Early Years - How do we manage personalised learning during COVID ?
                                              Ana Korac (Head of Early Years) - 01/01/2021

Personalised learning has always been a popular term in education. It “refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimised for the needs of each learner individually.” It looks at the children’s unique academic needs and personal interests and requires the adaptations of the curriculum to cater for everyone’s needs. Teachers have always seen this as a ‘tough nut to crack’, and that is especially the case now when we have to rely on the TEAMS square in the pandemic times.

At Diyafah International School, we have realised that, to recover all the ground our students have lost during the pandemic, students are going to need more than just technology. We strongly believe that the successful personalised learning during the pandemic depends on strong relationships: between teachers and their students, teachers and their students’ parents, students and their parents. This is what we practice every day in every possible way.

In the Early Years Department, much of the creative thinking has centered around personalised learning. We have been practicing modifying our lessons, pacing, and subject matter to meet the needs and interests of individual students. This has proven effective even for our distance learners. We have found that our students are becoming more independent. They are not passive recipients of personalised learning but rather active initiators of it. They learn in their safe environment and at their own pace. Teachers have to, in some sense, manage multiple students simultaneously, but Distance Learning, the artificial intelligence, helps facilitate that so it’s a much more smooth delivery.

We are aware that this ‘new normal’ is going to stay with us for some time, but we are happy to say we are learning and improving every day of every term. It’s not the traditional ‘teacher in front of the classroom’ method of teaching and learning. In some way it is a controlled chaos, but that means that every single child in our classrooms, virtual or actual, is actively learning, and that is what we care about the most.

What's Happening . . . . . .
                                                   Wendy Simpson (Vice Principal) - 15/12/2020

When asked to write a blog on well-being, many things come to mind; but one which came immediately into my thoughts is the use of Whats App. The majority of us have ‘Whats App’…whether it be for personal or business purposes and there are pros and cons in using’ Whats App’…and its effect on well-being is what I want to share with you.

In my opinion it is a very quick and effective communication tool, when used for information and not necessarily conversation. It is used in school for delivering important information and I found it extremely useful for giving my location for on-line deliveries during lockdown. 

It is wonderful for sharing images and videos with families who are separated for a long period of time as we have all been experiencing, however the problem is (in my opinion) when it is used to share comments and information which is often not reliable amongst groups of individuals, adults and students, and Chinese Whispers springs to mind. This can lead to anxiety, stress, anger, frustration and sometimes a sense of bullying (have you ever experienced this yourself?) which directly connects to well-being.

So…what can we do about it (when we are addicted to tapping on the little green circle with the latest little circle at the top…reading and most likely responding. The UAE has made it very clear in recent newspaper articles, people can be fined for sharing unreliable and sometimes damaging or inflammatory information and has taken action in some cases. For our own well-being and sense of happiness in the use of any social media platform, I believe we are all responsible for the action we take, and for every action, there is usually a reaction.

So next time you want to see what’s up on your ‘Whats App’ enjoy the wonderful sharing experiences and take note of reliable information; but think twice before responding to negativity.

We have so many things to be thankful for and although we are going through a very difficult and challenging time, we can always be grateful for something and focus on the positive.


Preparing for College and Beyond…..
                                    Shalini Patrick (Sixth Form Coordinator) - 30/11/2020 
2020 has taught us lessons for life. Life changing experiences that have changed the way we look at and value people and things around us. More importantly it has taught us to appreciate the here and now but to also plan flexibly for our future.

As a school, we personalise the career planning process to make sure we provide the right academic options for each individual. However, our school motto “Let your light shine” reinforces our belief that our job is to bring out the best in all our students by delivering a holistic approach to how we educate.  I am reminded of the conversation between this little boy and a wise man.

‘Creating good human beings and Positive Changemakers’ will always remain the core purpose behind which our Curriculum for the Sixth Form is designed. Being the seniors in the school we want our students to model integrity, competence, confidence, gratitude, mindfulness and mutual respect.

