Thesis for Doctor of Education

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    Exploring College Students’ English Language Learning Motivation and Their Teachers’ Motivational Strategies
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2023-07-20) ABBAS, SHEHAB A. R.
    Motivation is a key element in the process of L2 learning. This leads many researchers to investigate the students' motivational factors, teachers' motivational strategies, students' perceptions about their teachers' strategies, and what strategies students use to maintain their L2 learning motivation insides and outside the classroom. The literature reveals that many studies explored students’ perceptions regarding their motivational factors for learning English but rarely tackled both students’ and teachers’ perceptions regarding students’ motivational components and the motivational strategies which teachers use to maintain or boost students’ English learning motivation. This study explores students' motivational factors and what approaches students use to maintain their motivation. Besides, it will explore EFL teachers’ and students’ views about motivational strategies used in Abu Dhabi EFL classrooms in order to investigate potential mismatches. Collecting qualitative and quantitative data adopted a mixed-method approach which was carried out in the academic context of three campuses in one of Abu-Dhabi's private colleges. This involved first the administration of a questionnaire to teachers and students. Second, six EFL teachers and six EFL students were in-depth interviewed individually for the purpose of exploring further those essential issues which might be revealed from both teachers and students' personal opinions in regard to motivational factors in learning the language along with those that might be shown in respect to teachers and students' viewpoint relating to the strategies adopted by teachers for motivating their students. Findings reveal that students have average interest and motivation to learn English. Besides, their motivation is mostly instrumental i.e., future career, academic study, and travelling. In addition, there are discrepancies between students and teachers’ perceptions of the important motivational strategies which should be used by teachers to boost students’ motivation to learn English. The findings will help teachers focus more on their students’ motivational factors; and consequently, they will help in tailoring their classes in a way which will be more motivating for the learners. Moreover, by having a clear picture of students’ perceptions of the motivational strategies used in classroom, teachers will have more awareness of the motivational strategies used in their classes. Moreover, policy makers of English language teaching in the UAE will get a good picture about how things go with college students regarding English language learning.
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    Effectiveness of Psycholinguistic Approaches in Improving Students’ Achievements in Writing in the Online Distance Learning Setting: A Case Study on Grade Eleven Students in the UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2023-06) EMARA, TAREK MAHMOUD IBRAHIM
    Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Online Distance Learning (ODL) has become an important learning tool that needs more attention from educationalists to be effectively used to deliver the English language to second language learners. This requires English language teachers (ELTs) to adopt valid methodological approaches and adapt suitable strategies to help improve their teaching practices in ODL classrooms, which may be applicable in other language teaching contexts. This study is a contribution to our knowledge of how to effectively employ psycholinguistic approaches in the ODL setting to improve students’ achievements in the English Language Writing Skill (ELWS). To investigate and explore its effectiveness in improving students’ ELWS achievements in the ODL setting. A mixed-methods approach was employed, using the pretest-posttests, and classroom observations during 8-week intervention on an experimental group treated by implementing the proposed psycholinguistic framework and a control group that was taught conventionally. A close-ended questionnaire was also employed to explore ELTs’ perceptions of psycholinguistic approaches and elicit their suggestions to implement them more effectively and figure out some solutions to any upcoming ODL challenges. Results from the pretest-posttests and findings from the classroom observations show that there is a difference in students’ ELWS achievements in favor of the experimental group. Results from the questionnaire show that ELTs need to enrich their knowledge to be skillful enough to master the ODL setting.
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    An Investigation of the Development and Implementation of Teacher's Licensing in Saudi Arabia Based on Local Stakeholders' Perceptions, Compared to International and Regional Practices
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2023-03) HAMEEDADIN, AMAL ABDULLAH
    Globally, there has been considerable concern about education reform to prepare future citizens for the unpredictable demand for labour. It is widely agreed among stakeholders in the education industry that teachers are central to the learning and teaching processes. However, promoting teacher quality concerns leaders in the education sector, and significant efforts to raise teacher quality are paramount to government leaders. At this level, teacher licensure has been introduced to measure teachers' performance and prepare them for the education industry. Saudi Arabia is moving steadily and swiftly toward Vision 2030 to prepare the young generation to pursue advanced studies. Accordingly, the Educational & Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC) has teamed up with the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia to update and raise the 'Teacher Licensure Programme' bar. The exploratory sequential mixed method aimed to investigate the development and implementation of the 2019 teacher licensure programme in Saudi Arabia. The study was based on reviewing policies of best practices and stakeholders' perceptions. During the study, a model framework was proposed to the relevant stakeholders and educational leaders aligned with Gulf culture and international standards. The study consisted of three stages. In the first stage, six policies were reviewed and analyzed to compare international, regional, and local licensures and collected secondary data from official documents. During this stage, the researcher conducted an in-depth interview with an ETEC policymaker, who provided insight and enlightened the researcher regarding the programme's foundation. Stage two delved into a large portion of stakeholders. The study collected quantitative data from 306 teachers from public schools who shared their experiences and perceptions of the licensing exam through an online survey. The last stage collected qualitative data through a school leaders' questionnaire and a policymaker interview. The qualitative data investigated leaders' perspectives on the teachers' data findings and the implementation of licensing in schools based on principals, supervisors, and a policymaker's point of view. Stage one findings were linked to international and regional practices. A comparative study revealed a lack of career development at the college level and during in-service training in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, there is a need for a standardized teacher evaluation system that includes constructive feedback and reflection. Based on stage two findings, teachers expressed negative views regarding the current licensing programme. In addition, phase three findings followed up on teachers' perceptions from the perspective of school leaders and policymakers. This study filled a critical gap in the theoretical field of teacher licensing in the Gulf Region. Additionally, the research suggested a flexible framework based on the best practices and the perceptions and experiences of the stakeholders. The framework asserted that the licensing examination is one of several teacher evaluation methods.
