Islam Tech Exhibition – Alhuda International School

AIEx-IslamTechAlHuda International School Islamabad organized an Islamic Science Exhibition (AIEx) on 21st April, 2015 at Aura Grand, E-11/3. The theme of the exhibition was “Islam Tech”. The main objective of the exhibition was to show the connection of Islamic teachings with the modern day science and technology.

The chief guest Rana Tanvir Hussain Minister of Defence Production and Science and Technology graced the event with his presence. Other guests of honor on the event were Dr. Samar Mubarak, a renowned Nuclear Scientist and a Metallurgical Engineer, Dr. Ahsan Iqbal,State,Minister of Planning and Management, Mr. Balighur Rehman, Minister of education, Muhammad Atif, KPK minister of Education.

Students were very well rehearsed in their scientific as well as Islamic knowledge of the projects and experiments.

The program started with recitation of the verses from the Holy Quran. While visiting the projects and displays of the students Dr. Samar Mubarak Mand appreciated the efforts of the institute on equipping its students with ample knowledge of religion as well as providing them with the opportunity to learn and understand the scientific working of the world around us. He laid a strong emphasis on education. Being a tool in developing good morals and ethics amongst the youth, highlighting the role of families, as well as educational institutions in providing our new generation with these ethics.

He appreciated the idea behind the AIEx and remarked that it is a great need of the time. He praised the performance of the young students of Alhuda International School. He expressed that it was amazing to see the hard work and enthusiasm shown by the teachers.

The school organized the event at Aura Grand Marquee in E-11. The venue was split into two zones in sync with the theme of the event. The first zone consisted of the projects on agricultural tech, educational tech, aerospace tech, transport tech. health technology, communication technology and a few projects on personal technology by Montessori section. The primary section held their projects on transport technology, information technology, geo technology, space science and aerospace.

The primary section held their projects on transport technology, information technology, geo technology, space science and aerospace.

The senior girls’ section held their projects on design, technology, educational technology and nano technology. Senior boys section presented their projects on bio technology and robotics in zone two. The presentable blend of science, technology and art attracted the attention of a huge number of visitors to this event.

Students were very well rehearsed in their scientific as well as Islamic knowledge of the projects and experiments. The zeal, energy and enthusiasm of the children was oozing out from auras which was a sight worth watching.

At closing ceremony Mr. Rana Tanvir said, “It is indeed an honor to attend such a spectacular event organized by AIS. The vision of AIS is to develop the academic skills of children, enhance their natural talents, impart authentic religious education and ensure positive character building in order to make them responsible Muslims, contributing citizens and respectful human being is itself inspiring.”

The exhibition concluded with the director’s note. He highlighted the essential elements of the AIS mission as being a vital factor in the development of AIS students as responsible Muslims, contributing citizens and respectful human beings. He emphasized on the importance of recognizing and respecting our Creator. He explained that the exclusive features of AIS are imparting authentic Islamic education, parent’s involvement, motivated and dedicated teachers and a progressive environment. Atif Iqbal thanked the honorable chief guest and the distinguish guests for gracing the occasion and encouraging the students.

Catching Kids Being Good

kids being goodRewarding a behavior is the most effective way of promoting good conduct. Teachers can re-enforce youngsters by a smile, a ‘thank you’, some praise, or food. However, many believe that this method does not actually work – they continue to insist on their negative approaches that often make things worse, not better. Set up the child for success if he is not presently demonstrating the desired behavior. When a child displays positive behavior, recognize it. Do not hold a grudge. When first building a behavior, reward it each time as quickly as possible. The following are some reward suggestions that will encourage kids to strive for ‘being good’.

Tree of Achievements

For increasing the self-esteem in children, make a tree of achievement for each classroom. Make a display with a bare tree on a hillside or in a field and place a basket of brightly coloured leaves below. Whenever a child works hard or shows kindness, their name along with their good deed get written on a leaf and put up on the tree. This will encourage positive behaviour, and the children will love it.

