Teach Middle East Magazine May-June 2016 Issue 5 Volume 3 - Page 24

Featured School Our Own English High School Sharjah... Striving for excellence, striding towards success Mrs. Asma Gilani, Principal at Our Own English High School Sharjah. O ur Own English High School Sharjah (OOS) is among a number of schools belonging to the prestigious GEMS Education Group. The school was established in 1982, with the mandate of providing Kindergarten to Grade 12 students with high quality education. Principal, Mrs. Asma Gilani commented, “The environment of the school affects the mood, energy levels and focus of all the stakeholders. To promote creativity and innovation, we need to provide a free and open environment, in which teachers feel inspired to be creative. At OOS, teachers think of ways and strategies to make teaching and learning a new experience for themselves and the students.” The school’s excellence transpires in the learning environment and the relationships among teachers, students and parents. Gilani further added, “We introspect, reflect and review our own understanding of trends in education, seek out ways to evolve, to improve our thinking, and go beyond trenched perspectives.” OOS boasts of a rich and diverse mix of students. Hence, it emphasizes on both social and moral development of students to promote multi-cultural 22 | May - Jun 2016 | | understanding. Understandably, the school takes pride in its children who have always excelled in academics and extra -curricular activities. The beaming principal shared, “My girls make their presence felt everywhere. They have topped UAE in Grade 12 CBSE examinations, represented UAE women’s cricket team, initiated innovative projects and are great thinkers.” In support of the ‘Year for Reading,’ OOS has initiated grade specific reading programmes, which not only enhance reading skills in children but also listening and speaking. “At the primary level, children read and narrate stories in front of their classmates. This activity generates interest in students,” stated Mrs. Gilani, “they listen, ask questions and also extrapolate. Interestingly, most children speak eloquently and exhibit a high level of confidence. Others make appreciable efforts to speak correctly. By the end of the term, every child gets a chance to narrate a story.” She added that this is regularly monitored to assess the level of reading of all children with different abilities. While talking about the success of the programme, she mentioned that children look forward Class Time to this activity; since they are exposed to a wide variety of stories that make them think and wonder. Mrs Gilani believes in fostering thinking skills in students. She encourages them to have their own perception of things happening around them, inculcate critical thinking and problem solving skills to enable them to be confident and competent young girls of conviction, who can respond to challenges with optimism and open minds. She noted that the best of ideas can only be successful if implemented properly. Below, she highlights a few of the successful programmes that are being run at the school. ‘Ruhaaniyaat Islamiyah’ Islam is a way of life and cannot be confined to textbooks and classrooms. ‘Ruhaaniyaat Islamiyah’ is an annual event that includes a number of activities that engage students. Activities include reciting verses from the Quran, singing songs in praise of Allah, discussions on Islamic life, quiz on Islam and display of attire that Islam encourages women to wear. Additionally, students make models on Astronomy, Islam and Science of Embryology as mentioned in the Quran. This has helped the students