Engaging students with ideas, to think and to learn, to help them explore the world of learning with the guidance of teachers, produce wholesome individuals with knowledge that lasts a lifetime.
Such learning is way away from mere bookish knowledge and exams that are temporary achievements. Contextual understanding of learning is what Al Ittihad Private School, Al Mamzar advocates and practices. Keeping students as the focal point, innovative teaching within flexible learning spaces that encourage and facilitate teacherplanning and multi-disciplinary and multi-modal learning have been the USP of the school. The stakeholders of the school describe it as – A Community of Learners Disrupting Traditional Education.
We, at The Knowledge Review, explored more about the prestigious school in UAE that has produced a great many scholars.
About the School
Al Ittihad Private School Al Mamzar (IPS-M) is an American curriculum school, underpinned by Emirati Culture, Character and Philosophy. The school works towards preserving the local culture and heritage and instilling core Islamic values in its learners. Whilst keeping the religious values intact, the school prepares its students to meet the needs and challenges of the modern world with high competency, confidence and competitive skills.
“We foster opportunities for our children to participate in an education that prepares them for life and immerses them in their God-given Emirati culture”
The inception of Al Ittihad Private School Al Mamzar, which was over 40 years ago, was a visionary and courageous step taken by its founders. “Ours founders were in tune with the spirit of this great nation as they dared to dream big. We strive to live up to the vision of our founders through a commitment to positive religious, social, emotional and academic outcomes,” says the school management.
They add, “With our 40+ years of experience, innovation and passion in education, we are proud of our legacy and heritage”.
Al Ittihad is a fully inclusive learning community and it firmly believes that every member of the community has a distinctive voice, purpose, and gift. The concept of tolerance is embedded in their daily lives, “as we live our Islamic religion within the context of all that we do,” stresses the management. Hence, they have developed special bonds with all of their families who understand the uniqueness of the school and see the school as an extension of family life.
Director General, Massimiliano Caruso, began his tenure as the new Director General of this most august school. He is generous enough to acknowledge the foundational work and leadership of his predecessor, Amna Mohamad Rafi, as the school celebrates its achievements and exciting new directions.
Caruso enunciated an initial new and bold vision for the school, as it built on the past, developed the present and leaps into the future.
This vision is shared, re-shaped and enacted by the outstanding executive team, leaders, teachers and staff of the school. The IPSM executive team has risen to the challenge of re-imagining education and indeed, the challenge posed by one of the most devastating, disruptive pandemic events in living memory.
Learning at Al Ittihad
The Al Ittihad model facilitates learning that is individual, (certainly individuated), in-group, community, and in team. This is an important distinction as research clearly supports the idea that learning is constructed and occurs best as a social activity.
Immersion in learning, in this way, allows for greater depth of understanding when we begin to also craft conditions, where thinking becomes visible. Many of us think in isolation, in our own minds and this is good practice.
However, real creative thinking and problem solving truly occurs when we ‘make thinking visible’, that is, when we articulate our thoughts and ideas within the Executive Team and the teachers. Ideas are shared discussed, explored, reshaped and a better result occurs.
In demystifying the thinking and learning process, models are provided to students regarding what it means to engage with ideas, to think and to learn. This way the school dispels the myth that learning is simply a matter of committing to memory facts and figures or concepts that are provided by teachers or lifted out of textbooks.
Al Ittihad Al Mamzar is a result oriented Professional Learning Community that:
- accepts learning as the fundamental purpose of the school and therefore are willing to examine all evidence based pedagogies in light of their impact on learning.
- commits to working interdependently to achieve a collective purpose.
- embraces diversity and promotes inclusivity within all aspects of our learning community.
- assesses effectiveness on the basis of results rather than intentions. The community members, teams, and stakeholders eagerly seek relevant data and information in order to reflect, plan, and design pathways that promote continuous improvement.
Going That Extra Mile
With the support of all members of the learning community the school is able to provide an environment that meets the needs of all the students and prepares them for future opportunities. In a practical sense, when themes are explored, (for instance, across primary), then teachers may, in the learning community setting, (with children in groups, sitting in their learning spaces), examine aspects of these themes by using various thinking tools. However, clarity precedes competence and pedagogy precedes performance. “In other words, our teachers need to know what they want students to learn, what success will look like, the pedagogical methodology, and how they will measure learning,” explains the school management.
Ittihad follows the “I do, We do, You do” model, which is a gradual release model. This methodology has proven to be most effective with the students, who are predominantly English language learners. This model provides a solid structure for learning and utilizes scaffolding to give appropriate support to all learners with varied abilities. Further support is provided through a rich Response to Intervention program that closely monitors learners and provides them with systematic individualized assistance.
In Spring 2020, IPS Mamzar’s Al SAQR Rahhal Program was approved and endorsed by the KHDA. This was a milestone for IPS Mamzar, because it enabled the school to offer learners ultimate flexibility and more personalized learning experiences. Members of the Rahhal program will be able to engage in the learning process anywhere in the UAE and the world.