Golden Wall

Use a ‘Golden Wall’ to encourage the circle time in the classroom. Write out the ‘golden rules’ from top to bottom on a wall. Every time a child adheres to some golden rule or successfully displays the focus golden rule of a particular week, write his / her name on a piece of paper and stick it to the Golden Wall. At the end of a half term, tear off all the labels from the wall and count them. The more a child’s name is on the wall, the higher are his / her chances for winning an award.

Behaviour Ladder

Age Range: 5 to 11

Draw a ladder onto a big piece of paper and write the names of children on little cards. Every time a child achieves something in any area, he / she moves a step up on the ladder. Similarly, the child moves one step down, every time he / she does something negative. For winning a secret prize, the child has to get to the top of the ladder.

Warm Fuzzies

The teacher makes on computer 25 squares of small grid for each child and places them on their desks. When a child works quietly on a task, produces excellent work, does homework, consistently follows class rules, the squares get stamped. Children also give them to each other for positive reasons at ‘warm fuzzy time.’ When the grid is filled, the student gets a certificate and sometimes a prize. Then, children aim for the next award, which is 50, 75, 100, 125, etc. Kids enjoy this type of rewards that promote positive behaviour.

Target Tree

Every half term, each student cuts out an apple and writes on it his / her personal target. Then, this apple is hung onto a tree prepared by the teacher. When the child achieves the target, he / she receives 2 merits. The next half term, a new apple gets added onto the tree.

Behaviour Train

Place on the wall a large train engine with several carriages behind. Represent each child in a carriage by writing his / her name and drawing a cartoon character. There should be on the wall also a ‘Missed Playtime Station.’ If during a play session a child misbehaves, his / her carriage gets removed from the train and placed in the station. The carriage can return to the train only if the child modifies his / her behaviour before the next playtime.

Prize Token

Give children a prize token anytime they work well on a task, produce a lovely work, answer a question correctly, etc. Children write their names on a piece of paper and put them in a prize jar. Keep on reminding children throughout the day: “Who is doing the work quietly so that I can give a prize token?” You will be surprised to see that students will stop talking and will get back to their work. At the end of the day, draw the names out of the prize jar. If students have been really good, give out a few more prizes; however, if they had misbehaved, warn them that no names would be drawn from the prize jar, unless they improve their behaviour.

Super Stars

This reward system is very simple and designed specifically for younger students. Teacher draws a star and leaves below it some space for writing the names of students. This becomes a ‘Super Stars’ list, into which the teacher writes then names of students any time they do something praiseworthy. When the class is rowdy, the teacher should say: “Twinkle, twinkle super star – can I see where you are?” This gets the attention of students and puts them back to their work. Super Star students can do some special tasks for the teacher.

In order to encourage appropriate behaviour everyone needs to be challenged and motivated. An effort that goes unrecognized or earns no appreciation has no chances to last. Even Allah the most Gracious, has offered Jannah as a reward for all the hard work good believers put in day in and day out. This motivation helps us stay guided and builds an eagerness to do our very best.

Positive attitude and expectation of a teacher from his student eventually enables the child to realize he has the potential to be good. Otherwise he would not have been asked to do good consistently. On the other hand labeling a child as a failure or demonstrating suspicion and anger over his undesired attitude only sends one message that the child is incapable of any improvement or change.

A List of Ideas for Earning Rewards

  • Have the teacher phone your parents to tell them what a great kid you are.
  • Draw on the chalkboard.
  • Be the first in line.
  • Choose any class job for a week.
  • Do all the class jobs for a day.
  • Be a helper in the room with younger children.
  • Help the librarian.
  • Choose a book for the teacher to read to the class.
  • Keep a stuffed animal on your desk.
  • Use the computer.
  • Be the first to eat.
  • Have a special sharing time to teach something to the class, set up a display etc.
  • Read to someone else.
  • Choose a movie for the class to watch.
  • Get a fun worksheet.

