Qatar University's student of the year inspires in her own classroom

Classroom in Qatar

Latifa Al Kuwari '06, one of the first students to graduate from the Primary Educator Preparation Program at Qatar University, teaches her classroom of first-graders. Credit: Latifa Al Kuwari '06
Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: March 07, 2009

Some people make outstanding students, and others are gifted teachers. Occasionally, the combination occurs in one person, like Latifa Al Kuwari '06.

Latifa, who held an undergraduate degree in science education, graduated in the first group of certificate students in the Primary Educator Preparation Program at Qatar University, offered through the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University.

Patricia Lynch, clinical professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, lived and taught in Doha, Qatar, for the first two years of the five-year program. She met Latifa in one of her classes and took note of her dedication to her education. “Latifa was a student who always did her best and had high expectations of herself in her school work,” Patricia says.

“She was very skilled in technology and used this in developing her teaching materials and in her teaching, which was not typical of our students,” she adds.

Impressed with Latifa’s work, Patricia nominated her for Qatar University’s 2007 Student of the Year Award, a campus-wide honor reserved for a graduate. Latifa won.

Today Latifa teaches first grade at Al-Shaqab Primary Independent School for Girls, where she was asked to be a coordinator during her first year of teaching. She instructs students in English, mathematics, science and life skills. 

“I like to teach children and feel so happy to see their eyes sparkling when they learn something new,”
Latifa says.

Student learning is a priority in Latifa’s classroom, and she has made large strides to improve that learning.  “She had students who spoke almost no English and was able to make great improvements in their education,” Patricia says.

Latifa’s improvement strategy is simple: know your students. “I believe that each child has a different way to learn,” she says, “so I try my best to understand each child and let her learn in her ownway.”

This flexible approach to education is the hallmark of a widespread educational reform initiative taking place in Qatar. This reform calls for the establishment of government-funded independent schools that undergo annual assessments. The initiative stresses school autonomy, accountability and variety as well as freedom of choice for parents.

Latifa is enthusiastic about the change and what it means for both students and teachers. “The education reform in Qatar changes the way of life and the way of thinking for a lot of people. It improves the education system and helps the students to be independent and creative in their choices.”