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    An Investigation into the Impact of School Leadership Practices and School Policies on Abu Dhabi (UAE) Governmental School Inspection Outcomes
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2023-05) AL THEHLI, SAMAH MOHAMED ALI
    This thesis focuses on how schools implement three of six standards in the UAE inspection framework which are: Standard 3, teaching and assessment based on teaching for effective learning; Standard 5, how protection, care, guidance, and support of students has been implemented; and Standard 6, leadership, and management, which illustrates gaps in educational leadership due to differences in the direction, vision, and communication. The study’s significance is that it will help determine how school leadership practices influence governmental school inspection outcomes in the UAE. School leadership must have supporting standards that schools should implement to improve their performance. There is a gap on the impact of leadership practices on school performance management and inspection outcomes in the UAE. Although the UAE school inspection framework emphasizes a visionary education system that is knowledge-based and drives innovation through research, it provides standards to ensure comprehensive performance to achieve quality education (Ministry of Education, 2017). It clearly defines the specific governance systems that should aid schools in implementing the framework. This research is expected to provide details about new leadership practices that should be developed to help school principals identify and implement good educational and learning practices and offer recommendations on how to implement the inspection framework to improve performance. The research also provides a distinctive recommendation for school principals to develop their performance using the government excellence system in the United Arab Emirates GEM 2.
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    The Effectiveness of Instructional Supervisors in Promoting Personalized Professional Learning at Four Private Schools in Abu Dhabi
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2023-01) EL MAMLOUK, SALIM GHALEB
    Personalized professional learning (PPL) is conceptualized as a targeted set of instructional supervisory practices designed to address teachers’ diverse growth needs and relevant interests. Research across a wide range of contexts shows that some schools that implement the PPL are led from the side by instructional supervisors who have challenged the traditional top-down paradigm of professional learning and redesigned its core practices to facilitate offering a personalized set of bottom-up professional learning strategies. These strategies involve teachers collaborating individually in a personalized focus with their instructional supervisors or collectively with other teachers. The PPL is practiced in the UAE, yet there is no transparent and clear investigation to show whether it is promoted effectively. Thus, this study investigated the effectiveness of instructional supervisors in promoting PPL at four private schools in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. A mixed research method was employed as a methodological triangulation design to guide the investigation using a model for PPL and an integrated theoretical framework that merges various theories and models related to leadership and learning. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected using data collection instruments that included self-administered questionnaires, semi-structured and focus group interviews, and document analysis. The study’s findings revealed that the professional learning provided impacted teachers’ performance based on the perceptions of instructional supervisors. However, teachers perceived that instructional supervisors were still relying on top-down professional learning practices that limited their choice, restricted their voice, and barely tailored professional learning content to their growth needs or interests. Teachers were restrained by top-down decisions that limited their freedom to choose or design their PPL activities. The study concluded with implications and recommendations for policy and practice to better foster a profound PPL experience. These recommendations include adopting more personalized and job-embedded strategies from the bottom-up professional learning model. Also, using digital platforms adaptive to assess, track and manage teachers’ needs, granting them a space to exchange experiences and share best practices, along with offering more ongoing learning opportunities to teachers everywhere at any time. For policymakers, upgrading the professional learning policy and the school inspection framework with guiding statements that provide more detailed descriptions of personalized professional learning would be valuable.
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    Investigating Perceptions of Pre-Service Teachers and Instructors about Field Experience: An Explanatory Study from a Federal University in the UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2022-10) AL MOHSEN, FATIMA
    Quality of the field experience provided to pre-service teachers is a decisive factor in producing efficient and skilled teachers after graduation. To implement field experience of quality in pre-teacher training, it is first important to understand stakeholders’ perceptions about it. If any drawbacks in the programme are identified, then proper measures, programs and courses should be applied to enhance effectiveness of the field experience program. In federal universities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), research work on pre-service teachers’ perceptions of pre-service training is lacking. Therefore, the present study attempted to investigate the perceptions of pre-service teachers and instructors about their field experience. To do so, this research work employed Bem’s self-perception theory and Danielson’s framework for assessing the efficacy of the pre-service teachers’ teaching quality. Using these theoretical backgrounds, this research work used mixed methodology of quantitative surveys, followed by qualitative open-ended unstructured interviews in which 113 pre-service teachers and 13 instructors provided their perceptions about the field experience. Further, suggestions for improving the program were also collected. The surveys and interviews were conducted as per international ethical guidelines. After analysing the collected data, it was revealed that most of the pre-service teachers and instructors have highly positive perceptions about the field experience. However, some areas were identified which needed improvement, as a considerable fraction of the pre-service teachers and instructors provided negative feedback about these areas. These crucial drawbacks identified were discussed and suggestions for rectification are provided in the present study. Based on the results, the present study made proposals for improving field experience programs in UAE, which can be optimized further to provide world-class training for pre-service teachers in the UAE before they graduated as certified teachers. It is anticipated that the findings of the present research study will also help policymakers in the education sector to implement appropriate programs and training to achieve the highest skill levels, to strengthen the pre-service teachers’ preparation program. Furthermore, it is expected that the present study will add on to the essential knowledgebase for achieving the goals set for the education sector in the UAE’s Vision 2030.
