The graduate studies at AlQasemi Academic College aim at promoting humanistic values and liberal educational approaches among teachers of multiple disciplines in the Israeli Arab educational system. Three graduate programs are currently offered to teachers with at least three years of teaching experience – Teaching and Learning (including specialties in Arabic teaching, English teaching and Early Childhood Education), Mathematics teaching and Teaching of Islamic Studies. Two additional programs are due to open within the next year – Masters in Teaching and Education of children and youth at risk.
The goal of these programs is to enrich the Arab education system with teachers who will serve as change agents by encouraging children of all ages to fulfill their potential and engage in meaningful learning, integrating high order thinking skills and social commitment.
The programs are unique in addressing specific issues that are important for the Arab educational system while at the same time supporting individual growth processes of each student. For example, special emphasis is put on empowering women and on finding the right balance between traditional norms and modern educational approaches.
Each program includes general courses in education, e.g., research design and skills, characteristics of the Israeli Arab education system and promotion of high order thinking skills. Additional courses aim at enriching the students’ knowledge and teaching skills in their area of expertize. An important component of the graduate studies is the final project which each student writes. The projects allows the students to combine theoretical and practical aspects that they learned and implement them in their practice. Examples of project topics are: Promoting mothers’ shared reading skills with preschool children, Humor as a coping strategy of teachers and teachers’ integration of technology into teaching and learning processes.
Evaluation of the outcomes of the graduate studies among teachers who completed their studies indicates that they indeed implement new teaching approaches and methods. Additionally, graduates of the programs assume leading roles in the schools where they work.