One Common Goal: Teaching Effectively in the U.S. and in the Middle East

Professors Address Issues of Technology, Critical Thinking, and Special Education to 250 Lebanese Educators

Oct. 6, 2011 By Elizabeth Mak

All students—from America or Lebanon—need teachers who can motivate them to love learning. Four professors from Biola’s School of Education recently set out to teach Lebanese educators just that through workshops at the “Educational Challenges and Today’s Classroom” conference at Middle East University in Sabtieh, Lebanon.

The conference, held Sept. 7-9, 2011, was hosted by the Association of Evangelical Schools in Lebanon and invited experts from throughout the United States to teach.

Biola had the largest team of professors invited from any one institution consisting of Dennis Eastman, Fred Ramirez, Carolyn A. Bishop, and Robin LaBarbera. Together, they hosted workshops on a variety of topics including technology in the classroom, teaching students to think critically, and the importance of special education programs.

“Being able to participate in an international conference in the Middle East—that’s an exceptional opportunity for me,” said Biola’s director of teacher education, Dennis Eastman who had never traveled to the Middle East before being invited to the conference. “To say it’s rare is an understatement.”

More than 250 educators from Middle East University, Lebanon American University, Beirut Baptist School, and others attended the event. Those attending represented a spectrum of educators whose students range from kindergarten to the university level.  Yet all were there for the same purpose—to understand how to teach their students more effectively.

Eastman, who led a workshop on the importance of motivating students, spoke about the need for using technology in order to communicate with this generation. Though technology helps reach students who have never lived in a world without computers, Eastman made the distinction between the content itself and how that content is communicated.

“The technology is not the content,” said Eastman. “It’s merely a delivery system. …Don’t mistake the two.”

According to Eastman, Biola’s relationship with the program got started with Nabil Costa, secretary general of the AESL. Costa, one of the 30 percent of professing Christians living in Lebanon, showed interest in Biola’s School of Education because of its commitment to Christian values. Though only a small number of Christian private schools exist in Lebanon, the majority of students enrolled at these schools come from Muslim families whose parents respect the academic integrity of the schools. Oftentimes, parents have to sign waivers acknowledging that their children will be exposed to Christian teachings at school. 

“Biola University has an important opportunity to take the Word to the world,” said Eastman. “They know that we’re about the unmitigated truth of Scripture and they know they are going to get a product that is superlative.”

Biola professors were featured in An-Nahar Newspaper, Lebanon's leading Arabic-language daily newspaper, on Sept. 7, 2011 in an article entitled, "A Conference by the Association of Evangelical Schools in Lebanon that addresses 'Contemporary challenges' in Education: Integrating technology, teaching ethics, and evaluating each student individually" (translated into English).

Written by Elizabeth Mak, Media Relations Intern. For more information, please contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.eduor via phone at 562.777.4061. 


  • Teketel ashine Oct. 9, 2011 at 3:46 AM

    Am eager to learn at this institutions

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