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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 26| June 27, 2010|


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AIUB to host the 2nd 'BELTA-AIUB-THT Seminar' on English teaching

Asif Ahmed

'Our impression of the BELTA-AIUB-THT English teaching conference last year at AIUB was of 'professional development, friendship, community, learning, and moments of pure joy, more precisely, to quote Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca's closing scene: last year's conference was, “...the beginning of a beautiful friendship” which, I believe, has gloriously continued among all of us.' These are the words of Dr. Patrick Dougherty, leader of the THT delegation last year, who is leading the THT team for the second consecutive time in AIUB. The Department of English, AIUB, in association with BELTA, is right now busy in organising the 2-day long 2nd BELTA-AIUB-THT Seminar on 2-3 July.

After a tremendously successful 'BELTA-AIUB-THT English Language Teaching Seminar 2009' last year, AIUB's Department of English is going to organise it for the second consecutive time jointly with Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association (BELTA). THT, the Japan-based forum called 'Teachers Helping Teachers', will provide resource persons under the leadership of Dr. Patrick Dougherty, a Dubai-based English language trainer.

Vice Chancellor of AIUB Dr. Carmen Zita Lamagna will inaugurate the seminar, which will have seventy (70) English teachers from schools, colleges and universities in various multidimensional workshops and roundtable sessions. The preparations are being supervised by Dr. Tazul Islam, Dean of AIUB's Arts & Social Science Faculty, who remarked, 'Developing professional efficiency of the English teachers at all levels and helping them insert creativity in teaching and classroom management is the prime target of this seminar. As part of its socio-educational commitment, AIUB is ever-ready to extend its hand for any sort of faculty-development programmes like this.'

The theme of this mega event will be “Bringing Innovations into the ELT Classrooms”. Topics of some interesting sessions are: 'Student Heritage in the EFL Classroom', 'Grammar Dictation and Other Grammar Fun', 'Vocabulary Learning: Theory and Techniques', 'Using the Native Culture to Teach the Target Language', 'Preparing Students for Exams', 'Classroom Assessment Techniques: CATs', 'Classroom Management: A Velvet Approach' etc.

The certificate-awarding ceremony will be on 3 July at 5 pm in the AIUB auditorium that will feature a multicultural event to be performed by students from USA and several Asian countries.

North American schooling system in Dhaka

Marina K Shuvra

TRADITIONALLY when we hear the word “curriculum” we visualise a long list of study subjects. Although this word has a broader meaning, it fundamentally describes a comprehensive strategy through which the students is directed into what one ought to become as an adult, and contribute to society. So not only much learning material, but also the system counts, because it is the method of teaching/learning that can design a guiding pathway for all courses of experiences that shape human beings into persons.

We want children to have access to the best information, but should they be given also socio-psychological initiation for the challenges of high demanding society? The Canadian International School (C.I.S.) in Bangladesh goes directly to the root of this thoughtful question; stating its visionary slogan: “Bettering of Self for the Society”.

Designed by the education scholars of the Ministry of Education, Ontario, Canada, the curriculum offered by C.I.S in Bangladesh is built on the most modern concepts of active learning. Might you not be very familiar with the term, here are the three key words: inquiry, activity, research. The most innovative part of the system is that the main actor in education is the learner himself the student. Because s/he makes inquiry whilst her/his curiosity is stimulated, and as a result she/he self-willingly makes him/herself part of an engaging activity, which is the class subject. The robot portrait of the student bred by this newest methodology is a child who enthusiastically involves himself in the learning process and easily takes up the task of gathering data and materials. The role of the teacher here is of mentor. He or she acts tactfully in guiding the student through the process of discovery and learning, by giving assistance to the child who grows more and more into a self-motivated learner. An unmistakable trait of the C.I.S student is the ability to speak his/her own mind with clarity, to issue own ideas and take suitable initiatives.

Mohammad Kamal Uddin, the Chairman, got inspired to create this school in Bangladesh to see an increase in the quality of education offered to this nation. Also, he considered that there is a high demand for the North-American curriculum, similar to the one offered by the international American schools. Transfer from a C.I.S to any North-American school, in Canada or USA, or any of the 30 Canadian International Schools around the Globe, can be done within an equivalent academic year, while the High-School Final Diploma (equivalent to IB) is of great value to all the North-American, as well European and Asian Universities. Bringing such latest innovative methodology to Bangladesh was possible through the Canadian Education Ministry's Programme called “Running the school overseas”. This programme offers to entrepreneurs full guidance, training assistance, human resources, and sends its Inspectors to assess the quality of teaching and of school premises.

Children of 16 nationalities learn, guided by various local and foreign teachers and an experienced Canadian Principal. In this obvious multi-cultural environment one may wonder what place Bangladeshi culture and heritage occupy. Begum Shirin Jahan, one of the educators of the school, told us that while Bangla is thought as the second language, a good number of foreign students have a growing interest in learning the local language and culture, thus they actively participate in the “Bangladesh Studies” classes, that include Bangla literature, National History and Geography. The local holidays are observed with proper festivities, so that all children enjoy their rich cultural heritage.

The Curriculum emphasises science and technology knowledge. But it does not ignore any student's need for an expressive and creative mind, as well a strong healthy body and this is where the extra-curricular activities come in place: basketball, handball, swimming, martial arts, piano classes, science fairs, cultural evenings, visual art exhibitions, inter-school competitions and so on. To further enrich the students, and as per the latest requirements, the third foreign language has been introduced - French.

Keeping in mind the constant need of children for recreational activities, the school has organised a special Summer Camp on the school premises, where the above mentioned activities will blend into a pleasant summer pass time. Most interestingly, children outside the school can join in, fees being charged on a weekly basis.

We were interested to know if the school offered special care education. Begum Shirin Jahan told us the success story she achieved with students needing special care, while she employed also special care teachers who have been given proper training. Shirin herself is very much involved with the school and she works with passion from dawn to dusk. Her biggest inspiration in bringing this education method here was the great quality she witnessed in her son's education while living abroad. After moving back to Bangladesh she thought that many children of her own country could benefit from the system.

Asked what she thought children needed most for a proper education and growth, Shirin gave her opinion: “Love”. As we understand, it is the expression of unconditional and patient love that represented a major break-through with special care students - autistic, whose trust she successfully gained. We can take her word for a fact, as her enthusiastic and kind eyes testified for her sincere, responsible motherly caring approach.

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