KHDA delegation presenting a session at the Festival of Positive Education in Dallas.
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A delegation of more than 25 teachers and principals from Dubai’s private schools have shared Dubai’s vision of positive education and wellbeing at the first Festival of Positive Education in Dallas.

Principals from Dubai’s schools, including Indian High School and Sharjah American International School Al Warqaa, presented a workshop to an audience of policy-makers and educators from around the world. The workshop was based on What Works, the collaborative series of events that have transformed Dubai’s education culture and brought educators together to share positive practice.

Welcomed to the session by Emirates cabin crew, participants learned about the importance of wellbeing to the continuing improvement of education in Dubai, and how to run What Works in their own communities.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said: “Positive education in Dubai focuses on bringing the best out of students, teachers, school leaders and parents. This festival gives us the opportunity to share Dubai’s happiness with the world, and to learn more about the positive education trends that will enable us to be even happier in future.”

Dr Ashok Kumar, CEO of Indian High School, What Works content advisor and Dallas workshop presenter, said: “We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that What Works has had on our schools sector. It’s wonderful to work together with colleagues at other Dubai schools to present What Works and Dubai to an international audience.”

Dianne Leverett, Principal of Sharjah American International School in Al Warqaa, What Works content advisor and Dallas workshop presenter, said: “It’s been great to be part of an international community that values happiness and wellbeing in education. The people and ideas we’ve been exposed to at this Festival will help to bring more positive education into all schools in Dubai.”

Other principals presenting What Works in Dallas included Nargish Khambatta from GEMS Modern Academy, Ranju Anand from the Winchester School Jebel Ali, and Christopher McDermott from Oaktree Primary School.

Also during the Festival, a panel of Dubai educators joined Dr Abdulla Al Karam and Stephen Ritz of Green Bronx Machine to share how Dubai’s education community – including government, principals, teachers and parents – come together to bring the best out of each child and give students the ‘survival skills’ they need to lead happy and productive lives.

Dubai’s delegation at the Festival of Positive Education included happiness ambassadors from St Mary’s Catholic High School, JSS Private School and Delhi Private School – principals and teachers who championed the School of Hearts student happiness survey earlier this year. These teachers will be sharing what they learned at the Festival at What Works Happiness, taking place in Dubai in October.

The Festival of Positive Education featured the world’s most influential figures in the fields of happiness, wellbeing and positivity, including Angela Duckworth, Martin Seligman and Sir Anthony Seldon, who also spoke at What Works Wellbeing at the beginning of the academic year.

The Dubai delegation was supported by Emirates Airline, Dubai Tourism and Falcon & Associates.

What’s What Works?

What Works is a series of collaborative events that bring together Dubai’s teachers, students, community partners and international speakers to share the best of what they do and to bring about positive change in education. Since What Works began in 2012, more than 12,000 teachers and principals across Dubai have attended 600 sessions at 24 What Works events, joined by more than 800 students and 400 community partners.

What’s positive education?

Positive education promotes character development and academics in a healthy and safe school environment. Research has shown that schools which practise positive education have students and teachers who report increased happiness, stronger relationships and better physical health.  Studies show that a central tenet of positive education – gratitude – fosters more positive emotions and attitudes toward school.

– KHDA Media