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June 1, 2015

Math Teachers Learn New Techniques for Educating Engineering Leaders

More than 20 teachers from 16 of Qatar’s secondary schools participated in the inaugural Engineering Leaders Institute for Excellence in Mathematics Education.
The five-day institute, organized by Texas A&M University at Qatar, was designed to enhance teaching techniques to deepen students’ understanding of math as a foundation for advanced education, said Dr Sandra Nite, institute facilitator and a research scientist in math education at Aggie STEM at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, USA.

“Teacher professional development is an especially effective approach for STEM outreach and enrichment,” Nite said. “By helping 20 teachers enhance their teaching strategies, you can impact the learning of hundreds or thousands of their students in the years that follow.”
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Dr Mohamed Elgindi, professor of math at Texas A&M at Qatar, was Nite’s co-instructor for the institute. He reminded teachers of the significant contributions of ancient Arab scholars to science and led sessions in which he highlighted math concepts that are important for success as a university engineering student. Teachers used graphing calculators with rangefinder devices to link mathematical data with real-world applications.

The institute was developed as part of the Engineering Leaders outreach strategy to prepare young Qataris for university studies in science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM disciplines, said Dr Hamid Parsaei, director of academic outreach and professor of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M at Qatar.

Sheikh Faisal Al-Thani, deputy managing director of Maersk Oil Qatar, said the company is investing in teacher development among other academic initiatives to strengthen human and social development for Qatar’s knowledge-based economy.

"As the operator of Qatar's largest and most complex offshore oilfield — Al Shaheen — we are committed to supporting development of the specialist workforce needed to responsibly unlock Qatar's important national resources,” Sheikh Faisal said. “We are therefore supporting a number of educational initiatives aimed at developing Qatar's human capital and knowledge economy; investing in teacher development and nurturing and developing interest in STEM disciplines is critical to achieving this."

“The inaugural Engineering Leaders Institute is helping professional teachers to broaden their experience and skills in a range of engineering disciplines in mathematics to be able to better attract and inspire the next generation to follow a technical educational track, that can lead to successful and rewarding careers in industries like oil and gas,” Al-Thani added.

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