The following interview between Kholoud Ahmmad Alzaiter and The Knowledge Review reveals the importance of grabbing the opportunity and making no excuses when it comes to pursuing your dreams.
Let’s hear the journey of the Educational Consultant in her own words.
Please introduce yourself and your journey as an educator, to our readers, and also tell us what inspired you to pursue this career?
One of the great human motivators is finding answers to the basic questions in life. Why did something happen the way it does? How does it work? Curiosity about the world around us is the foundation of creativity. Teaching Science as well as Chemistry in a modern, interesting way can nurture that curiosity; satisfies some of that yearning to understand the Whys and Hows.
Scientific knowledge has been always my own motivator in life. I had my B.Sc in Chemistry in 2004, but it wasn’t enough for me at that time, so I had to pursue my dreams in exploring the secrets of life through investigating the secrets of Chemistry and finally getting my M.Sc in Physical Chemistry in 2014. A dream that seemed hard to achieve with my two young sons and a full-time job as a Chemistry teacher, but life always proved to me that the word impossible does only exists in the minds of those who looks for excuses to get the easy way out.
Later on, I obtained my IPGCpp from Liverpool Hope university, followed that with an educational leadership programs from Harvard and Michigan universities. This opened the door ahead of my career into leadership to work as a Head of Department for Science, then continued to be an educational consultant for multiple schools. As you can see, I consider myself as a life-long learner.
Pertaining to your experience the educational consulting sector, how according to you has the need for international education and skilled labour increased over the time?
It is agreed on that education is a key resource, both for individuals and societies. Indeed, in most countries education nowadays perceived not only as a right, but also as a duty. There is a strong evidence that good educated citizens contribute more to the country’s economy.
For example, the United Arab Emirates made it a milestone in its national agenda to have a high-quality education as one of its key performance indicators. As an educational consultant, part of my job is to provide private schools with high quality teachers’ training programs that are ready to prepare a generation who is capable to be innovative and creative enough to peruse future jobs, empowered with critical thinking skills, soft skills and who are strong problem solvers.
So, yes, international education has become a necessity, due to its capability to produce a very strong generation that has an open mind and a foresight to participate in future decision making.
I do believe that international education is a melting pot of entities with a global perspective which caters for exposure to different cultures, religions and languages, ethnic groups, developing society in the process resulting in broadening the academic experience for everyone.
It also, of course, establishes a multicultural learning environment which makes it the ideal setting for increasing students’ cultural awareness and fostering their understanding and appreciation of those who come from a different background to their own.
Tell us more about how you have been assisting students achieve their ambitions of education.
Currently, I am working as an educational consultant. My key responsibilities are to provide training sessions based on the teaching and learning framework of the ministry of education of United Arab Emirates and the KHDA to provide quality insights to schools on maintaining the quality of teaching, enhancing teacher performance, enabling better student results and improvement in parent-school partnership.
What is your opinion on the effect of extensive globalization of the education sector?
There is a huge debate among educators regarding globalization and its effect on various learners. In my opinion, globalization is transforming and reshaping the world we are familiar with nowadays in every aspect we can think of. But it has especially transformed the world economy, just take a look at the social media and the way merchandise are advertised, what type of customers are being targeted, and how the new generations are connected worldwide through all those sites, then you can judge by yourself. But it also made the world economy increasingly competitive and more knowledge based. So, in summary, the educational system should keep an eye on those aspects and how to engage different learner’s interests positively with the current demands. As an example, internet safety should be emphasised in the curriculum, the use of social media and its integrations, SDGs, creating economical plans, marketing, python coding, robotics, STEAM education, etc.
I think that the need for a globalised education able to interconnect methods of teaching from worldwide systems has become a necessity. A system that encourages the international development of environmental sustainability and contributing in fortifying global industries. These educational initiatives prioritize global access to school from the primary to the university levels, instigating learning experiences that prepare students for multinational leadership roles.
The late world wide crisis of COVID-19 showed how small our world is. The way different educational institutes are standing together to resolve a global issue such as the school’s shut down and launching, formally, the online- distance learning showed me how strong and successful we can be a s a global educational community when we come together.
Huge educational companies like Alef education, Pearson, Microsoft and many others showed a dedicated example to all of us, that its not all about profit but its for our students’ best interest, when
they provided their online platforms for free. This is how are we facing the global crisis, this is how raising the next generation should be, by being GLOBALIZED community.
What challenges have you faced throughout the course of your career, and how have you tackled them?
I consider myself a problem solver, so whenever I face a bomb in the road, I find a way either to overcome or divert a little bet to continue with my path. In our educational systems, we face obstacles on daily basis. Maybe the hardest challenge I faced until now is the bush-backs of change, new ideas will always suffer from resistance until you have the power to convince people of the importance of a new idea. Keeping an open mind and heart to hear from people in the field is a key factor of success. On another note, open door policy for an educational conversation played a great role in overcoming resistance for change.
Every challenge or obstacle I faced previously had made me stronger, resilient, but most importantly, strengthened my foresight ability to anticipate future mistakes.
I was blessed to have great mentors in my educational career who provided with great advice sometimes, a different perspectives in other occasions that guided me through the hard times, one of them is my own husband who is an engineer and a great leader. Mrs. Ian Mcniff, a group head of Athena UAE, also added a lot to my experience, he gave me a huge insight in difficult situations, and together, we managed.
In Summary, my advice is to keep an open dialogue between team members and to be the change leader people around you are looking up to. If you need a third opinion, don’t be shy and share your ideas honestly and speak from your heart.
What would be your advice to those who wish to venture into the educational consultation business?
Steve Jobs once said “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”, so my advice to those who are seeking such a career is to keep themselves up to date with new educational technologies and be aware of the changes around them, stay positive and enthusiastic about what you do and build a strong community of educators around you where you can exchange positive ideas, seek advice, or simply have a chat.
What have you envisioned for yourself with respect to career growth?
My next 5 years plan is to pursue my PhD in educational leadership and be the change agent in my community. UAE gave me a lot and I wish that someday I can pay back. Therefore, I keep participating in different educational conferences to give back to the educator’s community.
My future plan is to have my own educational institute that caters for everything I believe in, that caters for the youth’s needs and enhances their creativity, innovation, but most importantly for their leadership skills.