We are excited to share with you all that we have planned for our Sixth Formers:

To begin with, lets look at our  Curriculum - Our course offerings are centred around meeting the different learning needs of students. Students will have the option to choose the regular A level qualification , take the BTEC Vocational qualifications pathway (runs over two years and students will be graded based on their course work and not on a formal examination) or opt for a combination of both. Alongside, enrichment programs are designed to prepare our students to successfully transition into a demanding and competitive world of higher education and work.

We realise we are nuturing  a generation that is confident yet confused, speak their mind and yet seek guidance and direction. While some students may still not be certain about their future career goals, we still look to support their  emotional and intellectual needs whilst guiding them through the process of choosing appropriate courses. 

We are fully committed to supporting our students through their college application and admission process. The career counselling department provides individual support to students. The counsellor helps students identify their interests and strengths in making subject choices, building their profiles and skills, preparing college applications to the UAE, US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Europe, Asia and India. We also support students who need the UAE High School Diploma and will help prepare students wishing to sit the EmSAT.

A growth mindset and ability to adapt to change is the need of the hour and the students of Diyafah are fortunate to be part of a multi-cultural environment that fosters these skills. 

We believe that our vision for our sixth formers will come to fruition with the active collaboration between the parent, student and the school. 

"What is our Virtual School Experience like in Primary" 

                                                                   Noleen Treanor (Head of Primary) - 02/11/2020

At Diyafah International School, we take pride in delivering quality education to every student, tailored to their individual learning needs and inspired by global best practice.
Through a safe and secure platform, our virtual school will inspire your child with innovative lessons, unique learning opportunities and high quality teaching as part of our blended learning approach.
Our Virtual School Experience has two key aspects:
Connected time where students can learn from their teachers ‘live’ using our safe and secure online platform- Microsoft Teams.
Guided time where students learn independently through tailored tasks set by their teacher.

Striking the right balance between on and offline time allows your child to make the most of personalized learning from home, no matter what year group they are in. For our primary students, their virtual school experience builds on the foundations started in early years, with a continued focus on cognitive development and preparing them for the next steps in their education. Alongside academic success, your child’s wellbeing is always at the heart of everything we do. Our virtual school has been designed to meet every student’s social, emotional, creative, physical and cultural needs.
In Primary, the virtual school day is an engaging one that brings to life every aspect of your child’s curriculum with plenty of opportunities to interact with their teachers and classmates.
At Diyafah International School, we pride ourselves on giving a virtual experience which will:
Participate in real-time lessons through a safe and secure platform
Enjoy a balance of online and offline learning taught by world-class teachers
Receive high-quality, interactive assignments and regular personalised feedback
Complete tasks and activities with their classmates
Develop essential skills and nurture curiosity through independent learning
As parents, receive regular updates from your child’s teachers on their progress.




New facilities and the reason DIS is different

                                            Ian Campbell (Principal) - 20/10/2020

In term 3 Mr Bart wrote a BLOG “What is a school?” As the new Principal, I would like to continue with this theme and try to articulate why I am so proud to be a part of this International School and leading it to deliver the British Curriculum.

Diyafah International Schools (DIS) opened in 2013 after the success of Al Diyafah High School, the founding school in Dubai. DIS has grown since its opening but there has always been an underlying drive by the Management to follow the schools’ motto and Let the Light Shine for the students, parents and staff. We are very fortunate to have had the opening in August 2020 of a new phase, which will allow the school to educate students in a range of subjects that is second to none.

The new facilities and subjects that are now available include Design and Food Technology. These are exciting opportunities as the students will be able to develop their vocational skills and creativity in one of the best equipped schools in Abu Dhabi. For many other schools in the AbuDhabi area there are limitations of space and as a result there has been limited Physical Education. This is not the case in DIS as we have a new multi-purpose indoor hall and outdoor area that now allows our students to exercise in a safe space, with sufficient distances to reduce the transmission of COVID. While we cannot use our new swimming pool at the moment we are looking forward to opening it to the students as soon as this pandemic is over.

