School Based Research Projects - Minarah College

Implementing classroom practices to support girls in co-ed Islamic schools

Each year AISNSW calls for applications for schools to undertake research over a two-year period, with support from The Evidence Institute, academic mentors and critical friends. After completing a rigorous selection process in 2021, Minarah College was awarded a School Based Research Project for their project Implementing classroom practices to support girls in co-educational Islamic schools.

Project Overview

This project stemmed from a perception that girls in Stage 3 are quieter, less demanding of teachers’ time and more cooperative than boys. The project has evolved to focus upon school activities and classroom practices that promote girls’ confidence and aspirations. It will also explore teacher assumptions about differences in behaviour and the positive contributions of Stage 3 boys and girls in an Islamic school context. One of the main goals of the project is to develop a Teacher Resource Kit of digital and web resources to complement a term long Personal Development and Health (PDH) Unit, focusing on the Health, Wellbeing and Lifestyle strand.

The research began with an investigation into the current opinions and perspectives of teachers, parents and students via an anonymous survey. The data collected will inform potential changes in programming and the classroom. Focus groups and workshops will be conducted with parents to discuss the changes being considered.

Marwa Abdallah
Associate Deputy Principal
Shaabreen Shah
Trizzalyn Prasad

Progress to Date

Under the guidance of Dr Parada, the project has successfully narrowed from a large-scale gender inquiry to a more focused investigation into the development of girls’ confidence and their career ambitions.

Obtaining ethics clearance took longer than expected, which delayed aspects of the project. However, the research was also strengthened by the ethics process because it helped to focus the research and the methods being employed.

Positive outcomes are already evident and include:

  • Based on anecdotal teacher observations, female students have been actively engaged and enjoyed a range of new activities introduced as part of the project.
  • Support from the external community has been a particular highlight and it appears that members of both the internal and external school community value the project.
  • The project has already shown promise that it will be able to create constructive change in teaching practices and have a positive impact on teacher engagement in learning and professional learning.
  • It has also been beneficial for the research team to question their assumptions (e.g. by looking for patterns that fit a pre-conception), and then as a group develop future plans and directions.

Where to Next?

The next steps of the project involve:

  • conducting focus groups and workshops with parents
  • preparing specific interventions for classroom practice (scheduled for February 2023)
  • developing and implementing the new Health, Wellbeing and Relationships teaching and learning unit, based on results from the research
  • analysing and evaluating data gathered and outcomes obtained.

In the long term, it is hoped that the project will encourage teachers to be willing to examine themselves and their contributions towards student achievement, or as John Hattie would say, “Know thy impact”.

About Minarah College

Minarah College is a Kindergarten to Year 12 Islamic co-educational school. It was established by the Muslim League of NSW Inc in January 2002. Minarah College was founded for students to acquire knowledge and education of Islamic Ethical Values through a wide range of learning experiences, in a supportive, caring and intellectually stimulating environment. The school motto is that students will seek increased knowledge through faith and prayer.