Doha College recently hosted a Learning Festival where teams of primary teachers presented the results of their action research projects carried out during the year. Doha College is one of the longest standing international schools in Qatar.

Every staff member in Doha College Primary became a teacher-researcher this year, as a means of professional development. Working collaboratively in year groups or departments, they undertook an action research investigation into an area of practice which they felt had scope for growth, or was a ‘stone in a shoe’.

Doha College Learning Festival
Kirsten Burnett and Dr Steffen Sommer

The topics of the teachers’ action research listed exposure to open-ended resources, impact of child-initiated learning, whole-class feedback strategies, use of concrete materials in mathematics, pupil conferencing, parent engagement with flashcards in languages, impact of physical activity on academic attainment, music lessons as planning platforms and many more.

The findings of their research were shared with an audience that comprised the teaching staff of Doha College – primary and secondary – as well as guests from the Ministry of Education, Doha English Speaking School, Swiss International School in Qatar, Newton British School, English Modern School and Doha Academy.

Doha College Principal Dr Steffen Sommer explained the significance of the professional event. He said that the Learning Festival could not have come at a better time – just ahead of the unveiling of the Doha College CPD academy ‘Education Innovation Forum’, which will be launched in September this year.

The ‘Learning Festival’ was an amazing indication of the practice-orientated research that had been undertaken by primary teachers to improve their practice.

The agency of teachers in the field of research, constantly trying to improve their teaching techniques to inspire students, to improve their learning, to engage them proactively in their learning in order to enhance memorisation techniques and collaboration, as well as the effective use of research material, has been phenomenal. This will be taken another step forward when we announce the ‘Education Innovation Forum’ in September.

Going forward, action research will be an integral part of this forum, and we will invite teachers from other schools to contribute in order to enrich this growing area of teacher agency, not only at Doha College but across British schools and Qatari schools in Doha.’


The Learning Festival was the initiative of Doha College primary teacher Kirsten Burnett, who recently presented at the COBIS ‘Innovation in Education Conference’ that had joined forces with the first ever ResearchED event in the Middle East.

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