UAE schools test use of games to teach moral education

Six schools in the country use games to engage pupils in moral education classes

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UAE schools are using games to engage pupils in the country’s moral education programme.

In a move away from textbooks and traditional teaching, the programme tested the use of games in six schools across the UAE to try to boost pupils' engagement and learning outcomes.

Using games for learning is a growing trend in UAE, as schools try to inspire pupils who have grown bored by using virtual games, maps and quizzes instead.

“We are interested in exploring the potential for innovative uses of modern technology to make learning fun and interactive, at the same time as deepening pupil immersion and comprehension in our moral education programme,” said Mohammad Al Nuaimi, director of the educational affairs office at Crown Prince’s Court Abu Dhabi and the pioneer of the programme.

“It was interesting for us to see how gamification helped enhance student engagement with our programme."

In March, it was revealed that almost a quarter of schools were not meeting expectations for the government programme.

Challenges such as teachers' inability to engage pupils and a lack of lesson planning lead to 23 per cent of schools falling below expectations, a report by the education affairs office says.

It also said that while 77 per cent of schools were meeting the expectations of the moral education programme, many teachers struggled with planning lessons and keeping pupils interested.

The education affairs office worked with Arc Skills, a training provider in the UAE, to run a three-month game pilots with 400 Grade 7 pupils in six schools across the country.

Avalon Heights World Private, Gems Westminster, Abu Dhabi International Private, Dar Al Marefa Private, Atika Bint Abdel Muttalib School for Girls and Umm Suqeim Model Girls were the schools chosen.

“I love the fact that it’s a topic that’s important and is delivered in a way that pupils like. That’s fantastic," said Andrew Wilson, vice principal at Gems Westminster School in Sharjah.

Kishor Pillai, director of academics at Avalon Heights World Private School, said pupils wanted to learn through the use of technology.

The moral education programme was launched in 2017 to promote values of tolerance, community spirit and compassion in pupils, together with an understanding and awareness of UAE culture.