2016 Action Project – The East-West Education Forum


Heidi Green and Nayra Gadallah

The Challenge

A recent report by the World Economic Forum ranks Egypt in last place for its quality of primary education. If teachers in Egypt were better trained and properly compensated, and if classrooms were not overcrowded the quality of education would be significantly higher. Education in the United States lacks language and cultural studies, which diminishes its future economic prosperity and global position. Culture influences the method in which students are

taught and also how they learn. However, being exposed to new cultures can enhance one’s worldview and better shape their methods of learning. Students will be able to explore their cultures, identities and learning abilities, developing into self-learners with entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

Project Overview

Teachers from Egypt and the United States will be trained to teach students using diverse learning styles, for which they will earn a certificate of achievement. Teachers will be selected and paired to go through a series of 4 workshops over the course of 1 month (1 per week), to learn teaching methods that help students become self-learners, and to teach in ways that cater to students with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning needs. Teachers will discuss what they learn together, compare their perspectives, and establish how they will apply the training to their classrooms, reporting back the impact of how their teaching methods changed and how the students responded.

Each professional development workshop will focus on a topic that addresses challenges in education and emphasizes how cultural understanding and diversity greatly enhance the quality of education. The topics will be as follows:

  1. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to match the needs of students with diverse strengths and abilities
  2. UDL applied to classroom behavior management
  3. Self-Directed Learning (SDL) methods
  4. SDL implementation

At the end of the project, teachers may opt to collaborate in offering their students an educational cultural exchange, whether it be through writing letters, drawing pictures, teaching each other a lesson virtually, or some other idea that aligns with the existing curriculum.

Results reported by teachers will be used for data collection and analysis. In the latter stages of the project, results will be used to compare how methods apply across cultures and how they serve as a basis for further research and ideas. This will initiate discussion in a network of educators across the globe.

The Goals

To help students become self-guided learners through improved teaching methods. To enhance the quality of education in both the United States and Egypt and raise awareness of the need for more innovative and applicable learning and teaching methods. The goal is to also raise awareness of the importance of cross cultural understanding, as it applies to education and youth development.

Population Served

  • Target audience: Teachers in Egypt and the United States
  • Secondary audience: Youth in Egypt and the United States

Project Milestones

Phase 1: Connect teachers through virtual exchange and training. Train teachers on self-guided learning, behavior management, and universal design principles. Teachers report on the effectiveness and   impact of the program

Phase 2: Analyze feedback and measurements of program effectiveness. Report results, develop   research ideas and participate in discussion forums

Phase 3: Build a platform and an online network of resources for educators to communicate and   collaborate

Phase 4: Develop a toolkit for education advocacy

Expected Outcome

The East-West Educator Forum will build a strong network of educators who can advocate for the improvement of the quality of education in their countries. It will raise awareness of innovative teaching methods and the importance of self-guided learning. Teaching methods that allow students to become self-learners will help them mould into prospective future leaders and entrepreneurial-minded citizens, helping them adapt to an evolving world.

Furthering the Foundation’s Mission

The East-West Education Forum furthers the Gabr Foundation’s mission by fostering dialogue and the exchange of ideas between the United States and Egypt, with regard to education. Greater understanding of cultural diversity and education in the United States and Egypt will be built, and education experts will expand their worldview, their resources and their ideas on improving education.