Unique Akhlaquna course created by Qatar Academy Al Wakra
Through a specially crafted ethics curriculum, titled Akhlaquna, Qatar Academy Al Wakra (QAW) is working to instill moral and ethical values its students, with the aim of helping to create leaders of change.
We made sure to schedule the ethics class within the daily lessons in order to ensure enough time is allocated to teach it, because we value ethics as part of the school’s core educational program
The curriculum at Qatar Academy Al Wakra (QAW) – part of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Pre-University Education – is taught in English and Arabic for students in grades K-12, with the course encouraging young people to display positive actions, mindsets, and practices, both within and beyond the classroom.
The ethics curriculum is a core subject for teaching moral character and a part of the school’s behavioral and character development program, because – according to Bedriyah K. Itani, Director of QAW – it is important to provide the students with a social emotional program that is tailored to suit their societal, religious, and cultural principles.
“We had enough expertise at QAW to build our own program,” said Itani. “After conducting the necessary research and review, we decided to establish a committee within our school consisting of the administration, staff, and parents to lay down the fundamentals and design the structure of the curriculum. A year later, we were able to officially launch the program.”
Students really enjoy the ethics class and the activities it includes
Itani explained that the idea of this curriculum came in conjunction with the first announcement of Akhlaquna Award by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation. It has been a source of great motivation for students to participate in the Akhlaquna Junior Award, which was launched in 2019 specifically for young people aged 7 – 14 years, with two QAW students winning the latest cycle.
“We made sure to schedule the ethics class within the daily lessons in order to ensure enough time is allocated to teach it, because we value ethics as part of the school’s core educational program.
“A key aspect of the program is promoting student agency and building on student-led initiatives, life experiences, and culture to achieve deeply rooted moral integrity –a building block for character development. We believe that education does not necessarily depend on teachers providing the knowledge.
“Teachers of all subjects work together to embed the ethical principles in the material they teach to maximize the benefits for students. We do not teach any subject in isolation from ethics, as ethics is the basis of our curricula.”
QAW’s Akhlaquna curriculum focuses on four main ethics: mindfulness, humbleness, honesty, and perseverance. An important aspect of the course is that it is cumulative, for example, students in kindergarten are introduced to the concept of honesty, they then further explore this concept as they advance academic stages through high school, ensuring there is no repetition of the course material, but rather there is a deeper exploration of each principle.
It is essential to instill these ethical principles in our students, as it helps to preserve the culture and religious beliefs
Gamil Al-Imam, Ethics Teacher at QAW, said that the teachers would try to independently improve students' behavior, but their efforts were uncoordinated and scattered. But, according to Al-Imam, one of the advantages of this program is that it focuses the efforts of all teachers on specific areas for greater impact.
“Teaching each ethical principle can take up to a period of four to six weeks. We include interactive and practical activities in our lessons inspired by Islamic history and link it to the experiences of our students to make sure that they can relate to what they learn in their practical lives.
“Students really enjoy the ethics class and the activities it includes. We have witnessed how their performance has improved in classes following the ethics lesson,” said Al-Imam.
For Zahra Sanaa Lessak, Primary Pastoral Care Lead Teacher at QAW, the study of ethics is vital – especially in today’s rapidly growing society and changes in promoting health precautionary measures, including social distancing.
“It is essential to instill these ethical principles in our students, as it helps to preserve the culture and religious beliefs. Not only will students feel a strong sense of connection, they will be able to put these principles into practice – both at home and at school.
“The ethics curriculum provides opportunities for students to become ambassadors for their beloved country, and the world at large.”
Talking about the positive impact that this curriculum has created, Dr. Kholoud Sultan Al-Kuwari, mother of Maryam Faisal Al Thani – a grade 6 student at QAW – explained how she has seen a transformation in her daughter’s behavior, and the way she deals with others around her.
“We appreciate the efforts of QAW in launching this important initiative that contributes to cultivating the next generation of builders of our nation. It is vital to have such school programs that focus on these core values and cite influential stories from our Islamic history.
"My daughter is keen to apply what she learns in her daily life, and she shares the stories she studies with her siblings whenever there’s a conflict, all of which are essential aspects that embody exemplary moral character and inspire others.”