by Marc Garnett, LLS
Choosing a career path is tough for most us, let alone when you’re 16 and surrounded by so many possible options. During the past month, LLS made it our mission to inspire Doha College students by showcasing the diverse job roles within the global industry of sport; here’s what we’ve been up to…
The goal was simple, well at least on paper; I set Year 12 students the task of planning, promoting and delivering their own sports event. Football tournaments, athletics competitions and fund raisers were all discussed, but for me, I knew students could plan these events with their eyes closed – they needed a proper challenge. ‘How about a guest Q&A?’ I asked. The suggestion was met with the usual reactions of ‘Who could we get?’ ‘What if nobody turns up?’, and so on. One brain storming session and a few names later we had our short list of potential guest speakers – each with an interesting journey in the sports industry, all with their own unique story.
World Cup & Champions League winning Physiotherapist
Students decided their event needed to educate and inspire. They wanted to plan an evening that could be attended by students, teachers and parents, but what type of professional could appeal to everybody? As of 2017, Physiotherapy is one of the most popular degrees in the UK so with that in mind, we wanted to gain an insight in to what it takes to be successful in such a competitive area of the sports industry. Qatar’s very own Aspire Academy is arguably the most technologically advanced sports facility in the world and attracts professionals from around the globe who travel here in the hope of learning new ideas which they can take back to their respective countries. Within the Sports Medicine Centre sits Dave Galley, a Senior Football Physiotherapist. Thanks to LLS’ advanced professional network, we’d been introduced to Dave a few months back and we were instantly attracted to his natural energy and genuine passion for his work – we knew he’d be a great guest speaker, when the time was right.
As the sun set, we enjoyed a coffee overlooking the pristine grass pitches and talk soon turned to football. I was slightly envious that Dave had sat in that very seat watching clubs like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid up close and personal, but this was just an average day in the office for him – after all, he’s won a Champions League and a World Cup…
It was happening – a student-planned Guest Q&A with one of the world’s leading football physios, but how were students going to pull this off? The Commercial Bank Masters is an annual feature in Qatar’s sporting calendar so where better to learn about planning a sports event than here? Thanks to Doha Golf Club, students were invited to spend the final day of play at the club working alongside various event specialists. Doha Golf Club’s Yvette Mendies is Assistant to the General Manager and plays a key role in coordinating the annual tournament - she kindly shared some top tips on planning and delivering an event before introducing students to the Branding Manager and showing them around the media zone. ‘It’s a real team effort’ was one of the messages students received, so it was back to the drawing board to figure out the ‘event team formation’.
Coordination, promotion and logistics were the three sub-teams created and Year 12 student Diego from Chile was nominated by his classmates to become the event Chairman. Leading promotion was a tag-team partnership of Cerys (Wales) and Pablo (Spain) whilst Louis (England) was going to be responsible for health & safety and logistics.
Before diving into promoting this event, it was important for students to speak with a ‘marketing master’ so I called on Evolution Sports Business Development & Brand Manager, Toyan Greaves. One of the things he said to the students was "when promoting your event, you must think of all the resources around you." The students heeded his good advice, which took them to the next person able to help.
An Invaluable Lesson
I led a workshop on the key rules to designing an effective promotional poster and the team were all set to get creative. 24 hours later and the results revealed the team was lacking a quality graphic designer…
Rather than wasting time making marginal improvements on their poster designs, students reluctantly asked for some help and in came Jishu Matthew, Web Manager at Doha College’s Marketing Department. One concise brief and a short meeting later, the team had their new and improved poster. The lesson learnt here was: if you can’t do something well yourself, don’t be afraid to ask somebody who can.
With attendance targets set, posters in hand, emails written and social media posts created - the team was in full promo mode. Fast forward a week and the event was upon us.
The team had researched Dave’s career and set a list of questions which would hopefully educate and inspire the guests in attendance. We’d asked him for some images to go into the PowerPoint presentation and one simply read:
Here is how Dave explained these words.
LLS believe in a winning formula and educate young people on the importance of qualifications, work experience and building a professional network. We asked Dave what advice he would give to the next generation of aspiring sports professionals and here’s what he said:
‘The more voluntary work you can do, the better. Get as many contacts as you can - because everyone’s out for these jobs. Even at my age now, it’s as much about who you know as what you know.’
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Doha College, Evolution Sports, Doha Golf Club and most importantly, Aspire Sports Senior Football Physiotherapist, Dave Galley for making this event a great success.
On behalf of LLS’ Year 12 students I would like to say thank you to the guests who showed their support by attending. Personally, I would like to congratulate students on delivering such an insightful event and look forward to more in the future.