A successful school however, in my experience is not just about the facilities but the staff and a certain je ne sais quoi that makes the school become something special. This factor in my opinion in DIS is the staff and their interaction with the students. As a consequence if this collegial atmosphere I am confident that students will be able to access the best from these new facilities. In the recent ADEK review of distance learning, DIS was considered at the highest rating in all of the 13 areas that they measure. In addition we received 100% pass rate in this years GCSE’s as a result of the efforts and commitment of the staff.

As a graduate of science I know that I cannot articulate the best features of the school and I would encourage you to visit. We can arrange a virtual tour and we will show you what makes us different. When I first arrived in the UAE I was impressed with all the gadgets and material things. However, as I have continued to live here my opinions have changed and I want to be confident with what I am buying. In this way, I want you to be confident in the facilities the school has and that they will be used to get the best from your children.

So, although schooling may well be adapting and changing, schools as communities of learners is what DIS does best.  Student comments from pervious feedback is worthy of mention as they remain convinced that nothing can replace that classroom dynamic.

With that in mind why don’t you come and talk to us. Is your current school as well equipped as DIS? Does your current school have as qualified a staff as DIS? Do the staff in your current school show the commitment and the care for your children that DIS does?

Hopefully, I and the staff will see you soon. Until then keep safe and “Let Your Light Shine”.


Video Games: To play, or not to play

                                             By, Rushil Pradeep Kumar, Year 11 (12/10/2020)


Are you a parent who is constantly worried about your teenage child’s addiction to video games? Are you a teenager who wonders what exactly is wrong with your parents as they impose new rules at home to control your game time? Well, if so, you are reading the right article. With the exponential growth of video games, it is essential you look at the positives and negatives, and strike a good balance while dealing with video games.

Why are your parents so worried?

One of the main problems that worry parents and medical experts is the adverse effects video games have on the wellbeing of children. Too many teenagers these days are left with restless fingers on controllers and eyes glued firmly on their screens after playing video games for hours and hours on end. Many parents pick up on this and express their concerns. One such parent is Mrs. Calvet, the mother of two, who has recently posted her problems with video games online. She is one of many parents who are having trouble controlling their children's screen time and what they are exposed to while playing. She wishes that her children  spend more time with the family and that they sever the unhealthy bond they have formed with the weapons, slaughter and enemies of their virtual world, but just like almost every parent, wonders if it may be too late now.   

Is gaming addiction real?

In addition to this, children are growing so addicted to these video games that they only take a break for junk food that they can eat while playing. Family time, sports and reading are all seemingly things of the past. Nowadays, clicking buttons on controllers is very much a hobby for most children, and it is simply dreadful to think of the complications that can arise because of it. Arthritis, diabetes and obesity in children is rapidly rising and it is now quite clear why video games may well be the main cause for it. If you are a kid who loves playing video games, we very strongly advise you to understand these issues and control the time you spend on video games; it can very much kill you. 

Does gaming influence behaviour?

Another evident disadvantage of video games is the behavioural impacts that video games, particularly violent video games, have on children. We may argue that what you do on the screen, stays on the screen, and can have no impact on children's reactions to real life situations. However, modern video games are made to be so lifelike and graphically intense that it can be very hard for children, particularly younger children, to understand what is right in real life and what is not. It is very scary to think how a child might process and react to a situation that does not favour them after being desensitized to such mindless, vulgar violence.  

Is limited gaming beneficial? 

However, contrary to many parent’s beliefs, video games are definitely not just the destructive, dreadful devices that they are made out as being. There are very many beneficial impacts that video games can have on children, if used correctly. Jobs of the modern world and the world of the future demand for people that have at least moderate technological expertise. There is virtually no job these days that do not require some sort of computer skill. Thinking on these lines, are we not doing the children a favour by allowing them to discover on their own how to handle a device of any kind? Are we not at least indirectly feeding into their minds the capabilities of what a machine can do? True, exposing children to technology can lead to them loving their devices too much, but is that truly bad in a future where they may need to work with these devices for the rest of their lives? This reason should be enough to persuade you that you are wrong in trying to completely stop your children’s use of video games. 

Should you as parents consider its educational value?