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    Investigating the Effectiveness and Teachers’ Perceptions of Rigorous Curriculum Design for Project-Based Learning Implementation on Middle School Science Students’ Achievement and MAP scores in a Private School in Abu Dhabi, UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2023-01) ASSAF, NOURA FOUAD
    Background and Purpose: Project-based learning (PBL) is an active student-centered instructional that has been explored in various contexts of schooling over the years. While the majority of the reviewed studies were conducted in North America, Europe, and part of Western Asia, very limited studies were conducted in the MENA region. Achieving proficiency in science requires students to learn through a high-quality curriculum that allows them to participate in authentic practices resembling scientists’ work that enhance their skills, sustain motivation, and increase their achievements. Therefore, the Rigorous Curriculum Design (RCD) framework was adopted in this study to develop PBL curriculum units that align standards, instruction, and assessments. Since countries’ educational systems accountability is currently evaluated based on student’s achievements in external benchmark assessments and while students are still underperforming in benchmark assessments particularly Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this study aimed to Investigate the Effectiveness and Teachers’ Perceptions of RCD for PBL Implementation on Middle School Science Students’ Achievement and MAP scores in a Private School in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Methods: Guided by the perspectives of Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory and Dewey’s experiential learning theory, an explanatory sequential mixed method design was used in this study. Science Standards Knowledge Test (SSKT), teachers’ questionnaires, MAP results, and teachers’ interview questions were adopted as tools for collecting data. Participants included N=304 middle school students, mostly Emiratis, middle school science teachers N=25, and six middle school science teachers that were purposively selected and interviewed as they implemented the RCD-PBL curriculum units. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the results of the quantitative tools while thematic analysis was used for the qualitative data. Results: The findings revealed several significant results: 1) implementing RCD-PBL has increased grades 6 to 8 students’ Pre-Posttest results in the SSKT in the experimental group compared to the control group. 2) implementing RCD-PBL has increased the students’ spring 2022 results in the MAP science exam for the experimental group compared to the control group for grades 6 to 8. 3) Teachers’ perceptions have evolved whereby they are more confident about the implementation of the RCD-PBL. They indicated how their involvement, understanding of the RCD-PBL, competencies, knowledge, and professional development were very important factors that influenced the curriculum design process and its successful implementation. In addition to the type of assessment (GRASPS), resources, delivery time, leadership, and parental involvement and support. Teachers have indicated that RCD-PBL curriculum units provided a coherent, cumulative, and well-sequenced enriched curriculum that helped improved and achieved the quality of education needed for their students and had a positive effect on improving their results in science benchmark exams. Implications, contributions, and recommendations: It was evident that students were underperforming in benchmark exams due to the lack of a high-quality curriculum that enhances their skills and ensures their engagement in science. In addition, teachers are facing many challenges as they struggled to figure out the best ways to address the standards, plan, and implement PBL in UAE. The isolation that they faced as pioneers in implementing such an approach peripheral to the curriculum in K-12 education was also evident. Therefore, investigating the effectiveness of implementing PBL science curriculum units using the RCD while grasping teachers’ perceptions towards their involvement in the development and implementation process could enhance all UAE students’ results in benchmark exams and help all educational leaders in the country to reach the UAE National Agenda 2031 and 2071. Therefore, further research is suggested with regards to monitoring the effectiveness of RCD-PBL on MAP scores for more than one academic year, investigating the effectiveness of such curricula in different subjects, grade levels, and impact on genders, increasing parental involvement, and examining their perceptions towards such curriculum design
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    A study of the development, implementation and perception of the ‘Towards Inclusive Schools Development Programme’ at three government primary schools in Lebanon
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2022-12) KASSBAH, ZEINAB YEHYA AGHA
    This research investigates the Toward Inclusive School Development Programme (TISDP) launched in Lebanon, in January 2018. The project is a joint initiative of the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and is supported by the Government of Canada. The study investigates the perceptions, development, and implementation of the TISDP. A mixed methods approach is used to collect quantitative data through surveys and qualitative data through focus groups, semi-structured interviews, participatory and non- participatory observation, and document analysis. The exploratory sequential mixed methods design was adopted to provide the qualitative data. The paradigm of pragmatism was also applied to bridge the gap between the scientific method and naturalistic methods. Thus, the use of triangulation aimed to increase validity and trustworthiness. The research questions focused on the aspects of development and how the provision services were implemented for the target group of students. It also explored the perspective of different stakeholders of the development and implementation. Findings revealed that there are several gaps realised during the implementation process towards inclusion. The following areas of concern need to be addressed to ensure sustainable development of the programme in the future. These gaps include: 1. Lack of alignment - There is a disconnect or misalignment between what the management level of the programme wants to achieve and what the principals and paraprofessionals in the schools actually do. This has a direct impact on the effectiveness of the programme. 2. Enforcement - It was noted that there is an obsessive forced hierarchical system rather than a participatory system in the programme. 3. There is no clear inclusive education policy at the national level and there is a lack of resources to provide provision services, which leads to frustration among paraprofessionals. The study concludes with recommendations for future practises based on lessons learned from TISDP. Finally, detailed suggestions for further research have been made to help fill the research gap with the aim of improving inclusive services in Beirut, Lebanon.
