The best part was the way schooling is done in Saudi A. It's fascinating to know how conceptual, activity-based and highly-biased-towards-developing-thinking-skills it is. So we benchmarking it: We need the books taught there and the it's taught, and all co-curricular activities are done. (Need to make database of all benchmarks.)
Here, I'd like to discuss some random points that he shared informally with me:
- The Think-Tank teachers are given permanent job.
- The books we write on INDUCTION based, i.e., make students interpret and derive results from the data, rather than making knowledge narrow through the use of deduction.
- Moral Training in Morning (MTM): Back in his school, every morning students would prepare speeches/skits/any other way of presenting lessons based on Quran + Hadith + Discussion(-based); powered by a student affairs, or something, committee (consisting of a few teachers + students) who prepare the program. SO instead of having teachers give boring sermons on stage, students enact situations to teach moral lessons from Islam and hadith that is very interesting for pupils*.
- Encouraging salah/prayers: We can encourage pupils to pray, apart from making Zuhar prayer compulsory for 10/10+ pupils, by asking teachers to motivate students to prayer two rakah prayer during mid-day break in school-mosque.
- NO WRITTEN HOMEWORK that makes children dull. Rather we make students do work (activity based) in the classroom. And all homework we give is like task-work or like puzzles, for which there are no ZERO marks; every answer is appreciated, but the right answer is more appreciated.
- Islamic studies taught in Saudi A. is not a single subject but many subjects: During 3 years (at some level) they teach us whole Quran 10 surahs/year for which there's a proper exam; Tafseer of 3 paras of Quran; Memorization of 100 hadith/fiqh points.