Maysoon is a passionate educator with about 20 years of experience in classroom teaching, teacher professional development programs, facilitating new pedagogical practices in classrooms, managing teacher education programs, instructional design and content development. More recently, Maysoon has been engaged in online content design for school education, utilizing social media to promote the knowledge and skills of teachers in addition to education research, strategies and policies.
Maysoon’s commitment to enhancing the quality of education is prompted by her goal to enrich the teaching experience and promote lifelong learning through the effective instruction of Arabic literacy skills. She has also developed experience in school leaders’ instruction leadership practices, which play a pivotal role in the quality of schools’ education. Maysoon’s experience in delivering in-service teacher training and professional development coaching to school teachers, supervisors, and principals includes educators in the public and private sectors of Jordan, Palestine, Oman, Qatar, Morocco and the UAE.
More than Just Luck! Beating the Odds in Arabic Literacy Achievement
There is a crisis of literacy across the Arab world. The Queen Rania Foundation is working with out-performing schools in Jordan to identify good examples of positive deviance that could potentially be scaled nationally – and adapted regionally.
The paramount challenge to development today in Jordan and across the Arab world is the low levels of Arabic literacy. It is estimated by the World Bank that almost 60% of children in the region cannot read for comprehension by age 10. The acquisition of Arabic literacy is made particularly complicated by the diglossic nature of the language (where written and spoken Arabic may diverge significantly) that often means there is added cognitive load when students are trying to learn in their “native language”. Literacy is the gateway to learning and will be the challenge that defines our region’s future.
Many Jordanian schools work in challenging contexts, and with few resources, exacerbating the literacy crisis experienced in the country. Multiple reform efforts inspired by international examples have been implemented in Jordan with little sustainability. While education reform efforts across Jordan have done a good job of following good practice globally, not enough has been done to find out what already works from within the system. These examples of “positive deviance” are important particularly for a low-income country like Jordan because they present uncommon but successful behaviors and strategies that have emerged locally within existing constraints. Furthermore, because these solutions emerge from local communities they have a better chance of being shared and adopted across the country.
Based on an analysis of the 2017 EGRA (Early Grade Reading Assessment) results for 2nd and 3rd grades, QRF has been able to identify a small number of ‘out-performing’ schools whose students were achieving high levels of literacy. These schools are often in areas with few resources, challenging environments, and communities. They are a prime example of positive deviance.
This presentation will provide an overview of our work and share some of the preliminary findings from our analysis.