In addition to this, there are many video games that are both educational and much more compassionate, that many critics of video games choose to ignore. Games that allow kids to have pets, learn programming, become an Olympic champion, songwriter, dancer, things people can only dream of, all from the comfort of their house and made much easier than it would be in real life. For those struggling to keep the family life alive, and have only video games to blame, that is no longer a reason as there are countless different 4-6 player games that do not need to involve violence and can be fun for the whole family. It is up to you whether you are willing to adapt for the sake of interacting with your children or remain stubbornly glued to traditional methods of entertainment. Instead of making your children’s lives miserable with threats and disappointment, why not make use of these wonderful ways of working with video games rather than try and completely ban it? 

Hi bro, what is in stake for you?

You may find it frustrating when your parents nag you, but see what is at stake: Your health, your education and your career are all at risk of collapsing! Your mom cares about your health, so she worries; She worries that you are losing precious learning time; She worries that you may ruin your career. This does not mean that you should not play video games. But, don’t you think it is in your best interest that you should not let gaming control you? 

So, what is the right approach?

“Too much of anything is good for nothing” goes a saying. “Work while you work and play while you play” goes another. While gaming offers great entertainment to the modern generation, one cannot deny that it can wreak havoc on health and education. It allows youth to collaborate, but also causes addiction. It relieves boredom but can also leave you with chronic disorders. 

So, bros, don’t you think you need to control your gaming hours rather than your gaming controlling your life?

So, parents, don’t you think it is unfair to ban your child’s favourite video game rather than guiding him to use it judiciously?


Title: Ms. Sofia Khan, 11 G

Contributions from Mr. Paul (The first and the last two paragraphs)


It’s Learning - through PLAY!                                                   

                                                     Ana Korac ( Head of Early Years) - 23/06/2020

At Diyafah International School we follow the English Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum. The Curriculum consists of the crucial Seven Areas of Learning, and our main “technique” at Diyafah is to teach “through play”. 

Did you know that the first eight years of a child’s life is the most important time in their development? The EYFS Curriculum Framework states that “children learn best when they are in a safe, rich, enabling environment”. At Diyafah we strive to create these conditions every single day in Early Years. 

But what exactly are we trying to teach our children?  Is it really possible to learn effectively “through play”? 

Play is far more powerful for children than many of us realise. It’s actually the key to learning and the experience that makes a deep and lasting impression on every child.  Play can help enrich learning and develop key skills such as inquiry, expression, experimentation and teamwork. 

While engaged in Meaningful Play, children are ACTIVE participants, not passive bystanders.

  • Meaningful Play gives a child a choice about what he or she wants to do.

  • Meaningful Play feels fun and enjoyable for the child.

  • Meaningful Play motivates children and helps to create a risk-free environment where they can experiment and try out new ideas.

  • Meaningful Play enables children to take on roles and responsibilities, alongside their peers, and respond to other children according to the rules of play that they’ve created by using their imagination.

  • Meaningful Play makes learning fun.

Our goal is to create opportunities for children to wonder, to question, to work as a team, to experiment and to investigate. Children are often asked to “act out” an object or a scene of their choice, drawing from their creativity and imagination.  The teacher then probes the “why” question - why that object, why that scene? 

It is through play that children begin to discover how to connect their understanding to the real world around them, test ideas, apply their knowledge to different situations and develop the skills to live and work collaboratively. 

When children are making up a game, acting out a role, moving toys around, creating new worlds in their head they are assimilating the real world.  When we observe our students in play, we often find that they are deeply immersed in what might seem like a simple task. This kind of ‘switched-on’ brain function has been shown to increase brain activity related to decision-making. This is why self-directed play is so important. The best “deep” learning takes place when a child is immersed in what he or she is doing and making discoveries for themselves. For example, when teachers ask students to stack a tower, students are learning about gravity, balance, and movement. By asking them to draw and make their own marks and signs they are learning about communication, symbols and representation. Imaginary worlds help them to understand the emotions and the thoughts of others. Risky play teaches them about their own boundaries, and how their bodies move. 

The possibilities of learning through play are endless.  In Early Years at Diyafah our motto is “Let their Light Shine Through Play.”


