NYU Steinhardt News

Emirati Education Ambassadors Learn Best Practices in Inclusive Education at NYU Steinhardt

Group photo of Education Ambassador teams from the United Arab Emirates

In July 2018, NYU Steinhardt’s Office of Global Affairs collaborated with the Departments of Occupational Therapy and Teaching & Learning, and the Metro Center’s ASD Nest Support Project to facilitate a two-week summer intensive for Ministry’s Education Ambassador teams from the United Arab Emirates. Thirty-five Ambassadors, representing administrators and teachers from across the UAE, explored topics in inclusive education such as neurodiversity, universal design, and differentiated instruction. Sessions were anchored around a core theory of change project and, across the two weeks, teams outlined change projects to increase inclusive practices in their home schools.

At the start of the program, the Ambassadors indicated great interest in learning more about strategies and supports to increase the level of services for the special education students at their schools. This summer’s Education Ambassador program offered an intensive introduction to the theory and practice of inclusive education. Participants also left with an online collection of training materials and additional resources.

Education Ambassadors conferring during visit to NYU SteinhardtFeedback from the sessions was overwhelmingly positive with close to 95% of participants indicating that these sessions were “helpful” or “extremely helpful.” Participants also indicated that they would like to continue to learn more about inclusion, specifically deepening their understanding of Universal Design for Learning, neurodiversity, differentiated instruction, and knowledge around specific special education categories, such as autism spectrum disorders.

In addition to daily classroom activities, the Ambassadors exchanged experiences and ideas with a group of Muslim teachers who teach in New York City Schools, visited the Storm King Arts Center, experienced The Lion King on Broadway, and visited “play:groundNYC,” an educational, hands-on, child-only play space on Governor’s Island.

NYU Steinhardt and the UAE Ministry of Education plan to continue the collaboration in summer 2019 with another cohort of Education Ambassadors coming to New York City.