Upcoming school to offer learning based on discussion - GulfToday

Upcoming school to offer learning based on discussion


Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent

Arcadia Education in Dubai has formed a partnership with Atlanta-headquartered organisation, R.E.A.L. Discussion for its secondary school to become the first UAE based school to implement its discussion-based learning system.

This will be introduced at Arcadia’s secondary school located in Jumeirah Village Triangle, Dubai, which is presently under construction and expected to open its doors in 2020.

As part of the agreement, R.E.A.L. will provide teacher training to Arcadia staff in Atlanta and curricular materials for student use in humanities subjects.

The agreement was signed at the University of Pennsylvania by Liza Cowan, the founder of R.E.A.L. Discussion, and Navin Valrani, CEO of Arcadia Education. Also present at the signing were Dean Pam Grossman, Vice-Dean Melissa Calvert, Dr Bobbi Kurshan and Dr. Jenny Zapf from Penn’s Graduate School of Education. R.E.A.L. Discussion builds common language around discussion by focusing on four foundational discussion skills: Relate, Excerpt, Ask and Listen.  The system equalises ‘airtime’ among students, raises quality of student comments, supports student leadership, minimises anxiety and builds classroom communities.

Liza Cowan, the Harvard-educated English teacher who founded the system, said at the signing, “In today’s world, the stakes are high: students need to graduate confident that their voices matter and competent at engaging others with inquiry, evidence, and empathy. R.E.A.L. does just that. I hope that the agreement with Arcadia will kick start a global conversation about the role of discussion in classrooms – and society.”

Navin Valrani, CEO of Arcadia Education, said, “When I walked into Cowan’s classroom to attend a R.E.A.L. Discussion on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, I just knew that discussion would be a cornerstone of our secondary school offering. R.E.A.L. aligns perfectly with Arcadia’s values and ensures that no child will ever be left behind in a classroom discussion at Arcadia.”

Raised in the city of Dubai, Navin Valrani went on to graduate with honours from the Wharton School of Business and then backed it up with a distinction in his MBA at London Business School and a MSc. in Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

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