Improving the Teaching of Islamiat

Speaking from a student’s perspective, Hafsa Ahsan humbly offers the teachers of Islamiat practical suggestions for improving the quality of lectures

I stifled a yawn and glanced around the class. Two of my classmates were reading a Danielle Steel novel under their desks. Behind me, a group of my classmates were chatting merrily. At the first read, you may think the teacher was not present in the class. But no, there was a full fledge lecture going on. This was a typical scenario of our Islamiat class, and some of the ways my classmates designed for breaking the monotony.

I feel really bad writing this, but the Islamiat classes were the most-dreaded ones. It was not so much the curriculum itself, as it was the way it was actually taught. I will be frank: the only reason I attended this class was because proxy attendances were against my principles.

Whether we talk about the British system of education or our Pakistani one, the curriculum is generally the same. Whether we studied the subject one semester or two years, not many of us actually remembered, what we had been taught. Most of the ‘study’ was comprised of a rush to make notes or open the textbook in the last month before exams, cram up as much as possible, and reproduce whatever we can in the exam paper. End of story.

The question, which generally arises, is – how should Islamiat be taught? It is a compulsory subject, after all. Its theoretical nature makes it difficult to fit Islamiat under the standards of science and commerce subjects, where concepts are understood through graphical, statistical, and logical means. However, there is plenty of room for improvement.

Using Audio Visual aids

I yet have to come across a teacher, who would actually use the blackboard, or any kind of Audio Visual aids, while teaching Islamiat. The ‘lecture’ in the truest sense of the word does not really hold the attention of students. If delivering the lecture in a form of an attractive presentation is too time-consuming, a good use of the blackboard would definitely make the class interesting. Mind maps showing the relations between different concepts are the most relevant diagrams, considering that we are talking about a theoretical subject.

Relating the subject to everyday life

In case of a simple topic like ablution, the teacher can go beyond the basic methodology of ablution and ask students questions like ‘what would they do if they have to pray at school and want to do ablution with their socks on?’ There are many such issues in our daily lives, for which we need to refer to Islamiat. Think about it: if we are not able to concentrate on our prayers, does not the need arise to remember the meaning of what we recite? Someone asks us to give Zakat to a charity organization, and we wonder, whether or not a charity donation actually counts as Zakat. There are many similar occasions, where we need to apply Islamiat.

Relating the subject to important scientific concepts

A couple of months ago, my sister showed me a physics formula, which illustrated, how at the time of Mairaj, Prophet Muhammad (sa) explored the seven skies and came back within a night. The formula had some values, which gave the value of time to be infinity. Now, if the Islamiat teacher is well up to date with the latest scientific research, he/she can relate similar connections in the class, which would definitely fascinate the students. Another example is the burning of the seas on the Day of Judgment. The teacher can show how, if the covalent bonds between hydrogen and oxygen break, one gas will burn and the other will make it burn -that is how the seas will be ignited.

Asking ‘how’ not ‘what’

Most of the Islamiat questions I saw in my school days began with ‘what’. Or still worse, there were such questions as ‘Write a note on Salah’. For the life of me, I have never understood the logic of the word ‘note’. Most students have come to translate this word as ‘Write everything you know about…’ And that is precisely what students do. On the contrary, such questions as ‘Why do you think Salah is not excused under any conditions?’ or ‘How do you think we practice Jihad-bin-Nafs in our daily lives?’ are more interesting and stimulate students to think. Such questions also ensure that the students do not rote-learn every chapter of the book. And from a student’s perspective, learning actually becomes a more fulfilling activity.

Encouraging class discussions and prompting students to ask ‘why’

One-way lectures on Islamiat just add to the drowsiness factor. If teachers would encourage students to ask questions, the class would become more exciting. An interesting discussion developed in one of my Islamiat classes – why do we believe the Ahadeeth to be authentic, when they were formally compiled after the death of the Prophet (sa)?

