Monthly Archives: August 2017

Where will @WomenEd_UAE go? How? We can decide… #WomenEd @WomenEd

Possible Directions for @WomenEd_UAE 2017/18?


Leadership & Management Discussion Forum & Collaboration Ideas #WomenEd

Recent reports by The National, The Khaleej Times and Gulf News (online newspapers serving the UAE) show that while women are overrepresented in further and higher education as students in the UAE (and that by comparison male student engagement at this level is considerably weaker), once women get into the workforce they are still underrepresented at senior leadership levels of decision making importance. However, the UAE government leadership programme being led by HH Sheikh Mohammed is really helping get female leaders into the hitherto harder to reach corners of male dominated industries with top level support. In terms of taking the lead in making improvements and changing things for the better, the UAE is certainly a country to be admired and praised. August 28 is Emirati Women’s Day and many have stepped forward to tell of their proudest moments in parliament and other leadership roles so far. It leaves me wondering what advancements will be made that the rest of the world will soon be learning from.

In the meantime, expat educationalists like myself are interested in their own personal CPD and career advancement. As a female in education, how would you like to be helped to move forward to add value in a position of leadership? What is currently holding you back? What support would you like and do you need to break through any perceived barriers?

Right now, @WomenEd_UAE is just a Twitter account, with a few followers and lurking impassioned women in education or #HeForShe supporters. So where will our new path together lead us? What might our directions include?

I’ve put some thoughts together below framed around standard themes you might expect in leadership and management type approaches to education. I believe this is a good starting point for discussion about what we might discuss and how we might help each other. Self reflection and appraisal is needed, while also taking into account what else needs adding from a female or @WomenEd_UAE perspective. So, for the sake of jumping right in…
Can you:

– Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate your conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences?

– Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level?

– Continue to advance your knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level?

– Show you have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:
– the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility?

– decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations?

– the independent learning ability required for CPD?
Education leadership and management training usually focusses on developing these skills within people. Can you share your own best practice in this regard in the UAE? Can you help others? Especially women in education reaching out to meet the challenge of leadership roles in the UAE?
We all need to reflect on and develop around these skills and more, and these points of focus would be especially helpful to those already or planning to engage in CPD on this topic at the post-grad level. These topics can’t be isolated from the umbrella of broader topic areas, e.g.: team working, organisational culture, managing change, emotional intelligence, policy implementation and evaluation.

Educational leaders and managers need to develop knowledge and skills to help them:

  1. Critically analyse and evaluate selected aspects of leadership and management appropriate to their role and context.
  2. Critically evaluate their own leadership and management to reveal new insights on theory and practice
  3. Reflect on implementing change and improvements in their own setting
  4. Reflect on how to carry out research on leadership and management
    5. Critically examine the impact of their leadership and management on their institution
    6. Consider application of appropriate ethical and professional standards

On a continual basis, educational leaders need to keep in mind:

– A critical overview of institutional cultures

– The task of defining leadership and management

– Leadership approaches

– Management of change

– Project planning
How can we help each other in the context of @WomenEd_UAE to continue achieving and improving in the above with particular emphasis on education in the UAE? I’d like to recommend the above for themes for twitter discussion, group meets, conferences and journal publication with a “women in UAE” educational leadership development focus.
In the meantime a @WomenEd_UAE reading list for personal development and discussion could be considered as follows (please add any further reading in comments below – it’s a basic starter for ten based on what you might expect to find on an education leadership and management course). Can you volunteer to read and blog or present on one of these texts with reference to development of female leaders and manager needs in the UAE? Either in your own blog, or at a @WomenEd_UAE event to be held soon? Please tweet back to let us know which one or place a comment below! Be sure to tweet us and link us in with any of your publications and discussions based on these issues and more.


Briggs A R J and Coleman M (2007 2nd edition) Research Methods in Educational Leadership and Management; London: Sage

Coleman M and Earley P eds (2005) Leadership and Management in Education; Oxford: Oxford University Press

Coleman M and Glover D eds (2010) Educational Leadership and Management: Developing Insights and Skills; Maidenhead: Open University Press

Teacher Development Agency (TDA) (2008) The Little Book of Managing Change at http://www.learning-

Tolhurst J (2006) Coaching for Schools: A Practical Guide to Building Leadership Capacity; Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd.
Wider Reading List

Bell, J. ( 2005 edition) Doing Your Research Project. Buckingham, Open University Press.

Bennett, N., Crawford, M., Cartwright, M., Effective (2003) Educational Leadership. London. Paul Chapman.

Bolton, G. (2005) 2nd Edition. Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development. London, Sage Publications.

Brundrett M., Burton, N (2005) Leading the Curriculum in the Primary School.; London: Paul Chapman Publishing.

Brundrett, M. and Terrell, I. (eds) (2004) Learning to Lead in the Secondary School. London, Routledge Falmer.