BTEC Qualifications:  What? & Why?                                                                                  

                                                                Ian Campbell (Principal) - 14/06/2020


It is clear to me that not everyone enjoys examinations and does not reach their target grades. However, there are alternatives!  BTECs. “What are they?”,  I hear you ask.

The Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) is a provider of secondary school leaving qualifications and further education qualifications, known as BTECs.  They have been available for 25 years in the UK and beyond and were awarded by Edexcel Examination Board from 1996. It is a route that is only available through Edexcel (Pearson Education).

Through the BTEC qualification students can still succeed in gaining the points to progress into university.  BTEC qualifications, especially Level 3, are accepted by many universities.

BTECs have academic value but they are different from Advanced Levels ( A Levels).  “How are they different?”, I hear you ask again.  The key difference is in how they are assessed.  This is done through coursework and not final examination.  And this method of assessment suits some students particularly well.

Points are available for credits achieved at different levels and unit grades.
All BTEC courses are a balance of project work, continuous assessment, the development of skills and the interaction with other students in the classroom (teamwork).


Comparison of A Level and BTEC

A Level
Accepted by all universities
Accepted by most universities
Examinations at the end of course
No examinations
Taught in class
Taught in class, and includes visitations to work places / collaboration with business.
Taught by teacher
Taught by teacher with visits from Entrepreneurial Speakers, Business Leaders, Science Specialists.
Content driven
Skills developed through experiences in BTEC
Academic qualifications
Vocational and work-related qualifications


BTEC courses are available at different levels – Level 2 is the equivalent of GCSE  and Level 3 is the equivalent of A Level.

While the possibility of having no final examinations might seem very attractive to some, probably many students, BTECs still require hard work.

Students who succeed in BTECs are typically conscientious students with a strong work ethic.  Effort is required throughout the whole course.

Each BTEC course is 100% coursework based.  Students who follow the BTEC route can study a subject of their choice while, at the same time, gain  ‘hands on’ experiences.

At Diyafah International School we are committed to designing the curriculum around our students and we believe that this alternative to the A Levels route will be beneficial to some of our students as they enter Key Stage 5 in September 2020.

I hope that this information has been of some interest. If however there are any further questions please post them via email to me and I will get back to you.



"Looking Forward - Why still School ?"

                                                                Bart Cannon (Principal) - 31/05/2020


Not that long ago I wrote a BLOG on this website entitled “What is a school?”  In the article I spoke about how Diyafah International School has invested time, energy and passion in creating a school for the future, a school fit for the challenges of 21st century learning.  I know many parents, staff and students have watched with enthusiasm the new phase take shape throughout most of the Academic Year 2019/20.  I know that we all, myself included, wanted to be utilising these new learning spaces now, during Term 3.  And, due to circumstances well beyond our control, that has not been possible at this time.

In light of our recent, joint experiences of E Learning I am prompted to ask a further, related question: “Are schools still necessary”?

During the last 8 weeks learning has continued a pace among our students.  Teachers are still teaching, planning, marking and engaging with students and parents.  Students are still making progress, participating, attending “remotely”, completing homework, developing their knowledge and skills and meeting academic targets.  End of Year tests will still take place during our Assessment Window (see my letter uploaded on Parent Portal recently for more details).

All this is taking place through the medium of “distance learning”, thanks to the wonders of modern technology including video links, live, virtual class sessions, software programmes and assessment tools such as Microsoft Teams Assignments.  It is indeed great that Diyafah International School was recently recognised as a Microsoft Showcase school!  The training and preparation which went into achieving this award has certainly paid off.

We also know that many educational commentators have said that when schools re-open things will be different.  There will need to be changes to the way schools operate to ensure, for example, social distancing measures etc.  

We also know that a more “blended approach” to learning is here to stay.  Blended Learning is a style of education in which students learn via electronic and online media as well as traditional face-to-face teaching.  So, across schools throughout the country, we may well see smaller classes, different hours of operation for different year groups, a curriculum which encourages more independent research as well as assessment methods linked to more online testing.

There is no doubt that, due to our collective, recent experiences we all have an opportunity to rethink what is meant by education, educational systems and schooling. And that is as it should be.  As I also said recently in The Beacon “the only constant is change”.