Thank you for reading my blog.
In separate acts of kindness, Doha College discovered three of its primary school girls recently and willingly parted with their hair in order to help children less fortunate than themselves.
Amy, Naisha and Lara decided that, even though they were only young, they could make a big, positive difference in the life of others. All three independently sent their braids; grown for most of their lives, to three charities that provide wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment or other illnesses.
Naisha Faith Katkar (Year 2), donated her hair to the Madat Trust, part of TATA Memorial Cancer Hospital in Mumbai, India, following a conversation with her mother about how each one of us, no matter what age, could help someone. Naisha’s mum Nidhi took the opportunity to introduce the topic of cancer and how people struggle to fight it. The Year 2, kind-hearted student asked if there was anything she could do to make those with the illness smile, and the idea of hair donation came about. She went ahead with the brave act on her seventh birthday and sent her locks off to India.
Also after a discussion with her mother, it turned out that Amy Austwick (Year 3) and her brother thought that cancer was an illness that only affected the older generation. Following the revelation that it can impact any age, Amy asked if there was anything she could do, and a few days later she decided to make a donation. Her hair went to the Little Princess Trust in the UK, which provides real hair wigs free of charge to children and young adults up to the age of 24.
Lara Ionascu (Year 5) took the bold move to have her hair cut and donated it to the Rapunzel Foundation, a charitable organisation from Ireland that works to improve the lives of those living with hair loss through fundraising as well as hair-raising. She said that the donation not only benefits the receiver, but also provides the giver with an understanding of the needs of others. She has already pledged to donate her hair again as soon as it grows back to the required length.
The girls’ gesture comes from a background of empathic upbringing, a mind-set nurtured at school. Doha College has been involved in charitable drives for many years, and recognises charitable acts of its students at its annual Awards Ceremony each May. This academic year, the Charity Committee extended its remit to involve the primary school, and works tirelessly on fundraising events such as quizzes, trips, sales and many more. This year, two charities benefiting from the efforts of DC – enthusiastically led by primary teacher Jonathan Kuttschreuter – are the 2nd Chance Rescue Centre and Building Schools Abroad Scheme.
Doha College has always provided a wide array of Enhanced Curriculum Activities to choose from, and always strives to extend it further. With a linguist at the helm, in the form of polyglot Dr Sommer, DC offers German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Chinese Calligraphy and from this year – Sign Language.
Two 6th form students, Eman Al-Sulaiti and Caitlin Graham Smith, both in Year 13, lead a Sign-Language club for secondary students in the Autumn term. Its success and impact on the students was immediately visible, so they decided to pass on the torch to the Primary School, where Mrs McKenna now leads a Sign Language ECA in the West Bay campus.
There are about 70 million deaf people in the world who use sign language as their first language. For many more, it is a second language and it makes a great difference in the ease of communicating to people with hearing impairments.
Each country has one or more sign languages, which are not international as one might think, but specific to the communities that have created them organically over centuries. Many signs are indeed universal – like ‘baby’ or ‘sleep’ – because they inspire the same gestures, similarly to onomatopoeia, however most are not. In the UK, the government acknowledged signing as an official language in 2003. The British Sign Language – the one taught at the Doha College ECA – is not a translation of English but it has its own linguistics and very different grammatical structures to English.
Watch the club in action during the Autumn term, when Eman and Caitlin taught it to secondary students:
Many schools around the world include sign language in their standard curriculum, as it has been shown that it provides not just the regular benefits of a foreign language – such as increased communication capabilities, development of the brain or staving off degenerative neurological disorders – but also it helps children appreciate the needs of others. It unlocks ways of understanding how others’ brains perceive certain things, how meanings can be captured in gestures, how to convey a message in an empathic manner. In addition, hearing children enjoy learning sign language as a means to communicating with each other in a silent environment, pass on ‘secret messages’ and of course because it is great fun.
Mrs Nichola McKenna and Mrs Angela Sanders, who run the club in the West Bay campus of the Primary School, explained: "There is a huge buzz around learning new languages and often we immediately think of learning a spoken language like perhaps French, German or Spanish. We might not always consider other ways of communication, and in particular non-verbal methods. This was something that appealed to us. We were interested (and the children, we hope!) in learning a new life skill that would allow us to communicate on a different level and to appreciate the challenges of those who may not be able to communicate in the same way that we know how. We hope that by beginning to learn British Sign Language, the children will have acquired a skill that they can go on to develop and use throughout their lives. Who knows when you may meet somebody who is deaf or hearing impaired? Even just knowing some basic sign language could make the world of difference to them."