Bush T (2008) Leadership and Management Development in Education; London: Sage
Busher H (2006) Understanding Educational Leadership: People, Power and Culture; Maidenhead: Open University Press

Busher, H. and Harris, A. (2000) Subject Leadership and School Improvement. London, Paul Chapman.

Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2003) Research Methods in Education. London: Routledge Falmer.

Coles MJ and Southworth G eds (2005) Developing Leadership: Creating the Schools of Tomorrow; Maidenhead: Open University Press

Davies B ed (2005) The Essentials of School Leadership; London: Paul Chapman

Davies B, Ellison L and Bowring-Carr C (2005 2nd edition) School Leadership in the 21st Century: Developing a Strategic Approach; Abingdon; Routledge

Dean, J. (2003) Subject Leadership in the Primary School: A Practical Guide for Curriculum Coordinators. London: David Fulton Publishers.

Fleming, P. (2000) The Art of Middle Management in Secondary Schools; London, David Fulton.

Fleming, P. and Amesbury, M. (2001) The Art of Middle Management in Primary Schools: A guide to Effective Subject and Team Leadership; London, David Fulton.

Fullan, M. (2001) Leading in a Culture of Change; San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Fullan, M. (2003) The Moral Imperative of School Leadership; California, Corwin Press.

Goleman, D. (1996) Emotional Intelligence;London: Bloomsbury Paperbacks.

Goleman, D. (1999) Working with Emotional Intelligence; London: Bloomsbury Paperbacks.

Honey, P. (1997) Improve your People Skills; London: Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

Kerry, T. (2001) Working with Support Staff their roles and effective management in Schools; London: Pearson

Tomlinson, H. (2004) Educational Leadership: Personal Growth for Professional Development; London: Sage Publications.

Tranter, S. (2006) From Teacher to Middle Manager: Making the Next Step; 2nd Edition Harlow, Pearson Education.

Wallace, M. Poulson, L (2003) Learning to Read Critically in Educational Leadership and Management; London: Sage.


Educational Management Administration and Leadership.
BELMAS Journal published by Sage.

Educational Leadership. ASCD Journal.

International Journal on Leadership in Education. Taylor Francis.

Journal of Management in Education. Sage.

Web Sites

National College for School Leadership –

DfE –

General Search Engine



A few new reads from ex Harvard female writers – summer book list?

fishman book cover

The Harvard Uni Grad School for Arts & Sciences is an interesting place to browse through. Their courses and programmes are telling, their alumni often inspiring: the movers and the shakers in most cases.

I was just surfing their pages this evening and fell upon some current reading recommendations of works penned by some female alumni. Thought I’d share for those with any likeminded interests, you know, being female, and looking back over the journeys we’ve made as a gender through the last century (it is still inspiring for some societies and cultures where similar steps forward have yet to be made):

Reading List: August 2017 | Harvard University – The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences<!– !–>

World War II and its aftermath shook up everything, ending the Depression, undermining colonialism, igniting the Cold War, and extruding international bodies like the UN and IMF. Sarah Fishman (PhD ’87, history) analyzes another long-wave change catalyzed by the war. From Vichy to the Sexual Revolution: Gender and Family Life in Postwar France (Oxford University Press, 2017) recounts the profound cultural changes taking place in France during and after WWII. She draws on two main sources: case files of the juvenile courts and advice columns from magazines like Marie Claire and Elle. The Vichy government insisted that women confine themselves to marriage and motherhood. With the Liberation, the nation recoiled from Vichy’s conservative values, granting women the vote in 1944. (Women also found new educational and work opportunities.) By the 1950s, prosperity emerged as a new factor transforming family life and gender roles. The ideas of Sigmund Freud, Simone de Beauvoir, and Alfred Kinsey challenged old assumptions. Rising divorce rates, increased access to contraception, and the first oblique references to homosexuality suggested new paths opening for French women and French families.

Fair Sun (David R. Godine, 2017) is a poetry collection by Susan Barba (AM ’00, Near Eastern languages and civilizations, PhD ’06, comparative literature), Barba often invokes nature, sometimes with dark undertones:

How close they are to one another,
the garden, the fire pit, the dark groves,
. . . the golden orbs of apricots,
the darkness of the dirt that feeds them.

“Andranik,” a dialog between a young girl and her immigrant grandfather (who survived the Armenian genocide), is particularly haunting. Language and history separate the two. Her English is fluent; his, a three-legged race, tied to a stranger. Still, his memories phosphoresce—like old bones on a moonless night—lighting the darkness:

[Torkom and I.] Like brothers . . . all the time together. . . .

[The Turks] want to make fun. They [set out] two guns . . . In one . . . live bullet. In one . . . no bullet. . . . They say, “Go get a gun.” . . . And ordered [us], shoot. I shoot and killed Torkom. . . .

So. . . . They make enjoy.