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    Investigating the Integration of Authentic Multicultural Young Adult Literacy Resources: An Exploratory Study of a Bilingual IB International Private Secondary School in Dubai
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2022-05) BERSOTTI, LUCIA
    Even though globalization has urged each nation to give birth to globally competent citizens and future leaders capable to cope with the complexities of the modern world, international private schools still find it difficult to deal with the concept of diversity, providing students with instructional resources imbued with negative and stereotyped portrayals of other cultures, resulting in the perpetuation of a singular dominant view of the discourse about the other. Supported by the Orientalist and Post-Colonialist, Critical Race Theories, the Culturally Relevant/Transformative Pedagogy, and the Critical Multicultural Education, and in light of the previous studies on the topic demonstrating the urgent need for a change in the design of school curricula to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population as well as for higher quality culturally sensitive teacher education and professional development training programs, this study aimed at investigating the extent to which the IB curriculum of a bilingual international private secondary school located in Dubai is enriched with English-written culturally authentic multicultural literacy resources for secondary students, with a particular emphasis on those portraying Muslim societies. Adopting a sequential mixed methods design, the study revealed that the selection of these resources as well as the provision of in-service professional development workshops promoting culturally sensitive teaching practices did not rank very high in the school’s culture. As a consequence, considering the wealth of the beneficial effects that these resources may have on adolescent students, school leaders, IB specialists, and educators are encouraged to implement their use in the classroom, and teachers’ educators to provide trainee and in-service teachers with higher quality culturally sensitive preparation and professional development programs. Since the present study took into consideration a specific case, it would be recommendable that further studies be conducted in the future, not only in other international private schools offering different curricula but also in government schools, and located in the other UAE emirates. Ultimately, the study proved the importance for imported educational theories, policies, and curricula to be adjusted to the different cultural contexts in which they are implemented.
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    Investigating the Role of Students’ Attainment, Aptitude and Attitude Assessments in Predicting SAT Achievement: The Case of US-Curriculum Schools in the UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2021-11) HADI, LAMES ABDUL
    The focus on the role of assessments in predicting students’ performance is rapidly increasing. The literature highlights the need to investigate students’ achievement predictors in exit assessments. Some studies have focused on investigating the relationship and/or predictability between one or two types of assessment within the academic, cognitive, or affective domains (Chen et al., 2012; Donati, Meaburn & Dumontheil, 2019; Gonzalez, 2015; Hong, 2018). In US-curriculum schools in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), three types of assessment are implemented that measure students’ attainment, aptitude, and attitudes toward learning, namely the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), Cognitive Ability Test (CAT4), and the Pupil Attitudes toward Self and School (PASS). The current study utilised those assessments to investigate the role of students’ attainment in MAP, aptitude level in CAT4, and attitude towards learning in PASS assessments in Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) achievement. This study used an explanatory sequential mixed-method design, and data was collected in two phases. Assessment data of students in Grades 9-12 from five US-curriculum schools in the UAE conducting the MAP, CAT4, PASS, and SAT was analysed to find the relationship between those assessments and to investigate the predictability of SAT using MAP, CAT4, and PASS scores. As a result, in phase one of the study, 603 SAT-Math scores and 169 SAT-English scores for the same students were analysed, and stakeholders’ perceptions were collected from 84 leaders’ and teachers’ and 797 students’ questionnaires dedicated to each participant group. In phase two, 13 leaders, 15 teachers, 32 students, and eight parents were part of focus group interviews. The results highlighted a positive relationship between SAT-Math and SAT-English scores and attainment, aptitude, and the majority of attitudes toward learning factors. Specifically, the strongest positive relationship is between students’ MAP and SAT scores and between CAT4 and SAT-Math. Two prediction equations were developed, concluding that MAP, CAT4, and PASS variables explained 44.7% of the variance in SAT-Math scores with an effect size of 0.808, and 42.9% of the variance in SAT-English scores with an effect size of 0.751. Stakeholders’ perceptions revealed an overall high agreement on the role of students’ academic attainment in English and math, aptitude level, and attitudes toward learning in predicting SAT achievement. Learner self-regard and confidence in learning are the only attitude factors that all stakeholders agreed on in relation to their role in SAT achievement, confirmed by assessment data analysis. Stakeholders’ perceptions highlighted the use of MAP, CAT4, and PASS assessments to support teaching and learning processes and pointed to the lack of a systematic process using assessment data to predict students’ SAT scores. The study contributes to the field by guiding researchers and educators in their pursuit of identifying factors within academic, cognitive, and affective domains that predict students’ academic achievement. Accordingly, the findings can guide educators and schools in supporting students’ academic and social development by finding a systematic process of utilising assessment information, tracking students’ progress, providing feedback about curriculum development, assessment policies, teaching and learning processes, and finally identifying stakeholders’ need for support in the role and use of assessments.