So, although schooling may well adapt and change, I also maintain that schools, as communities of learners, are here to stay and for very, very good reasons.  Let me mention some: 

Pupil interaction.  Working online is good.  It can even be great but its not the same as when the student is actually there in your classroom, along with his or her peers.  Nothing can replace that classroom dynamic.

Colleague interaction:  working with other teachers, other professionals in the same building, sharing stories in the staff room about lessons which went well and others which perhaps didn’t, that too is irreplaceable

Hubbub. As a teacher of thirty years’ experience there is no place like a school to work in - to be physically present in.  The noise of the corridors and the buzz of purposeful learning in the classroom cannot be replicated online.

Structure - schools, by necessity, have bells, timetables, periods, registrations and set breaks.  There is something re-assuring about that structure to the day

Facilities:  Diyafah International School will have some of the best, “state of the art” facilities for use for all our students when we re-open.  

Whether it is affording our students the opportunity to design a product from scratch in our purpose built Design Laboratory or creating a “culinary delight” in our Food Laboratory, or whether it is teaching even our youngest students the essential life skills of swimming and diving in our semi Olympic Pool;  it may even be developing the inherent “actor” in us all by  performing a unique Diyafah musical or drama production in our vast Multi-Purpose Auditorium; or coaching the next football, basketball or cricket superstar in our Sports Pitches and Courts - all of these opportunities  cannot be achieved “virtually”. They require us all coming together as a caring community focussed on developing the potential of all our students.  

So, as our website states confidently Diyafah International School has “the 21st Century Spaces Ready for You”.  We have your teachers “Ready for You”.  It is clear to me that great schools, like Diyafah Internationals School, are here to stay.  

See you soon, keep safe and “Let Your Light Shine”.


"The Great Indoors"

                                                                     Wendy Simpson (Vice Principal) - 19/05/2020

Creating a balance between family life, home schooling and work is easier said than done during this time. Every household situation is different, and the pressures and demands are different as well.

There are so many well-intentioned and often useful links to websites offering advice on how families - mums, dads and children - can “stay active, stay healthy, stay engaged, stay sane” but sometimes it can seem a bit overwhelming.

Being “stuck” in the “great indoors” can take its toll on most of us. And so, it is vital to get back to the basics and ask what is truly key for everyone’s welfare while at home.
I think the answer is trying to ensure QUALITY family time together. Yes, there are things which have to be done in the course of each and every day indoors especially with the demands of work, home schooling, cooking, cleaning, shopping, washing, ironing…… need I go on?

But making time for simple pleasures can be so beneficial in creating a really happy and positive environment indoors. Examples I suggest can include: playing board games together; watching a movie together; cooking and baking together; walking or exercising together; reading together, chatting together over a meal.
Establishing a good and manageable routine is also key, with a focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, relaxation and sleeping, social time together to simply talk, share thoughts, feelings and ideas.

From an educational point of view, we at Diyafah International School know that these activities, let’s call them “extracurricular activities”, are extremely important for the health and well being of our students. Yes, formal learning is important, very important, in order to ensure continued progress but we are careful not to overload our students with too much screen time. Social interaction is crucial in establishing healthy relationships in families, in communities, and, when the time comes, back in school with peers and teachers. A child’s developed emotional intelligence, as well as academic intelligence, in today’s world is vital.

Let’s hope that this “new normal” we hear so much about will continue to put families at the centre of all we do, as they should be. Life is precious; our families are precious; time with them is precious. This is what the “great indoors” is all about, appreciating what is precious.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay together. Stay positive. Stay sane.


Be Part of the Solution, not the Pollution !

                                                       Mr. Craig Smith  (Environmental Coordinator) - 01/03/2020

“Climate change has happened because of human behavior, therefore it is only natural that it should be us, human beings, who address this issue. It may not be too late if we take decisive action today” (Ban Ki Moon)

Decisive action is precisely what Diyafah International school is trying to achieve this year by participating in the Simply Bottles initiative. The aim of “Simply Bottles” is to reduce the amount of plastic in our environment by collecting it, breaking it down and turning it into fibre that can then be used to make clothes.
The initiative is run by a Dubai based company called “D Grade” who are working with schools to engage, educate and equip communities to reduce plastic pollution and increase recycling rates of plastic water bottles.

