English Ms. Sahar Almajthoob; four school principals; and the Ministry's liaison to this project, Ms. Hala Al Khalifa.

Dr. Faten Abdelhameed, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Science, attended the workshop and indicated that coaching will "enable participants to carry out their mission as change agents with greater confidence." Mr. Salman Zayed, Instructor in the Department of Education Studies, furthered this sentiment: "This partnership provides us the opportunity to develop our collective leadership and school improvement skills."

The partnership between UCL and the BTC will continue as the BTC's Leadership Center will focus more intensively on whole-school reform. Mr. Ross and Ms. Hellman indicated their commitment to Bahrain's educational development and expressed their university's desire in deepening the partnership in the interest of Bahrain's development.

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