As a pioneer in a number of educational fields, Doha College is the perfect setting for innovative research and experimentation of new teaching techniques. One of these is “flipped learning”, an approach that so far has yielded very encouraging results.
Doha College has welcomed two final-year students from the University of South Wales to test their method and assess its impact on children’s learning. Lucy Manley and Hannah Phillips completed some action research with Year 1 and Year 4 classes at Doha College, with the aim of topping their already excellent standards of achievement in the classroom.
During their time here, they conducted a pilot initiative of the innovative 'flipped learning’ approach. This concept is championed by many educational experts and integrated into the classrooms of some of the best schools in the world. This approach is most often seen in upper primary and secondary settings, so research into the efficacy of such use in Key Stage 1 is very exciting, and a rare opportunity that Doha College was keen to experience.
How does 'flipped' learning work?
At home, students use videos and other digital content created or assigned by the teacher to learn a new concept, or further consolidate a concept previously taught in class. The children complete questions or tasks within the videos, results of which are seen by the teacher, in order to offer specific support to their understanding and application of the skills during class time. Also, as children will have already been exposed to the content prior to the lesson, they should be able and confident to begin class activities much more quickly than those not utilising this approach. As a result, the teacher can begin activities almost straight away, leaving more time at the end of the lesson for their learning to be extended further.
What are the benefits?
- 21st-century learning that aligns with upcoming digital competency frameworks
- Increased student - teacher interaction
- Lessons can be repeated, paused and played back as needed
- Students pay closer attention to detail
- Increased hands-on learning time in class
- Lessons can be viewed by absent students
- Parents can view the lesson and learn along with their child
Students become active learners and practise self-regulation - which aligns with the High Performance Learning strategy here at Doha College, and will offer them increased independence. While viewing the videos, students may pause and rewind as needed to see or hear the information again and can also have this content available to them during lesson time, to refer back if necessary - ultimately taking control of their own learning!
So far, the results are beyond encouraging with a 30% increase in engagement levels, a 33% increase in the number of students able to be extended their learning in class, and a 55% increase in the difficulty levels of extension tasks being accessed. More importantly, the children are really enjoying arriving to class ahead of themselves in terms of preparation and confidence.
Lucy Manley shared her thoughts on her experience in our school, saying: 'Flipped learning may be a new concept to some, but here at Doha College, they are leading the way by allowing me to conduct such innovative research with and for the benefit of further developing their younger learners - with hopes of extending the opportunity to many other learners in the future.’
Doha College was the first school in Qatar to be awarded an Eco-Schools Green Flag from the Foundation for Environmental Education in 2016, following a rigorous inspection which looked into all its sustainable initiatives and projects. Continuing this commitment, and in line with Qatar’s prioritisation of environmental preservation, the EcoSchool Committee at Doha College ran an ‘Ocean Awareness Month’ in January 2018.
The purpose was to promote awareness of the vast amount of waste-plastic which is dumped into the ocean, and the growing crisis surrounding this. Throughout the month of January, the school highlighted these issues by organising topical activities:
- Eco-School assemblies
- Plastics in the Ocean – Fact of the Day
- Screening of “Blue Planet II”
- Beach clean-up trip
- Cooking with sustainable locally sourced fish in ‘Cooking Club’
- Screening of Sky News’ ‘A Plastic Tide’
- Kayaking in the Al Thakira Mangroves trip
- ‘Plastics in the Ocean’ presentation at DC’s CCI Legacy Talks
- Art Department Enrichment Day, where Year 7 students created sea-life models from plastic waste
- Plastic-free Day in the tuck shop
The environmental awareness mindset fostered at Doha College fits in with Qatar’s commitment to its international responsibilities. Government initiatives being implemented in Doha, such as plans to address urban water tables, creating a biodiversity database, and the air quality monitoring programme, will hopefully turn the city into a laboratory for environmental innovation.
You can follow the school’s environmental work within the community on its dedicated Twitter account at @DCEcoSchool.
Committed to preparing children for the real world from the earliest stages of their education, Doha College ensures that Primary students are actively involved in the life of the school. To achieve this, the college offers a diverse range of leadership opportunities for students. At the beginning of each year, elections and other selection paths put together a vibrant and enthusiastic body of students that gladly go the extra mile to serve their fellow students and the school community.
While the Head Boys and Girls come from Year 6, the other jobs are taken by students from Year 1 and up; some positions require representation from each class, others from each year group, while others only require particular passion and expertise, regardless of class or year group.
Student leadership reaches into each aspect of school life, and here is a description of each role:
Head Boy & Head Girl – they are responsible for representing the school at events and make public speeches. They serve as a role model for students and share pupils' ideas with the school’s leadership.