At present, the UAE is producing over 2.75 billion plastic water bottles per year with much of this ending up in landfill or in the desert, causing harmful problems to wildlife. One of our main roles as educators is to provide our students with the necessary tools to make a difference to our communities and to society.
As a school we are proud of the enthusiasm that our students have shown for this initiative and their clear ambition to make a positive effect on their environment. With talk of wildfires spreading across the news outlets at the beginning of the year, the need for change has become a key topic throughout our school community. It has been no surprise to see the enthusiasm shown by our students to make this initiative as successful as possible.

Our sustainable programme is a whole school initiative and it is very, very encouraging to see the effort that our students are putting in to make a difference to their, our society.
Well done Diyafah Green Students!


Why Learn Another Language?

                                                                   Ms Naglaa (Head of Primary Arabic)

One of my lovely foreign students asked me recently:
“How do we benefit by learning a new language? I am only a temporary resident in the UAE and my country does not speak Arabic. Soon I will return to my country for good. So, I don’t see any benefit in studying Arabic or any other language for that matter. I won’t use it in the future!”

What was my reply?  Let me share that with you.

I told my lovely foreign student that learning another language is providing "Nutrition for the Mind!”

What did I mean?

I truly believe that a person can nourish his or her mind by learning another language. There are many benefits to learning a second or even a third language.

Multilingualism has proved to help improve a person's ability to memorize, recall details and information and to perform multiple tasks.

It can help to reduce Alzheimer's disease or even delay the onset of early dementia. In addition, learning languages helps enhance an individual's ability to use and better understand the rules of his or her own native language.  It even helps him or her improve and expand his own native vocabulary. 

Other Benefits of Second Language Learning are:

  •     improving students' analytical skills

  •     improving creativity and problem-solving skills

  •     promoting more opportunities to participate in business, commerce and so many other disciplines of study

  •     enhancing listening skills

According to one recent university research study, second language learning increases the power of perception.  The brain is like a muscle that works best when it is stimulated.  It works best when it is exercised.  Learning a new language does precisely that – strengthens the brain muscle.  A person’s overall memory is sharper, remembering more clearly shopping lists, names, addresses, directions etc.

And you are never too old to start learning a second or new language.  Physical exercise brings many benefits, even in old age.  Likewise, mental exercise also brings many benefits.  So, what are you waiting for?  Learn a new language today!

لماذا نتعلم لغة جديدة؟

 توجه إلي مؤخرًا أحد طلابي الغير عرب بسؤال هام:
"ماذا نستفيد إن تعلمنا لغة جديدة؟
 ثم استدرك قائلا :أنا أقيم  في دولة الإمارات لفترة مؤقتة نظرًا لظروف عمل والدي و لا نتحدث العربية في بلادي أو أي لغة أخري غير لغتي الأم . وقريباً سأعود إلى دولتي؛ لذا لا أرى فائدة من دراسة اللغة العربية أو أي لغة أخرى فإنني لن استخدم هذه اللغات مرة أخرى في المستقبل؛ و لذا لاأعيرها أي اهتمام.

فماذا كان ردي؟
اسمحوا لي أن أشارككم إجابتي على سؤاله الهام.
 أجبته قائلة إن تعلم لغة جديدة بمثابة "التغذية للعقل"
نعم "التغذية للعقل"

ماذا قصدت بتغذية العقل؟

يمكن للإنسان تغذية عقله من خلال اللجوء إلى تعلم لغات جديدة، حيث أنه يوجد العديد من الفوائد المترتبة على تعلم الفرد لعدة لغات، فقد ثبت أن تعدد اللغات يساعد في تحسين قدرة الفرد على الحفظ، كما ثبت أيضاً بأن تعلم لغة أجنبية يساعد في الحد من الإصابة بمرض الزهايمر، والخرف المبكر، وبالإضافة إلى ذلك فإن تعلم اللغات يساعد في تعزيز قدرة الفرد على استخدام قواعد لغته الأم، ويثري عقله بالعديد من المفردات الخاصة به.

