A. Purpose of the policy
The purpose of Instructional policy is to provide the school with instructional identity that leads our students to achieve the school direction.
Coordinators, principals and academic director
AZM School instructional policy is based on building leadership traits in our students to provide Lebanon and the Arab region active citizens.
Thus, all our instructions are aligned with the school direction in enhancing the skills and capacities to build Leaders.
Instructional techniques adopted by AZM School develop analytical and critical thinking as well as leadership skills.
Researches in education have proved that the effective instructions are those that incorporate active student participation, make students feel deeply engaged, and promote interactive learning environment.
Leadership taught through learner-centered -instruction suggested active learning in the classroom that involves students in the learning process, encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning skills development and helps them gain confidence in their ability to learn.
In order to achieve our goal AZM uses the following instructional techniques
Students in small heterogeneous groups take roles and learn to share knowledge and tasks with one another through a variety of activities with this strategy. Cooperative learning includes team building, positive interdependence, group interaction, structured activity, and individual accountability.
Critical thinking is self-directed thinking that produces new and innovative ideas and solves problems. Reflecting critically on learning experiences and processes and making effective decisions.
Mental activities that are typically called critical thinking are actually a subset of three types of thinking: reasoning, making judgments and decisions, and problem solving. Critical reasoning, decision making and problem solving, have three key features: effectiveness, novelty and self-direction... Critical thinking is:
● Effective in that it avoids common pitfalls, such as seeing only one side of an issue, discounting new evidence that dis-confirms your ideas, reasoning from passion rather than logic, failing to support statements with evidence, etc.
● Novel in that you don’t simply remember a solution or a situation that is similar enough to guide you.
● Self-directed in that the thinker must be calling the shots: we wouldn’t give a student much credit for critical thinking if the teacher were prompting each step he took.
Marzano (2003) has identified nine instructional strategies for effective teaching that will be utilized at AZM.
- Identifying similarities and differences- This skill allows students to understand and solve complex problems through analysis. Students will be engaged in comparing, contrasting, and classifying.
- Summarizing and Note Taking- These skills promote greater comprehension by allowing students to analyze a subject and to develop an awareness of the basic structure of the information presented.
- Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition- Teachers will help students to see the connection between effort and achievement, and will foster students’ intrinsic (internal) motivation through various positive reinforcement techniques.
- Homework and Practice- (Grade 3 to Grade 12) Homework will help students by providing opportunities to practice learned skills and to extend their learning.
- Non-linguistic Representations- Knowledge is stored in a variety of ways. AZM teachers will teach using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic techniques.
- Cooperative Learning- Research shows that organizing students into cooperative groups yields a positive effect on overall learning.
- Setting Learning Outcomes and Providing Feedback- Setting Learning Outcomes give students direction for their learning. Learning Outcomes should often be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Timely).
- Generating and Testing Hypothesis- This strategy will be used not only in science, but in all subjects, to help students develop their deductive reasoning skills.
- Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers- These tools help students build upon their prior knowledge. This scaffolding will help teachers to check for understanding, and will ensure that all students understand a concept at each stage of increasing complexity.
- Discovery/Inquiry-based learning
Inquiry learning is based on constructivist theories of learning, where knowledge is “constructed” from experience and process. It covers a range of approaches, including: field work, case studies, investigations, individual and group projects, and research projects. It is the hallmark strategy of science, and often social science, learning. Specific learning processes that students engage in during inquiry include: developing questions, seeking evidence to answer questions, explaining evidence, and justifying or laying out an argument for the evidence.
Progress and outcomes are assessed through observing students’ learning develop over time through conversations, notebook entries, student questions, procedural skills, use of evidence, and other techniques.
- Learning centers
Learning centers are areas created within the classroom where students learn through a designated activity and/or play. Play is an active form of learning that involves the whole child. Even cognitive development is also enhanced by child-initiated exploration and discovery. In learning centers, students learn to make decisions, cooperate and share with others, and problem-solve.
The role of the teacher is to observe, listen, and ask questions; demonstrate, participate, or help as needed; and discuss and make connections. AZM School use this strategies at preschool and integrate some centers in the others divisions.
- Field experience, field trip, or field study
Experiences outside the classroom enable students to extend classroom learning into real world locales, such as when visiting a natural or historical site, exploring current trades and industries on-site, or working alongside an expert in a field of study. The experience is maximized for students when the purpose is clear, including how they will report on their observations, questions, and conclusions.
- Hands-on learning
Hands-on learning is an educational strategy that directly involves learners by encouraging them to do something in order to learn about it. It is learning by doing. Some subject matter like music and art are hands-on subjects. Nonetheless, all learning can benefit from activity that stimulates different parts of the brain. For younger students, those learning English or another language, or those with learning disabilities, thoughtful hands-on teaching strategies are their keys to learning.
- Role play/simulations/drama
Games, simulations, and role-playing help students invent, experiment, and practice
interpersonal skills in a relatively low-risk environment. The more students use different ways of representing knowledge, the better they think about and recall learning. Simulations provide opportunities to visualize, model, and role-play within a dynamic situation, thereby promoting curiosity, exploration, problem solving, and understanding.
- Differentiated Instruction
AZM School is implementing Differentiated instruction through its instructional methodology.
Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. Whether teachers differentiate content, process, products, or the learning environment, the use of ongoing assessment and flexible grouping makes this a successful approach to instruction.
- Standardized testing
- AZM teachers prepares students to pass the standardized tests as MAP, SAT, DELF and TOEFL.
- Students of grades 1 till G8, G10 and G11 will pass MAP test twice a year.
- SAT and TOEFL for G12.
- DELF from G6 till G12 ( French Stream)