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    Investigation of positive education implementation and its impact on students' wellbeing and academic self-efficacy in K-12 private schools in Dubai
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2022-01) KHREIBI, RIMA ABOU
    Positive Education is underpinned by positive psychology and infuses happiness lessons within the traditional taught curriculum. Wellbeing refers to life satisfaction and happiness. Academic self-efficacy discusses the level of an individual’s confidence and their perception of how they successfully accomplish their activities. Schools are progressively more concerned with the use of positive education for the holistic development of the whole child through an increased focus on ‘social emotional wellbeing’ (SEWB) and academic self-efficacy. The purpose of the current study is to investigate the implementation of positive education and the impact of positive education implementation on students’ SEWB and academic self-efficacy within Dubai’s K-12 private schools. Guided by theories and perspectives of world culture theory, institutional theory, Seligman’s PERMA model, Ryff’s six-factor model of psychological wellbeing, Diener’s tripartite model of subjective wellbeing, Brofenbrenner eco-biological theory, social constructionism theory, self determination theory and social-cognitive learning theory. A convergent parallel mixed method research design was used in the study. Document analysis of key policy documents and initiatives, lesson plans, strategic plans, KHDA reports, schools’ vision/mission and values statements, Dubai Student Wellbeing School Census (DSWC) reports and Pupil Attitudes to Self and School (PASS) reports, teachers’, parents’ and students’ questionnaires, and interviews and focus groups of school leaders, teachers, parents, and students were administered. The PASS results from 1006 students were used. The DSWC results from 702 and 1202 students were used. The questionnaire’s participants included 43 teachers, 277 parents, and 480 students. The interviews and focus groups participants included 12 school leaders, 17 teachers, 10 parents, and 15 students. The findings revealed the following: 1) in recent years there has been increasing positive education implementation grounding in the recent international, national, local, and educational authority policies and initiatives. 2) absence of standardised local and school policy related to positive education implementation has led to the need for adaptability of positive education implementation across school. 3) there has been strong engagement of the internal school community (teachers, school leaders and students) with external school community (parents). 4) significant changes in the overall level DSWC indicators associated with social emotional wellbeing, life satisfaction, perseverance, feeling safe, and belonging to school. 5) insignificant changes associated with DSWC indicators associated with emotional regulation, happiness, optimism, academic self-concept, cognitive engagement, engagement (flow), peer belonging and school climate. 6) PASS assessment factors show increase in wellbeing, motivation and self-efficacy for regulation and decrease in academic self-efficacy. 7) significant increase in emotional, social wellbeing and academic self-efficacy among students due to positive education implementation as perceived by teachers, parents, and students.
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    The Impact of Explore-Instruct Teaching Approach on University Students’ Scientific Reasoning at The United Arab Emirates.
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2021-11) ABAZAR, FATIMA AHMED
    Background: Minds of people living in the present and future centuries should differ from those of the ones lived before. It is therefore the concern of societies looking for glory, to enhance their people cognitive abilities of problem solving and critical thinking to face contemporary challenges. In the scientific domain, Scientific Reasoning (SR) is one of the critical thinking dimensions in problem solving. Therefore, in order for societies, to enhance the quality of their human resources, there is an urge to raise the scientific reasoning abilities of their personnel. A wise choice of a tool to raise SR would be the formal education. Therefore, the pressing question would be whether exist any teaching strategy would assist in reaching the former goal. Features of such teaching strategy may be figured out by studying pedagogies and cognition. Explore-instruct teaching strategy has been chosen here to explore its impact in developing scientific reasoning ability and compare it to the Instruct-Solve traditional strategy. Purpose: The purpose of this research was to study the impact of explore-instruct teaching approach on college students’ scientific reasoning development in the United Arab Emirates, and to explore the perspectives of participating students who experienced this approach. Methods: The study took place in a private university at the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The participants were students studying General Physics (I). The study compared the development in SR in the control group which receives traditional physics lectures via “Instruct-solve” and the experimental group that received the same lectures via “explore-instruct” teaching approach. Scores of students in Lawson Classroom Scientific Reasoning Test were compared for the two groups prior and post the course in a four-month semester. The perspectives of students experienced the explore-instruct approach were revealed through e-mails interviews which included open-ended questions and one last close-ended question. Results: The study quantitatively proved that both teaching strategies had no significant effect on the Proportional Reasoning (PPR) of the participants, but they resulted in a normalized gain in the Control of Variables (CoV) and Correlational Reasoning (CRR) dimensions of scientific reasoning. But Explore-Instruct teaching approach made a higher normalized gain in CoV than the traditional approach of Instruct-Solve. Qualitative data collected via email interviews to study perspectives of students; revealed preference for the Explore-instruct teaching approach by some students when there is no work to be submitted for assessment. But students, in general, preferred the traditional approach when lab reports or any post-session work to be completed and submitted for assessment. Implications/Contributions: Higher education in general, and scientific and technological education, have a powerful role in qualifying personnel leading to developing economies. It has been therefore widely argued that the complexity of challenges encountered by the 21st society increased with the advance in technology, the education system is required to focus on improving students’ problem-solving cognitive skills. Scientific reasoning is one of the essential cognitive skills whose deficiency often leads to judgment errors when facing an issue. Studying the impact of the Explore-Instruct teaching approach on scientific reasoning would provide teachers, curriculum developers, educational quality assurance personnel, and decision-makers with evidence of improvement of CoV in a period of 4 months only, via simple flip in order of periods of the problem solving or conducting an experiment by the students and the instructor's period of lecturing. This will accordingly assist educators in making their choices.
