Western pedagogical practices have become increasingly common in Qatar with the emergence of numerous international institutions. Educational researchers continue to identify adaptive strategies for successful implementation of these pedagogical practices in high context cultures to maximise students’ learning outcomes in preparation for future challenges they may face in a knowledge-based society (Prowse & Goddard, 2010). However, for the pedagogical approaches to be suitable, they need to be both culturally attuned and culturally accepted (Ellis, 1996). The present study describes the development and use of a widely practiced student-centred approach for the first time in Qatar's secondary classrooms.

The study is contextualised in Year 10 chemistry classrooms at four Arabic independent schools for boys and girls in the state of Qatar where student-centred inquiry-based instruction known as Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) has been implemented. In a POGIL classroom, learners as self-managed teams utilising group-roles work on highly structured inquiry activities designed to help them construct their own knowledge (Moog & Spencer, 2008). The teacher acts as a facilitator encouraging students to take ownership of their learning. Several studies have examined the effectiveness of POGIL and reported significant improvement in students’ learning outcomes and their perceptions of learning (Brown, 2010; Geiger, 2010; De Gale & Boisselle, 2015). Contrary to this, there has been little or no evidence in support of making POGIL a culturally relevant pedagogy.

A curriculum framework: intended, implemented, perceived, and achieved curriculum adapted by Treagust (1986) from previous research was used to examine the organisation and implementation of POGIL intervention over two semesters. Subsequently, as shown in Fig. 1, the cultural relevance of POGIL implementation was evaluated in terms of:

(i) the intended curriculum – the way year 10 chemistry was presented based on the curriculum outlined by Supreme Education Council's (SEC)

(ii) the implemented curriculum – the manner in which POGIL philosophy is infused into classroom instruction, and aligned with the recommended curriculum standards

(iii) the perceived curriculum – teachers’ perceptions of using POGIL materials and approach

(iv) the achieved curriculum – the resulting learning outcomes of the students

FIGURE (See supplementary file)

This presentation shares the results of the intended, implemented and perceived curriculum and discusses the strategies followed toward shaping a culturally relevant POGIL. In this paper we focus on the intended and the implemented curriculum.

First, the researchers had analysed Year 10 chemistry content as described in the curriculum documents of SEC and identified suitable topics for POGIL implementation following the recommendation of SEC. A total of twenty POGIL lessons (ten lessons per semester) encompassing respective SEC's curriculum standards were prepared by the research team which were further reviewed and moderated by experienced chemistry faculty who had successfully implemented POGIL at various tertiary institutions in Australia and Qatar. The authors have taken great care to incorporate examples relevant to the local context. The moderated POGIL materials were then translated into Arabic. The teachers (n?4) from four participating schools were invited to review the translations for consistency in the use of language.

Secondly, half-day workshop on introduction to POGIL was organised prior to the commencement of every semester, to familiarise teachers with the intervention. The researchers, with the assistance of Arabic speaking research assistants, visited the schools and observed teachers’ implementation of POGIL. At the end of every POGIL lesson, the researchers shared their observation notes with the teachers and offered feedback on their implementation of POGIL. Teachers’ perceptions of teaching and learning in POGIL classes were obtained through semi-structured interviews. Sharing her observation of students’ involvement in POGIL classes, a female teacher said:

“I think the first and last barrier we faced is the psychological one that the [students] weren't able to believe that we finished the lesson; they want me to stand next to the board and talk ……”

Students’ collectivist (Hofstede, 1980) culture (a dimension in high context cultures) is evident from the following observation notes:

“In one of the groups, one student is working ahead and her group tells her to slow down and work with them. Some groups that are confused just stop and wait for the teacher and they are not really trying to figure it out on their own”

The above examples support the view that pedagogical practices need to be filtered (Prowse & Goddard, 2010) to suit the local cultural contexts and the study followed a systematic approach in the planning, development and use of POGIL materials to enhance science teaching and learning at secondary levels.

The curriculum evaluation framework utilised in this study had served as a vehicle for the congruence of POGIL into Qatar's secondary science classrooms which was effectively mediated by a network of POGIL practitioners, education researchers, and local teachers. Further, the scope of the project could be extended to include achieved curriculum in order to explore students’ conceptual understanding and their perception of learning in POGIL classes.


Brown, S. D. (2010). A process-oriented guided inquiry approach to teaching medicinal chemistry. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74(7), 121.

De Gale, S., & Boisselle, L. (2015). The effect of POGIL on academic performance and academic confidence. Science Education International, 26(1), 56–61.

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Geiger, M. (2010). Implementing POGIL in allied health chemistry courses: Insights from process education. International Journal of Process Education, 2(1), 19–34.

Hofstede, G. (1980). Motivation, leadership, and organization: Do American theories apply abroad? Organizational Dynamics, 9(1), 42–63.

Moog, R. S., & Spencer, J. N. (2008). POGIL: An overview. In R. S. Moog & J. N. Spencer (Eds.), ACS Symposium Series 994: Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (pp. 1–13). Washington, DC: American Chemical Society.

Prowse, J., & Goddard, J. T. (2010). Teaching across cultures: Canada and Qatar. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 40(1), 31–52.

Treagust, D. F. (1986). Exemplary practice in high school biology classes. In K. Tobin & B. J. Fraser (Eds.), Exemplary Practice in Science and Mathematics Education (pp. 29–44). Perth, Australia: Key Centre for School Science and Mathematics, Curtin University of Technology.


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