Regarding the Fishman book, I must confess I’m intrigued to read more. The Amazon summary adds a bit more detail (the crux of the matter seems to rest in the vision of the family…):

At the end of World War II, the vast majority of people in France, living in small towns or rural areas, had suffered through a series of traumas-economic depression, war and occupation, the absence of millions of POWs, deportees and forced laborers, widespread destruction. The resulting disruptions continued to reverberate in families for several years after the Liberation. In the decades following the war, France experienced radical economic and social transformations, becoming an urban, industrial, affluent nation. In less than thirty years, French ideas about gender and family life underwent dramatic changes. This book provides a broad view of changing lives and ideas about love, courtship, marriage, giving birth, parenting, childhood, and adolescence in France from the Vichy regime to the sexual revolution of 1960s.

To understand how such changes influenced ideas about family life, From Vichy to the Sexual Revolution explores inexpensive guide books on marriage, childbirth and parenting, advice columns and popular magazines directed at readers from a variety of backgrounds. Sarah Fishman puts these sources into context, by exploring juvenile court family case studies. She links economic and social changes to the evolution of thinking about gender, the self, and the family, throwing new light on the emergence of a new vision of the family, one based on dynamic relationships rather than a set structure.

Year 10 Essay Help: Assessment Paper Surgery 

One of my best lessons this year… 
Was when I had a mixed ability year 10 GCSE English group. We had done a number of in class assessments as topic reviews and exam practice for different scenes in Romeo and Juliet. A few students had made rapid progress over the past 2 terms, rising from an average grade 3 to grade 6 type responses. Some had found it hard to make the shift from 2 to 3. Some were plateauing in grade 4. A minority were soon to be reaching grade 7 but needed a good shove in the right direction. 
Something that had helped progress was making it repetitively and abundantly clear what the differences between different grades was. It was clear to see who the message was getting home to and to whom it wasn’t. 
I decided to facilitate an assessment paper surgery session. I set the classroom up so that those who got grade 6 occupied a table each at the back of the class. Grade 5s on the row in front. 
Then, I had everyone who had achieved a grade 4 or below visit the grade 6 and grade 5 students individually, just like a Dr’s surgery. They swapped and discussed papers to see why each had got the grade they did. Each student with the higher grade had to give 3 tips on how the other student could improve their work next time. 
This served a few purposes. Firstly, it was very output, essay paper, exam question response focussed. The students were becoming increasingly geared up towards their end game and could see goals and aims ever more clearly. Secondly, the ones who were in need of improving began to take this mission more seriously.
One student who had been struggling to jump from grade 2 to 3 could be overheard saying “I guess I just rambled on in a very vague way without using any technical language terms, and didn’t go into context properly – although I did use a few quotes from the text.” The fact that this was put by this student in such an objective way was a huge leap forward. Until then he had just been a bit aimless and not really taken on board any feedback. His follow up essay was low grade 4. Big improvement. 
Also, although the grade 6 students didn’t have any grade 7s or above to give them tips, the process consolidated what they were doing well and helped them to crystallise their own next steps and made it easier to leap forward. 
Everyone gained something. 

Positive Gossiping & Rumour Spreading? #WomenEd

Positive Gossiping & Rumour Spreading: #WomenEd
English language studies has long revealed an assumed covert tendency in the female use of language to gossip and spread rumours. On the other hand, other studies suggested men held overt verbal dominance in communication through interruptions. Undercutting both these ideas is the concept of heterogeneity: both men and women can be guilty of both to greater and lesser degrees. 
But are they both always a bad thing anyway? An old proverb says something like someone sharing a secret is separating those familiar with one another – i.e. people going behind someone’s back and making snipey comments can break current or potential friendships and other relationships. And of course although shared comments may be grounded in some element of truth, they may also just be the jaundiced opinion of one disgruntled person, embellished to suit their own ends, and may be completely unfounded or unreasonably interpreted and spread with malice. So in this context I’d say that gossip and rumour spreading are vile and just serve to ruin people. Close it down. 
So when can rumour spreading and gossiping ever be a good thing? 
In the world of marketing when things go viral by word of mouth it’s worth it’s media coverage weight in gold. 
So what to share?
Is it good, kind, true and will it help someone? Share it!

Will it damage anyone? Don’t share it!

Is it serving a positive end? Share it!

Is someone going out of their way, using time and energy to trash someone? Shut it down! Haven’t you got anything better to be doing? 

Anything negative? Focus on something better! 

Will this separate people? Ignore it!

Will this allow people to get together and build something positive? Share it!

Don’t like it? Forget about it! Move on. Mind your own business. Don’t get wrapped up in the he said she said. 
Small people talk about people. Average people talk about events. Great people talk about great ideas. 
Feel like a good gossip? Focus on saying something positive. Spread the good. Ignore the bad. Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Let’s see what we can build today and not destroy. 
Congratulate. Celebrate. Be happy for people and share in their joy.