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    The Impact of Culture on Female School Leaders' Career: A Study among Selected Public Schools in the East Coast of the UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2020-08) SAEED, ALKAABI
    Women in the East Coast of the UAE are a focal part of educational system since the early days of the country's inception; they have confronted several careers' related barriers that prevented them from gaining senior administrative and leadership roles. Fortunately, the situation has positively emerged. Nevertheless, the problem is that there are still few remaining obstacles (psychological due to culture) that may obstruct their careers' development. This study aimed at investigating and synthesizing the impact of culture on women school leaders’ career, psychological status, and their professional development in the educational system in the East Coast of the UAE. The research design was based on a review of the literature, theories (such as Kanters' (1977) Theory, The Scientific Management School in 1880s-90s, transformational leadership theory (1978- 1985) and the trait theory 1930s 1940s). In addition, data collection was conducted through interviews and detailed questionnaires which were administered on 260 women school leaders’ (respondents) as the study employed the mixed method design to be able to collect qualitative and quantitative data. Data was descriptively analyzed using several statistical tools including but not limited to mean and standard deviation computed to present the responses differences, frequency tables, Cronbach’s alpha and ANOVA. As for the study implications, it is expected to contribute positively to the women improvement in leadership positions and gender balance in UAE community and promote the newly enacted constitution. One limitation was faced during the study is that conducting such studies is unwelcomed by a few leaders from the opposite gender (Men). The researcher main finding was that female leadersin the field of education in the East Coast of UAE are facing certain psychologically related pressures by their local community which may affect their careers due to culture (norms, traditions and habits etc. The researcher concluded that Stereotypical image of women in the society is still a barrier to overcome. In addition to gender inequality and psychological factors related to these two problems. The research recommends that future studies could be implemented with government support and in a wider UAE scale and sectors coverage.
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    The Impacts of Collaborative Learning on Developing Critical Thinking in English Classroom: A Study among High School Students in Two Private Schools in Abu Dhabi
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2020-10) ALRABADI, MARYANA GHAZI
    Schools in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shifted from following traditional teaching system to using technologically-advanced classrooms. Subsequently, by the time the students start their new learning experiences, they need to adapt different forms of learning processes, such as adapting higher educational learning system, and sharpening their thinking skills. Critical thinking skills are essential factors that can be engraved in the learner at any point of the educational hierarchy. Thus, it is better clenched in students at the tertiary stage as they become more mentally matured to overcome challenges. Also, students’ thinking skills need to be sharpened early by providing them learning strategies which promote them to think why and how, instead of only asking what. Additionally, the study concludes that students need to acquire 21st century thinking skills in English classroom integrated with technology as they enter the working life of society. This thinking process helps the students to think critically, and acquire the knowledge meaningfully when they encounter it in real life situations. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to understand how collaborative learning develops students’ critical thinking skills in English classroom among high school students in two private schools in Abu Dhabi. In addition, the conducted research used mixed method approach (quantitative and qualitative methods) which is suitable for this research as it would answer the main research question and would increase the validity of the research (Creswell, 2003). As a result, the study will contribute in increasing the abilities of students who would use their critical thinking skills effectively in English classroom through collaborative learning in future and promoting shared responsibilities within students and teachers by developing effective communication skills.