School Councillor – they represent their fellow students to the management and their secondary school counterparts, they promote their ideas and communicate their needs, concerns or suggestions.
DC Lifestyles representative – they champion a healthy lifestyle, and were selected for their interest in sports, mindfulness, nutrition etc.
Eco Warrior – they champion environmentally friendly attitudes and support the various drives like paper recycling, composting, monitoring the use of electricity, of single-use and disposable products etc.
iChild – students with good technical skills who can be the first point of contact for their classmates when it comes to iPad troubleshooting.
Charity Committee – students work on a variety of events to raise funds for the chosen charities, currently “2nd Chance Rescue Centre” and “Building Schools Abroad Scheme”.
House Captain – they champion a healthy competitive attitude that motivates members of their house, they build positive team spirit, and assist with the logistics of running the inter-house competitions.
Through their participation in the various committees and leadership teams, the students learn about public speaking, 'what makes' a good leader, organisational and team skills, problem-solving.
As they are influent role models to the younger years, the student leaders know that they are expected to:
- act with care, courtesy and reliability
- be positive and enthusiastic
- listen, show empathy towards others and act as good friends would
- use manners and good grace when dealing with students and adults
- treat others fairly, honestly and protect their dignity.
This year’s Head Boys and Girls shared their thoughts on being elected and on their responsibilities:
I started in DC right from the beginning
When the teacher announced that I had been elected, my heartgasped for a breath; then volcanos of joy erupted, and everyone was clapping. I knew I could do it, even though the responsibility was going to be tough, but I was going to meet amazing people, have lots of fun and find new opportunities! What I would say to anyone is “Try, even if you might not succeed. Believe in yourself, you never know!”
I am very honoured and proud to have been voted as Head Boy of Doha College Primary. I know it is a huge responsibility and there will be lots to do in this coming year to prove that I am capable of living up to the students’ and teachers’ high standards and expectations. It will be an exciting journey and I look forward to sharing it with all the other students.
I feel honoured to be the Primary Head Girl of the West Bay Campus. I know this role will require me to prove, this coming year, that I am happy to put in extra effort for the improvement of the school, and that I am capable of fulfilling all the expectations of the staff and children. I hope I have a lot to show for it at the end of the year.
Happy New Year, and welcome to the new term. I am delighted to have been able to welcome all our students back, and to see them so eager to learn. A special welcome goes to our thirty-eight new Primary and fourteen new Secondary students and their families. In the true Doha College spirit, I am confident that they will all settle in very quickly. Students and staff will do their utmost to help; we have all been new once.
This is the time of year for reflection on what has been achieved so far, in all academic subjects and other areas; it is also the time to consolidate and refine all learning ahead of examinations and final assessments.
2017 was an outstanding year for Doha College, and we are well underway to making this year a highly successful one, too. Having been shortlisted again for the British International School of the Year Award 2018 - this time in the category Outstanding Digital Technology Initiative - we feel proud that we have been recognised as a beacon for digital learning, and generating 21st-century skills. The winner of each category will be announced on 22nd January 2018 at the Awards Ceremony in London – we will be sharing the news with you via social media.
On the subject of our facilities, you will recall that we had to undertake some structural work on the main building in Al Waab last term. This caused some inconvenience but, owing to the positive, growth-mindset attitude of students and staff, teaching and learning continued apace with minimal disruption. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, as parents, and the entire Doha College community for your understanding. The Reception area will reopen today.
Looking ahead, we are very much looking forward to welcoming you all to the Governors’ Forum, which will take place on the Al Waab campus on 22nd January from 6.30 pm till 8.00 pm. We will report back on the achievements of the year gone by, give an overview of the finances and discuss the priorities for the year(s) ahead, especially on the subject of the new campus development.
Before we know it, public examinations and final assessments throughout the school will be upon us. The outcome of the mock examinations last term indicated that our students, as expected, are well on target. Let me thank you, yet again, for your support in aligning with our aspiration of ‘Excellence From All’.
I extend my heartfelt congratulations to our Assistant Principal, Mrs Meikle, on the birth of her baby boy Quinn. We all wish her family well and look forward to welcoming her back next term.
Over the course of this term, I am hoping to see many of you at upcoming school meetings and events. Other than that, please do not hesitate to contact the relevant member of the pastoral or academic teams, or myself, if required.
With all my very best wishes for 2018.
