Author Archives: haneefa corbie

Unpacking Assumptions

In my class, good use of digital technology must involve visuals and virtual experiments.  Since my students are learning science in English, I have to make sure that there are a plethora of visuals to help them to understand the concepts that we are covering in class.  We are a desert school and lack laboratory resources to do experiments, for this reason I try to show my students virtual experiments because this is the closest they are going to get to performing experiments in a lab.  For various reasons, numerous websites are blocked at school, this is another hurdle that I need to overcome when I want to show my students various information.  Technology can address conceptual challenges because it can bring to life the topics and areas in which the students possess the misconceptions in.

Technology in the class faces many roadblocks: money, time, lack of knowledge by the teacher in how to present this technology, or even use it.

Conceptual Challenges: Language Challenges

I have taught Science for 6 years in Canada, but nothing challenged me more than when I came to the United Arab Emirates to teach Science at the Middle School level.  In Driver et al.’s book, Children’s Ideas and the Learning of Science, it is stated that people construct their own meanings and personal ideas influence the manner in which information is acquired.  This is further made difficult if the language in which the Science information is being taught is not the mother tongue of the student.  In my case, I sometimes feel like I am doing my students a disservice because so much gets lost in translation.  Earlier this year, I was teaching students about plant and animal cells and students were lost because they had no idea what a cell was.  I showed them videos and we looked through textbooks, but I knew at the end of the unit that there were still many students that had no clue what I was talking about.  They could not fathom that our blood which looks liquid to the naked eye could have red blood cells as a component.
Like Heather and her classmates, my student’s posses so many misconceptions. These stem from information they have “heard” throughout their lives, events that they have observed and even various forms of media.  I read, Exploring the role of a discrepant event in changing the conceptions of evaporation and boiling in elementary school students, this paper stated that many causes and solutions to misconceptions among children in elementary school science problems have been proposed; however, in the study, it is suggested that the traditional examples used to enhance student understanding have instead caused misconceptions because of their limited scope.  They suggested that to explain abstract scientific concepts, concrete examples are generally presented, but it is difficult to represent all cases, and thus, only typical cases are selected. However, these traditional solutions can contribute to the students’ difficulties in learning.  This may ne an answer to reducing misconceptions in the science classroom.

Driver, R., Guesne, E., & Tiberghien, A. (1985). Children’s ideas in science. Milton Keynes [Buckinghamshire];Philadelphia;: Open University Press.


Paik, S., & Paik, S. (2015). Chemistry education research and practice: Exploring the role of a discrepant event in changing the conceptions of evaporation and boiling in elementary school students Department of Chemistry, University of Ioannina. doi:10.1039/c5rp00068h



The first time I can remember using a computer was in Grade 5.  Every Friday, our class would go downstairs into the computer lab and we would use a program that I just remember being called Turtle.  A cute little green turtle, navigated around the screen by the commands that we entered.  The turtle would form cool shapes, such as a square or even a star.  I was mesmerized that I could make the turtle move so effortlessly using basic commands.  To this day I remember anxiously waiting for Fridays, so that we could head to the computer lab to perform “magic” with the turtle.

Greetings From The United Arab Emirates


 Hello! I am originally from Montreal, where I taught grade 7-9 Science as well as Biology and Chemistry.

I have been living in the UAE for the last four years. I teach Grade 8 Science for the Abu Dhabi Education Council, I work in a remote desert school were most students do not have internet at home, so that can present some challenges.  Most days are a challenge, but there is never a dull moment and I would not change any of the experiences I have had for anything in the world.  I teach Science in English to students whose first language is Arabic.  This is my LAST class in the MET program (!!!!)  and I am amazed how quickly time has flown, as well as how much I have learned in such a short period of time. I am an avid traveler and I am lucky enough to have been to some amazing places on this beautiful Earth.  My last adventure took me to Phuket, Thailand for a few days and was blown away by its beauty and the kindness of the people. The photo above was taken in Dubai and you can see the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in the background.

I would like to focus in teaching Math and Science as a second language and acquire more tools to help me improve my students success using technology, with the little resources we have.

I am excited to catch up and continue on my MET journey. Can’t wait to connect with you all.