ويوجد العديد من الفوائد الأخرى لتعلم اللغات منها:-
 تحسين مهارات الطلاب التحليلية.•
 تحسين مهارات الإبداع ومهارة حل المشكلات.•
تعزيز مهارات الاستماع لدى الفرد.•

ووفقاً لدراسة أجرتها إحدى الجامعات الإسبانية مؤخرًا تبين أن الأشخاص الذين يتحدثون عدة لغات أكثر قدرة على مراقبة محيطهم العام، كما أنهم يمتلكون مهارة أكبر في التركيز على المعلومات ذات العلاقة بموضوع ما، واستبعاد المعلومات الغير متعلقة بهذا الموضوع، كما أنها تعزز ذاكرة الفرد، حيث أن الدماغ أشبه بعضلة تعمل بشكل أفضل مع ممارسة الرياضة. ولأن تعلم لغة جديدة يعتمد على حفظ القواعد والمفردات الخاصة بهذه اللغة، فإنه بذلك يساعد على تعزيز تلك العضلة الدماغية، مما يحسن من الذاكرة الكلية للفرد، وتشير العديد من الدراسات إلى أن الأشخاص الذين يتقنون أكثر من لغة لديهم القدرة على تذكر قوائم التسوق، والأسماء، والاتجاهات بشكل أفضل من غيرهم.
 وكما نعلم أن ممارسة الرياضة البدنية تجلب العديد من الفوائد الصحية حتى سن الشيخوخة ، فإن التمارين الذهنية  أيضًا تجلب العديد من الفوائد العقلية.
إذن لماذا تنتظر، هيا سارع واغتنم الفرصة و تعلم لغة جديدة اليوم!

بقلم / نجلاء محمد النوبي
منسقة قسم اللغة العربية للمرحلة الابتدائية


Why a Year of Tolerance?

                                         Lamis Adnan  (Head of Secondary Arabic, Islamic Studies & UAE Social Studies)

In the Gulf News of 9 December 2019 there was a headline stating:

“UAE to further reinforce tolerance”

But why?

Tolerance is a word loaded with meaning.  Linked to the word “tolerance” are other values of “love”, “peace” and “harmony”.

Tolerance is needed in our world now more than ever.  It is a basic human requirement to ensure that all races and peoples of the world can live in peaceful coexistence.

The UAE has placed great value on the importance of tolerance and has made 2019 “the Year of Tolerance”.

The UAE has become the global capital of promoting tolerance, building bridges of peaceful relations between more than 200 nationalities living and working daily in this great county.  In so doing the UAE has become an oasis of peace and security.

The visit of Pope Francis to Abu Dhabi in February 2019 and the meeting between him and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, in the presence of the Leaders of the UAE, resulting in the signing of the “Human Fraternity Document on World Peace and Living Together”, was a truly historic event.  This was a very visible symbol of promoting tolerance and spreading peace and love.

We at Diyafah International School, with our diverse staff and student population of over 60 nationalities, aim to see ourselves as an harmonious example of human co-existence.

We strive to live daily the vision of our UAE leaders in promoting tolerance. We seek to spread throughout our school the values of mutual respect, acceptance of “the other”, fraternity and peace.

In practical ways we work daily to educate our students that bullying or prejudice in any form is unacceptable.  We have relaunched, for example, the Anti-Bullying WITS programme very recently.

We are now working on ways we can continue to develop our Moral Education programme as well as develop the Human Fraternity Initiative recently launched by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Diyafah International School is determined to “let our light shine” as a beacon to all, that we are a tolerant, peaceful and harmonious place to work and to “sow the seeds” to enable our students to grow and thrive in mutual respect.

Lamis Adnan
HOD Sec Arabic, Islamic & UAE SS

لماذا عام التسامح؟
بقلم " لميس محمد عدنان "
رئيس قسم الدراسات العربية والإسلامية والدراسات الاجتماعية

في أخبار الخليج بتاريخ 9