As you will have heard by now from our other platforms, Doha College has been shortlisted for a British International Schools award in the “Outstanding Digital Technology Initiative” category. The nomination came as a recognition of our school’s spearheading work in the Digital Learning area. The college has a long history of integrating digital technology in all areas of the curriculum from a young age, aiming to create a generation that is ready for whatever technology the world of tomorrow may bring.
The qualifying criteria were that the initiative is demonstrably successful, genuinely innovative, broadly scalable, reasonably affordable and widely shareable. Doha College’s projects obviously ticked all of these boxes to make it on the shortlist. Lead by Mr Brian Kerr, Head of Digital Learning at Doha College, the initiative focuses on equipping students with eight key qualities to help them become: digitally literate, creative explorers, independent enquirers, collaborative participants, engaged learners, innovative leaders, responsible users and organised scholars. Each of these qualities have links to High-Performance Learning, an educational approach which leads to significantly improved results and has been pioneered at DC since 2016.
This latest achievement follows DC’s win last year in the “International Impact” category, an award that recognised the school’s work on environmental issues. Doha College was the first school in the MENA region to receive a Green Flag under the Foundation for Environmental Education’s International programme.
The British International School Awards celebrate innovation in strategic, financial and educational projects in qualifying schools. They are organised by the British International Schools magazine with the support of ISC Research. Schools competed in ten categories against British International schools across the world.
The Awards Presentation will be held in January 2018 in London, UK.
Doha College recently announced achieving the best examination results in the history of the school’s 35+ years of existence. But news from Pearson and Cambridge International examination authorities topped that announcement with triumphs that are even more extraordinary: three ‘Best in Qatar’, three ‘Best in the Middle East’ and two ‘Best in the World’ awards.
Ms Justine O’Brien from Pearson travelled to Qatar to personally congratulate these exceptional young people. She said in her address to the proud students: “You have made this possible through persistence, hard work and an ambition to constantly improve. I commend you for it. This is just the beginning of an exciting journey ahead. You will be entering a very competitive world of constant change, but all the skills and knowledge you have acquired will help prepare you for any hurdles that may lie in the future.”
Eyas Elamin, holder of the ‘Best in the World 2017 in IGCSE Mathematics’, took the examination a year earlier than his peers, while still in Year 10. “When I don’t study, I like to do lots of other things, particularly basketball. I knew I got 100% in the exam, but not necessarily that I was the best in the world. It feels amazing, it needs to sink in for a while!’ he told us.
|Shamilah Halford was awarded ‘Best in the World 2017 in GCSE Physical Education’. When asked what she liked to do for fun, she said: “I run six times a week – I’m not sure whether that counts as fun, but it’s good training.” Shamilah, who achieved eight A* marks and one A, hopes to make a career in Civil Engineering.|
All-rounder Jay Stearns, who achieved 9 A*-A marks, was awarded two ‘Highest Mark in the Middle East’ – one for Music and one for Photography. He is an accomplished pianist and recently participated in the ‘Qatar National Music Competition’. Jay is also a remarkable athlete, having recently swam in the FINA Swimming World Cup for a second time. The only question he did not know the answer to was “When do you find the time to do all this?”
Aaleen Ahmed achieved top grades in all her subjects and received the prestigious ‘Year 11 Achievement Award’. Aaleen is now back in her home country of Australia, and her award was accepted by her proud father.
Here are some of the figures that demonstrate the excellence of the results:
91% of students achieved 5+ A* - Bs
61% of students achieved 5+ A* - As
75 students achieved 6 or more A* grades
17 students achieved 7 or more A* grades
13 students achieved 8 or more A* grades
7 students achieved 9 or more A* grades
2 students achieved top grades in all subjects
The following are the special awards recognising our students' exceptional results, and a special mention to the Art &Photography Department, who brought home nearly half of these awards:
Highest mark in the world
Eyas Elamin – International GCSE Mathematics
Shamilah Samir Halford – GCSE Physical Education
Highest mark in the Middle East
Aaleen Ahmed – GCSE Music
Jay Allen Stearns – GCSE Music and GCSE Art & Design: Photography – Lens And Light Based Media
Sarah Mekhaimar – GCSE Art & Design: Photography – Lens And Light Based Media
Highest mark in Qatar
Danya Khalid Al-Thani – GCSE Art & Design: Fine Art
Mohammed Ayman Zein – International GCSE Business Studies
CAMBRIDGE LEARNER AWARDS:
Highest mark in Qatar
Natasha Zoe Jago – GCSE History
A 30-strong group of Doha College students participated in the Qatar National Music Competition, which took place recently in Katara; quite astonishingly, more than half of them received awards and special jury prizes. This number excludes the 50 members of the Doha College “Fortes” Choir, who also won First Prize in their category.