Blended Education Model
The Blended Education Model (BEM) will serve as the foundation for SAIS Dubai 2020-2021 school year, for semester 1. The BEM will enable the school community to focus on ensuring student learning and competency development while also serving students' social-emotional wellbeing.
We deployed a reopening survey, stakeholders completed it and shared their feedback with the school management and governing board. After studying and analyzing the survey results in several meetings with the senior management team and governing board members and also carefully considering the government authorities’ mandates and directives, we have proposed the following hybrid approach, BEM, which tends to eliminate almost all students’ learning barriers and provide a smooth and effective learning opportunity for them.
The school timing for grades 1-12 is from 8:00 AM to 1:55 PM every day from Sunday to Thursday.
There are 7 teaching periods every day and the length of each period is 40 minutes.
There is only one break in each day and the duration of the break is also 40 minutes.
There is a five-minute transition time between periods during which students prepare for the next period while maintaining physical distancing with the teachers’ close supervision until the next teacher takes over. Teachers will not leave their assigned classroom.
Teaching periods and breaks have equal duration so that break times can be staggered during the day per grade cluster. This also helps facilitate effective timetabling and resolves potential restrictions.
We will be much more assertive in regard to tardiness and attendance. Those who report to school late will be sent back home and will access the lessons virtually. This will both improve attendance and punctuality rates and eliminate the crowding of latecomers.
Period 1 - 8:00-8:40
Period 2 - 8:45-9:25
Period 3 - 9:30-10:10
Break - 10:15-10:55
Period 4 - 11:00-11:40
Period 5 - 11:45-12:25
Period 6 - 12:30-1:10
Period 7 - 1:15-1:55
Since the alternating day approach specifies accommodating smaller cohort sizes, student grouping is implemented thoughtfully and meaningfully.
Thorough factor analysis has been conducted and our primary focus was to ensure students’ academic progress, as well as social-emotional wellbeing and family’s challenges and convenience.
Several factors have been taken into consideration to ensure the effective grouping of students.
Factors are taken into account for student grouping:
Grouping students alphabetically.
Grouping students based on their individual needs such as IEPs and ILaPs.
Grouping students based on their Arabic and Islamic requirements.
Grouping students based on transportation requirements.
Grouping students based on the elective courses.
As far as the academic performance of the students is concerned, groupings are heterogeneous and do not opt for streaming and having two groups of low and high-achieving students. The reason for this decision is both groups are receiving the same lesson at the same time only through different approaches (FTF and DL), and they all should be able to benefit from the teachers’ differentiated and well-designed instruction, tasks, and activities.
The Alternating Days approach is a combination of face-to-face (FTF) and distance learning (DL). The purpose of the Blended Education Model (BEM) is to further ensure a higher quality of teaching and learning practices, support students’ social and emotional development and wellbeing, and ensure more reliable assessment procedures and results on both internal and external levels.
How will students alternate days for FTF and DL?
Each section will be divided into two groups (Group 1 and Group 2). Group 1 and group 2 attend the school on an alternative basis. The alternation happens every other day.
On the days when one group is having face-to-face learning, the other group has access to the teacher’s instruction and facilitation via synchronous smart board sharing and multimedia projection as well as a distance learning LMS (e.g. Google Classroom)
Since there are 5 instructional / school days in a week (Sunday-Thursday), one group will attend 3 days and the other group only 2 days. To ensure everyone has equal access to face-to-face learning opportunities, the alternation swaps every 2 weeks.
During the first 2 weeks, group 1 students in all sections will attend on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday and group 2 will attend on Monday and Wednesday.
During the second 2 weeks, group 2 students in all sections will attend on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday and group 1 will attend on Monday and Wednesday.
This alternation continues as long as school functions based on the blended learning / alternating days approach in order to ensure consistent and equitable access to learning opportunities for all students.
Those parents who prefer their children to continue with distance learning and avoid face-to-face learning for justified reasons, one of which being the child’s vulnerability to diseases, can opt for mere engagement in distance learning. However, this decision does not affect the tuition fees and they will be treated like those who opt for the alternating day's approach. Approval of such decisions is done by the school management depending on whether or not the student has had a successful DL experience before. Such students have to report to school for all their summative as well as all external assessments.