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Bringing Kagan to the GCC

 

ADUKG CEO, Dr. Ahmad Badr, has already discussed some of the key advantages of the Kagan approach to cooperative learning in a recent feature article in Education Journal Middle East. For a different perspective, we now turn to Laurie Kagan, Director of Professional Development at Kagan Publishing and Professional Development.

 

Laurie, alongside her husband Dr. Spencer Kagan, created Kagan Publishing and Professional Development, and provides around 300 Kagan workshops in the US every summer. She is responsible for all workshop design, the development of new training materials, and the training of Kagan Certified Trainers.

 

Laurie recently spent a week with ADUKG to support trainers in their adoption of Kagan Structures within their teaching, and spoke with us about how the Kagan approach has been received here.

 

“I think that it’s exciting to have people at the university level willing to take a risk and teach how the brain best learns. This is risky because change is very difficult. Instructors teach the way they were taught so there is a lot of myelination of what teaching is and it’s hard to break habits.”

 

Of course, old habits can die hard, and even the best teachers can encounter challenges as they try to adjust long-used methods. That is where Laurie’s direct support can prove invaluable.

 

“One of the greatest things that the team here realises is the importance of coaching, and I was able to come in for a week to help with lesson design and to watch them teach live classes. They received coaching in the moment to make the instruction even more powerful,” Laurie says.

 

Laurie explains that there has been extensive research about ‘brain-friendly teaching’ and applying the most effective methodologies so that students maximise the retention of new information. As a direct consequence of such research, there are now twelve teachers at ADUKG who have undergone intensive theoretical and practical training, and who are now practicing these strategies every day in their classes.

 

The results, so far, have certainly been impressive and students in the UAE’s classrooms have responded very positively.
 
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