Engaging students in interesting activities

Research-based tasks, in which students have to consult sources other than the textbooks, are also a good option. The teacher can design activities that would require students to go online for looking up information, which would complement that of the textbook. Making small, attractive flash cards for different supplications, designing a Zakat calculator, and exploring online means of Dawah are some of the activities, which the teacher can assign students to make the subject livelier.

The above are some of my humble suggestions to Islamiat teachers. There is a widespread belief that ‘Islamiat is for exam’s sake only’, and it is up to the teachers to work towards eliminating it.

Secrets to Success in School

parent-teacherIncome or social status is not the predicator of student’s success. Real triumph comes when families collaborate in the following:

  • Creating a learning environment at home
  • Expressing high expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers
  • Becoming involved in children’s education at school

Positive results of parental involvement in their children’s schooling include improved achievement, reduced absenteeism, improved behavior, and restored confidence among parents in their children’s schooling.

A good way to start is by actively participating in the parent-teacher meetings:

How to make parent-teacher conference work for your child

Ways to tackle the conference

When the parent is called for a meeting with his child’s teacher, the parent may feel nervous. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Parents should be on time for the conference. They should plan not to run over the amount of time that has been set aside.
  2. If the parent is working, he/she should set up a time to meet, which is good for both the parent and the teacher.
  3. When teachers and parents work to help the child then the conference is at its best. Both of them stay calm. It helps no one when they argue and blame each other for problems the child is having.

Getting ready for the conference

  1. Before the conference the parent should talk to their child. They should find out what is their child’s favorite subject and which is their least liked subject.
  2. Ask the child if there is anything their child wants their parents to ask the teacher.
  3. The parents should make sure that the child does not worry about the meeting. Make him understand that you are meeting with the teacher to help him.
  4. Before parents go to the school, they may write notes about: the youngster’s personality, troubles, habits, hobbies, and life at home, which the parent feels essential for a teacher to be familiar with.
  5. Parents can make note of school policies or programs a parent may have some concern about.
  6. Parents can ask about the child’s progress.
  7. Discuss ways a parent can help the child by working together with the school.
  8. The parent should be ready to see samples of the student’s work, which the teacher might show to them.
  9. Be receptive to the ideas the teacher will give to improve the child’s performance.

After the conference

  1. The action plan on which the teacher and parent worked should be started immediately.
  2. The child should get the feeling that the parent and the teacher care.
  3. Check the child’s behaviour and class work and home work to see if the action plan is working or not.
  4. To discuss the progress the child is making, stay in touch with the teacher.
  5. Meeting the child’s teacher should build strong parent teacher partnerships. This partnership will help the child get the best possible education.

At home a parent can help their child in the following ways:

  1. Read to your child his/her favourite books, stories etc.
  2. Check homework every day
  3. Discuss school progress with teachers
  4. Limit his TV viewing
  5. Ask your child everyday “How was school today?”
  6. Help with homework even if he has a tutor at home
  7. Actively organize and monitor your child’s time at home to minimize wastage of time
  8. Parents can watch news and documentaries, and rent educational videos with the kids
  9. Visit museums, zoos, botanical gardens, and historical sites with your child
  10. Parents and children should read articles together that are found in the newspaper and magazines. Go to the library also
  11. Vacations should be made into a learning experience.
  12. Children, who have a broad foundation of knowledge and background on a variety of subjects, will find schooling and learning easier and interesting. It is the responsibility of the parents to share the world with their children.

Beat School Stress

In a student’s life school stress has a very negative effect. It may have to do with too much homework in the spare time. Try these strategies to cut out that stress.

  1. The child should stay organized. It will help him be in control, and that helps him to keep stress at bay.
  2. The student should also take mini-breaks throughout the day to chill out. Whether it is to nap, write in a journal, or take a walk, he should do something he enjoys regularly. Changing the surroundings even for five or ten minutes can give a new perspective and let him/her feel energized.
  3. The student should be allowed one big chunk of time at least once a week to have fun.
  4. Everybody makes mistakes, and nobody’s perfect. Do not disown the child if he or she has an occasional performance shortfall.
  5. Use stress to motivate your kid to get things done. When the child does some work, he should be happy with himself.
  6. Teachers need to give their students a break now and then and realize how much work they have piled up.

