The pedagogy division houses the research as well as the applications of research based methods to improve learning including preparing educators to respond to the academic needs of learners (in K-12 and higher education) through data driven and empirically grounded knowledge. The division pays special attention to the socio-emotional aspects of learning and aims to contribute to the knowledge on well-being. Recommendations generated from the annual “Mapping the Terrain” study and others such as “Teacher action research” part of the Teacher Training Enrichment Program (TTEP) will provide guidance and recommendations on policy changes, impactful interventions, and value based curricula that will enhance learners’ well-being.

The pedagogy division leads the study on mapping the terrain of education which is an annual study to collect information on values and skills to promote human development and value based research and education.

Mapping the Terrain Annual Study

In order to contribute to the reform of education agenda, IIIT has initiated its Advancing Education in Muslim Societies (AEMS) project to identify and address methods to enhance the teaching and learning experiences. Recognizing the complexity and multi-dimensionality of the task, the IIIT is undertaking an annual empirical study focused on generating new knowledge and offering data-driven information concerning education in its widest sense in Muslim societies.

AEMS identifies its research within the so called “Third Space” which means that education serves more than just acquiring knowledge and skills; it also serves as a vehicle for a meaningful and holistic life. Based on this framework, education functions as a means for transformation and hope for a better future. An in-depth literature review reveals a wealth of information and programs on education for employment and citizenship in Muslim societies. However, there is a lack of research on the socio-emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual in the “Third Space.”

To address the gaps in the research, the AEMS team designed a conceptual framework and a robust research agenda that takes the “Third Space” into consideration. “Mapping the Terrain,” attempts to investigate the conditions and status of education in Muslim societies while focusing on individual growth and development such as the socio-emotional and spiritual aspects of his/her being 2018-2019 Study.

The Mapping the Terrain research study began in 2018 with evidence-based generation of knowledge on seven constructs of interest selected because they are grounded in an Islamic value system and the human development approach. Over 25,000 participants in 16 countries or areas participated in the 2018-2019. “Mapping the terrain” data from 2018-2019 and thereafter will become publically available by IIIT in order to serve the larger research community and scholars around the globe. It will become a hub for accumulated new knowledge in the fields of education, human development, and value based education.

Below were constructs surveyed in 2018-19:

What is behind the constructs:

2019-2020 Study

The second wave of “Mapping the Terrain” aims to confirm and expand on the results of the first study and further document important values in Muslim societies, schools, and social contexts. The constructs selected align with the Universal Quranic Values identified as foundational values. In fact, the constructs (values or skills) are instrumental for success in life in the 21st century. Below are the constructs examined in the 2019-2020 Study and beyond.

Action Research

The Advancing Education in Muslim Societies (AEMS) initiative of IIIT launched its new Teacher Training Enrichment Program (TTEP) in December 2018. The program was designed as a three-part course in winter, spring, and summer. The course took social and emotional learning (SEL) aspects to practical levels in ways that empower teachers working with Muslim learners to include SEL and socio-emotional education (SEE) in their classrooms.

Teachers and school personnel explored processes underlying SEL in k-12 school settings and designed multilevel and evidence-based instructional plans. Topics included teaching about empathy, community mindedness, resilience and forgiveness among others. IIIT provided teachers with the opportunity to learn all about how to transfer their intuitive empathetic teacher-nature into the most needed 21st Century instructional practices using social emotional learning (SEL) as the framework to promote students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, self-direction, collaboration & communication, and social responsibility. Participants then prepared and presented their own action research on their specific classrooms and/or schools. Topics presented on included creating a more welcoming classroom, changing teaching style from “demonstrator” to “facilitator”, use of meditation in the classroom and its impact on student behavior, as well as storytelling, gift-exchanging, and play-acting to learn more about socio-emotional skills.

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“Knowledge is not exclusive. It belongs to all who seek it. However, the context in which it is defined, acknowledged, approached, and utilized differs.”