Dr. Stephanie Al Otaiba is one of the Department of Teaching and Learning’s professor’s.

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Muscat, the capital of Oman, which is a small country in the Arabian Gulf.  I have been working with Dr. Mahmoud Emam, who is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the College of Education at the Sultan Qaboos University.  His project, funded by Sultan Qaboos, is designed to train teachers to use data to guide their instruction.  Since there are few measures available in Gulf Arabic, developing appropriate formative progress monitoring measures has been a challenge.  Dr. Emam and his team have been adapting measures such as the Early Grade Reading Assessment Measures (for information, please see http://www.ineesite.org/uploads/files/resources/EGRA_Toolkit_Mar09.pdf) and have also adapted working memory and other measures that have been associated with response to intervention in English.  Further, they are working to adapt and modify curricular materials for the Arabic language.

I spent two days with the team of special educators who gathered from across the country and with members of the Ministry of Education and conducted training sessions about using data to guide instruction, about reading disabilities and response to intervention.  Dr. Emam and his colleagues helped me with translation and I muddled through with my rusty (emergent and grammatically incorrect) Arabic.  It was wonderful to see how dedicated they are and motivated to helping change the face of special education.  It was also a sentimental journey as I had lived and taught special education in the Gulf in the United Arab Emirates (the neighboring country) for many years.  I look forward to our ongoing collaboration and to a return visit.

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Students from Muscat who received certificates of professional development and Dr. Al Otaiba

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