Students can own success

A Student should prepare himself to succeed in his studies. He can try to develop and appreciate the following habits:

  1. The student should take responsibility for himself. Responsibility is recognition that in order to succeed he can make decisions about his priorities, his time, and his resources.
  2. Center himself around his values and principles. He should not let friends and acquaintances dictate what he considers important.
  3. He should put first things first. The student should not let others or other interests, distract him from his goal.
  4. He should follow up the priorities he has set for himself.
  5. Discover key productivity periods and places.
  6. The student should prioritize his most difficult study challenges.
  7. There should be study spaces for morning, evening where the student can be most focused and productive.
  8. First understand others, then attempt to be understood
  9. When the student has an issue with the teacher, for instance a grade that is questionable , an assignment deadline extension, the student should put himself in the instructor’s place.
  10. He ought to look for better solutions to problems. For example if the student has not understood the course material he should not just re-read the material. He should try things like consulting the professor, a tutor, a classmate or a study group.
  11. He should look to continually challenge himself.

Shaping Eternity

Nayyara Rahman writes, a teacher affects eternity and there is no telling when his or her influence stops

Our ninth grade teacher once told us during a lesson that, “A teacher is the one whose wisdom and guidance fills your time on this Earth with inspiration and contentment and makes the afterlife a place of eternal rest.”

At that time, there was a unanimous “hmmm” and we went back to our class work, but her words had sowed the seed. We often talked about the teacher-student relationship long after we passed out of school. And, although our opinions often change, there are a few things most of us agree upon.

For most of us, teachers have been role models and a source of inspiration. Textbook material is just a sliver of all that they teach us. Where would we be if our teachers had not spent precious classroom time telling us the importance of honesty, integrity, and dignity?

Because one’s relationship with a teacher happens to be an intellectual one, there is a great deal of mental intimacy involved too. We trust our teachers with ideas we would be embarrassed to express in public. There is an unspoken understanding of confidence and appreciation.

Many of us believe that we are the only ones sweating it out in schoolrooms. Conversely, most teachers I have had, had a policy of solving timed papers themselves before testing their students with it. Very often, they have gone to great pains to supply us with the latest developments in their subjects.

However, the real trouble begins when a teacher’s teaching style is not compatible to the student’s learning style. As they say, “In teaching it is the method and not the content that is the message… the drawing out, not the pumping in.”

With a bizarre concept of freedom of choice, students today also assess their teachers quite critically. They paint a specific picture of their mentor in their minds. It works like a computer identification seeking the right password. The minutest mismatch can deny the teachers, access to a student’s attention, respect and loyalty.

Sellar and Yeatman once quoted, “For every person wishing to teach there are thirty not wanting to be taught.” Very often, I wonder how teachers bear us. (No offence to particularly sprightly occupants of the classroom). Only Herculean efforts let them tolerate us when we ardently display our limited collection of some very distorted facts.

The bond between a student and education in earlier times was unique. Imam Su’bah said, “If I ever saw someone running in the streets of the village I would only think one of two things: He was either crazy or a student of Hadeeth!” Today we might do that for the premier of a movie of course.

Times have changed drastically. Students today treat their teachers as if they are going 10-pin bowling with them and they were not sure they want their teacher’s company. Whatever happened to deference? A thing of the past, I guess.

John Sutherland, a professor of English literature observes, “Now teaching is ‘sold’. Students ‘buy’ it. They are, in short, customers in a marketplace. Higher education, thanks to fees is ‘customerized’. This means the traditional relationship between lecturer and student has been irrevocably eroded.”

Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition. No matter how smart we may be, we cannot treat our teachers disdainfully. It is poor in taste, and reflective of a loser. It would be nice of us if we at least valued and respected them for who they are. Time only tells how teachers influence eternity.