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    Usability and Suitability of Blackboard Learn with the Perspectives of the Faculty Members
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2021-06) ALMANSOORI, AFRA GHAREEB
    This study is aimed at providing insights into the main prospects, obstacles, and best practices of technology integration for the effective implementation of a smart remote learning system in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Such insights are obtained through examining the usability and suitability of Blackboard Learn (BBL) among faculty members of the biggest and second oldest higher education institution in the UAE. The main research question is – ‘what are the trends and developments accounted for in the literature on technology integration in higher educational institutions in the UAE?’ Two main groups of theories were consulted in this study. Broad theories such as Scaffolding, Zone of Proximal Development ZPD, and Activity Theory, and specific theories like TPACK, Bloom's digital taxonomy, and Connectivism Learning Theory are referred to in order to draw suitable conclusions. The rationale of this study is to discuss the data gathered to improve the faculty's professional experiences of technology integration. The rationale can also be explained by examining the progress of implementation of BBL in the UAE. Technology integration is a critical aspect of the educational industry as per the guidelines given by the governments to achieve the goals of the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021 to transform the UAE into a smart country. Therefore, examining the progress of such integration is significant. A mixed methods research was conducted on Emirati higher education institutions. Quantitative data was gathered through electronically distributed surveys with 329 faculty members. On the other hand, qualitative data was collected through electronically distributed questionnaires among 14 faculty members. The software used for quantitative data analysis is SPSS. On the other hand, the analysis technique used for the qualitative data involved coding the data and categorizing them into themes. The key findings of the study were that technology integration is beneficial and the BBL is a suitable tool to be used in higher education. It was integrated into the teaching practices by the faculty members to a great extent during the quarantine period (COVID-19). Some external factors such as connectivity proved to be a major challenge to the faculty’s daily teaching practices. Faculty members witnessed some obstacles whilst using BBL such as lack of student's readiness, lack of faculty readiness, and connectivity issues. The implications of the study were the following – the faculty member’s contributions, the technical skills and the training for both faculty members and students in higher education as well as their motivation and readiness are essential in order to ensure effective utilization of BBL. The limitation of the study included the lack of the student’s perspective, the failure of some faculty members to give a detailed response, and the consideration of one higher education institution rather than including several different institutions. This study claims that regardless of the data analysis, there were some challenges and improvement areas to be considered for the effective implementation of BBL. The scope of further study can be an investigation of the impact of COVID-19 on technology integration.
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    Business Leaders’ Perspectives on the Role of Education and the Skillset Required in United Arab Emirates’ Knowledge Economy
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2019-08) Buchler-Eden, Hanna
    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is traditionally known for its vast oil reserves and associated wealth, however the Government has accentuated the necessity to transform into a knowledge economy. In order to do so it has reformed its education system with the objective of developing the requisite skills required in a knowledge economy during the formal education period. The purpose of this research is to obtain in-depth understanding of whether senior business leaders of large and medium companies operating in the UAE considered education to be a means of developing a knowledge economy skill set, and if education was important, how successful had it been in enhancing the availability of those skills in the UAE labour market. The initial stage of the thesis was to identify the components of the conceptual framework to answer the research questions, and to assess the progress that the UAE had made towards knowledge economy status, based on established studies and global institutional reports. Mixed methodology was employed to answer the research questions and accomplished by conducting semi-structured interviews with 15 UAE based business leaders, plus a quantitative survey answered by 138 multi-level managers and professionals employed in UAE. The qualitative data was analysed using content analysis, and the survey, was analysed by means of SPSS software. The major findings are that the skills needed for the UAE knowledge economy differed somewhat in ranking from those suggested by previous studies and that the current educational policies, although progress have been made, are not generating sufficient skills to meet labour market demands. The key limitations of the study included a lack of agreed definition of the knowledge economy and the challenge of acquiring robust data from local UAE sources. Several recommendations are made for further study including extending the education framework to embrace early childhood education and university research culture. Furthermore, the organization of a platform for business leaders and education leaders, researchers, policymakers and practitioners to share knowledge and practice, so that the output of skills levels from the education sector could be substantially enhanced.
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    Investigating the Influential Factors of Grade 4 Mathematics and Science TIMSS 2015 Results of the Content and Cognitive Domains in the UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2020-11) Balfaqeeh, Asma
    The educational sector in the UAE considers Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) as a valuable indicator to trace educational improvements and to fulfil the country’s National Agenda 2021. By then, the nation aspires to become among the top rated educational systems in the world, simultaneously with the country’s National Day Golden Jubilee celebration. However, grades four students scored below the international norm in TIMSS 2015 in both subjects of mathematics and science. Viewing the benchmark results of TIMSS 2015 and 2011, the challenges in content and cognitive domains for the UAE students look similar. The purpose of the study was to examine the factors that were associated with the students’ performance in the above mentioned domains. The study adopted the quantitative research approach through the data analysis of TIMSS UAE 2015 results for mathematics and science. Additionally, contextual questionnaires for schools, classrooms and student are put under scrutiny. The data analysis included independent sample T-Test, the analysis of variance ANOVA, multiple linear regression and Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). The findings of the study showed that the association between the content and cognitive domains of mathematics and science for grade 4 TIMSS 2015 were very strong and positive. The analysis indicated that school, classroom and student factors had an association with mathematics and science achievement as well as the content and cognitive domains. The school factors that had a positive effect on students’ achievement were school location, resources, and economic background while principal experience had insignificant effect. The classroom factors that had a positive association with students’ achievement were discipline, mathematics instructional time and science investigation while science instructional time, mathematics homework and mathematics teachers’ degree had negative association. The results of the student factors showed that girls performed better than boys in mathematics and science. The student factor that had a positive association with students achievement were having breakfast on school days, engaging teaching in mathematics lessons, like learning science and confidence in mathematics and science. The student factors that had negative association were bullying and like learning mathematics. It was suggested that policy makers, school leaders and teachers need to focus on the factors that were associated with students’ performance in order to reduce the achievement gap of grade 4 UAE TIMSS results.
