CoffeED: One Year in Kuwait Turns into 17

by Mind Rocket Media Group
Kuwait skyline

Richard Marchant moved to Kuwait in 2001 with the intention of staying for one year. 17 years later he is still there, with a family, and is now the Secondary Headteacher at the New English School. The school follows the rigor and standards of the English school system, and their graduates attend universities all around the globe.

Global Education AbstractSix years ago, the computer in the school was only used for PowerPoint presentations and the writing of two reports per year. Other reports of any kind were handwritten and placed in a file. If he wanted any information, he had to go to the file and leaf through it. There were no opportunities for students to use technology in the classroom at all.

Then, three years ago, the school bought a data management system, which, initially was viewed cynically due to the upfront costs. It ended up saving the teachers 100s of hours of work over the course of a year – time that was freed up to focus on teaching and learning.

Two years ago the school undertook a Chromebook initiative, purchasing devices for every student. Richard tells the story of a 68-year old art teacher who was the most cynical and least skilled when they rolled out Chromebooks for everyone. The teacher had seen gadgets and fads come and go that were supposed to “revolutionize” teaching but fell flat. Richard got him to reluctantly spend time learning the Chromebooks, and now he says that teacher can’t see how he ever taught without them.

Richard’s message to his students and their parents is that the function of technology is to enable collaboration. “I’ve always pushed the notion that this technology allows students and teachers to collaborate in small groups or large groups,” he says. “And any collaboration allows projects to be completed at a high level; it allows collaborative learning; it allows group work. It teaches students skills that can’t be taught individually. It allows teachers to monitor that and see what’s going on and intervene at the point of learning to improve outcomes.”

About Richard Marchant

Richard MarchantRichard Marchant is currently working in a thriving and forward thinking secondary school in Kuwait. During his role as Secondary Headteacher at the New English School, and formerly Deputy Headteacher, he has led the development of educational technology in the school community. This has culminated in the highly successful deployment of Chromebooks to all students from Year 4 to Year 13 during the last 12 months.

In March 2017, Google welcomed the New English School to the Google for Education Reference Programme in recognition of the early success of the one to one project. Richard qualified as a specialist chemistry teacher in 1997 and moved to the New English School, Kuwait in 2001. He has been in senior management at the school since 2004, completed his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in 2012 and the National Professional Qualification for Headship in 2015.

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