The ALSAQR program has three main tracks for students Grades 5-12.
- Students of determination who may benefit from an enhanced or vocational program that focuses on the individual needs of the learner.
- Students with particular gifts, talents, and/or interests.
- Students who need flexibility in their learning times and environments.
The school’s Bank Street approach has a number of distinctive characteristics:
- Using a deep knowledge of child development as a foundation of curricular development so that what happens in the classroom helps children use their current capacities to learn how to think and problemsolve, alone and with others
- Providing opportunities for first-hand interaction with the environment (people, places, and things) and then returning to the classroom to create individual and collaborative meaning through discussion and use of rich materials.
- Incorporating the knowledge (reinforced through neuroscientific findings) that emotions and cognition are intertwined into classroom practice
- Creating a community of learners so that children come to develop respect for each other, the adults who care for them, and those who may seem “different” from themselves
- Applying democratic principles in the classroom including but not limited to group decision making, collaboration, cooperation and active listening.
Coping with Covid-19
In light of COVID19, the educators were tasked with ensuring the continuity of learning through remote learning. Without forewarning, teachers had to adapt quickly by learning new technologies and adopting new teaching strategies to mitigate against learning loss. Moving forward, the school adjusted to a ‘new normal’ by merging newly learned strategies with the best of its existing practices. Consequently, the management forged a new hybrid model of professional pedagogy. The new innovative model of learning has seamless integration of online and face-to-face activities.
Teaching and learning at IPS Mamzar is better than ever before because it offers flexibility, new innovative ways of teaching material, and new ways for students to demonstrate learning. “We truly are prioritizing the wholesome development of the child and focusing on learning experiences that are transformational,” the management informs.
The school believes all learning is social and emotional, and IPS Mamzar’s new pilot curriculum is explicitly designed for students to learn key concepts about well-being so they can live healthy and fulfilling lives. IPS Mamzar’s Positive Education Curriculum will expand upon the foundational core themes and values of responsibility, innovation, global citizenship, respect, and inclusion. With a structured approach to SEL learning, our aim to develop the child in a wholesome manner will be enhanced and will be more effective.
I am honored to be an Al Ittihad Private School Al Mamzar Alumni, the institute which equipped me with essential education and skills to become a doctor. I developed valuable leadership and communication skills through the opportunities it offered allowing me to thrive in my field today. Also, the curriculum adopted at the school provided me with the extensive knowledge needed to get into a world-class medical school in the United Kingdom.
Sultan Ayoup Alzarouni (Year of 2016)
AIPS Al Mamzar is a beautiful school and a sweet part of my childhood memories. I believe AIPS gave us a good balance between academic and social development. We enjoyed football as much as we appreciated maths. I am thankful for AIPS that gave me the opportunity to play the trombone and piano. We used to play the UAE National Anthem in front of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid during our sports days. I later studied up to Grade 8 in solo piano in the UK.
– Mohamad Khodr Al-Dah (Year of 1996)
(Survey Director for the Dubai Land Department)
Mohamad is the only Emirati Chartered Structural Engineer with the Institution of Structural Engineers UK (IStructE).
More Pride of the School
Aysha Mohammad AlRumaithi (Year of 2012)
A sustainability engineer at the Water Sector and civil engineering. Aysha got her bachelor’s degree in Renewable and Sustainable Energy. Further she got her master’s degree in Civil Science. She is currently Senior Engineer – Innovation Ecosystem at Dubai Electricity & Water Authority – DEWA. Aysha preserved on improving and applying multiple initiatives and projects which effectively contributed to achieving the Authority’s strategic goals and Dubai Government visions in terms of sustainability, digitalization, and futuristic plans. At the forefront of her contributions is participating in constructing and building Al-Ruwaya Sustainable Facility in which the Authority was rewarded for the best GBCI as the top corporation in the Middle East and North Africa. Aysha attained several international professional certificates in sustainable energy and deserved a position among top five to get the True Advisor certificate. She is also a graduate of multiple international programs like ‘Young Leaders of Future Energy’ held by Masdar Institution and ‘The Green Enterprise’ from Iceland due to her awareness of the youth’s role in integrating the three poles of sustainability. Aysha was elected by the executive committee in Dubai to represent the youths locally and internationally. She won more 90 rewards.
Abdulla Mohamed Saeed Al Marri (Year of 2002)
Captain Engineer in Dubai Police, Member of UAE National Team
Abdulla holds a bachelor’s degree, Communication Engineering from Khalifa University 2006. He completed Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Program for Athletic Leadership. Abdulla is a member of UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation.
His golden memories at Al Ittihad Mamzar were being a member of the senior Soccer Team and won the first place in Gulf Soccer Championship in 2001. Abdulla added that AIPS Al Mamzar mastered him with high level of mathematics skills which has not only helped him during university years, but also pushed him to choose engineering.
“Children grow into the intellectual life of those around them”