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    College Instructors' and Students’ Perceptions, Practices, and Assessment of College Students' Critical Thinking Skills in Writing Courses in the UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2021-03) Al Kafri, Banan
    Investigating college English writing instructors and students’ perceptions of effective teaching and assessment methods is of great importance, as it is found that perceptions could highly influence practices of critical thinking. In academic writing courses, the teaching of critical thinking has been even more emphasized as writing activities effectively enhance students’ critical thinking skills. Therefore, the main purpose of this research paper is to investigate how critical thinking is being perceived, practiced, and assessed in college English writing courses. An explanatory mixed methodology has been used. 20 English instructors and 250 students were surveyed using a link for online versions of the teacher and student questionnaires. As for the qualitative part, five classroom observations and six semi-structured interviews were conducted. The findings revealed that college English writing instructors and students have clear and almost similar definitions of critical thinking, yet their perceptions of effective instructional and assessment methods as well as their practices were found to be varied and different. One major mismatch that has been identified between key stakeholders’ perceptions was about the importance of explicit instruction on critical thinking. Based on findings, several recommendations were suggested to policymakers and university administration for more collaborative efforts with instructors to support them in their attempts to teach and assess students’ critical thinking.
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    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2020-10) Alshehhi, Khawla
    Embodying the aspiration of the United Arab Emirates leadership, the vision of the Ministry of Education (MOE), is to ensure quality education for all. To implement the Federal Law 29 of 2006 on the rights of People with Disabilities (PWDs), the MOE launched the “School for All” guideline 2010, under the title “General Rules for the Provision of Special Education Programs and Services for Public and Private Schools.” Transitional services are included in these provisions. This was also declared in the country’s National Policy in 2017 on PWD, currently known as People of Determination (POD). It has been noted that, transitional Services as outlined by the “School for All” guideline do not describe detailed provisions as current international transition practices do, where an Individual Educational Plan (IEP), a summary of performance and required supports are delineated in an exhaustive manner. In contrast, the Quality Standards (QSs) of services for PWDs in governmental and private institutions, issued by the Ministry of Community Development in 2016, introduces a more comprehensive sets of standards for non-specialized institutions to guide provisions for PWDs. For this study, it seemed befitting to explore inclusive provisions in Higher Education through the lens of those QSs. The study aims at investigating inclusive provisions that facilitate transitioning PWDs from high school into HEIs. How inclusive provisions are perceived by PWDs at the opposite ends of a transition, as well as by those who provide these services in high schools and colleges, can point out whether higher education in the UAE is regarded as accessible. This study utilized a sequential mixed methods approach. The 222 participants are from eight high schools and four colleges in the UAE. The qualitative and quantitative data was generated using: documents review, interviews, questionnaire and observation. Statistical analysis and coding of the data revealed themes of PWDs readiness for the journey from high school to higher education highlighting needed provisions that can facilitate their transition to HEIs. The findings point to a “missing link” between secondary and post-secondary education that needs to be urgently addressed for a smoother transition into HEIs. Recommendations serving that purpose are offered. This study contributes to the scant literature considering inclusive higher education in the UAE, and sets a new direction for future research to examine transition services in national post-secondary education.
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    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2021-02) Alhammadi, Fatima
    The main focus of this study was to investigate the influence of the National Service programme in the UAE among the post-Secondary school Emirati youth on their academic development at higher learning institutions and hence career development in the future. To achieve this, three specific research objectives were developed to guide the study development. The first objective was to assess the experiential and learning skills taught at the national service that influences the level of discipline among the alumni while in higher learning institutions. The second objective was to explore the influence of participating in the national service programme on students' attitudes in higher learning education towards constructive feedback. The third objective was to assess the impact of participating in national service on the ability of alumni to make informed decisions on occupational choices. Snowball sampling technique was used to collect data from as many participants as possible. A sample of 1843 Emirati university students who are alumni of the national service programme, 106 parents of university national service students and 106 university lecturers, were recruited to participate in the study. A questionnaire, including closed-ended questions to collect quantitative data and open-ended questions to collect qualitative data, was used. The collected data were analysed using statistical analysis and thematic analysis. Before conducting analysis to address the specific objectives, a descriptive approach using frequency distributions, percentages and graphical representation were used to analyse demographic data and all the quantitative data. Another pre-test for objectives analysis conducted was Cronbach’s alpha test for reliability and validity of internal consistency, which showed significant reliability and validity of the data for further analysis. Pearson’s Product-Moment Correlation and Multiple Linear regression models were used to analyse the data in order to address the research objectives. The results showed that soft skills and behavioural maturity learnt during national service improve students discipline level, attitudes towards constructive feedback and the ability to make informed decisions as well as on academic development. The results also showed a significant relationship between improved discipline and commitment to academic studies and other responsibilities. The findings have concluded that participation in the national service programme equips young people with experiential and learning skills as well as behavioural maturity improvement that significantly influence their discipline level, academic development, attitudes towards constructive feedback and informed decision-making process. Therefore, the research recommends that the government should establish a diploma or degree programme for national service programme to increase its academic and career development scope.