Dudley Reynolds at the National Geographic Learning forum
Dudley Reynolds at the National Geographic Learning forum

Dudley Reynolds delivers keynote address for National Geographic Learning

President of TESOL International Association joins discussion on global versus local education

DOHA, QATAR – In a keynote address at a forum on education organized by National Geographic Learning, CMU-Q’s Dudley Reynolds discussed the challenges in constructing an educational system that serves society, operates responsibly and offers an effective curriculum. In particular, he addressed Qatar’s efforts to design an educational system that serves a diverse population and to strike a balance between educating in English and Arabic.

Leading English educators from across the region gathered in Doha for the conference to explore how the region measures up to achieving globalized students with strong localized roots. Reynolds, who is a teaching professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), and the 51st president of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association, delivered the keynote address and moderated a panel discussion.

“What we want are students that are all up to par, that can operate on the same level. How we get there may be different,” he said, noting that importing educational systems wholesale from other countries or cultures rarely works.

He emphasized the need to integrate both English and Arabic learning in schools: “We always talk about English or Arabic, as one or the other. But English should not develop at the expense of other languages. Speaking other languages and navigating other cultures is crucial to success now. Every day in the Gulf, people process multiple languages and integrate them into daily conversations. Why not in the educational system?”

The panel discussion featured Hamad Al Yahyaei, Ministry of Education director for the Grade 9 to 12 curriculum, United Arab Emirates; Sahar Al Majthoob, Chief of Languages and Humanities Section Directorate of Curricula, Bahrain; Hamood Khalfan Al Harthi, Undersecretary for Education and Curriculum, Ministry of Education, Oman; and Ambassador Jamil Mahmoud Merdad, Director English Language Academy, University of Business and Technology, Jeddah. The discussion sought to review the best teaching methods to achieve a better balance between local and global education.

During the discussion, Reynolds noted that “teachers are individuals who are developing, learning and growing, thus capacity building is really important. We have to support their  capacity to bring forth  ideas about how we can enhance teaching and achieve a balance between global and local.”

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