Elective Courses

​Elective Courses

1.  Environmental Education

The aim of the course is to enable Course Participants (CPs) to develop an understanding of the goals, scope and practices of environmental education, in order to help and guide students to take care of the Earth - our home. 

Teachers and teacher educators are strategically placed to provide awareness, knowledge, skills and values that enable individuals to pursue life goals in a sustainable manner. One of the ultimate goals of environmental education is to form an environmentally literate citizenry who can actively participate in solving environmental problems in the schools and society.

This elective course will help CPs to understand their roles in educating students and colleagues about conservation, sustainable development and issues related to the environment they live in and the role they can play together in creating a sustainable environment for all. 

They will have the opportunity to contribute towards sustainable development through greening the environment and infusing environment education in teaching, learning, curriculum and assessments.

The content of the course will focus on the following six themes:

  • Definition and scope of environmental education.
  • The natural and social environment: a complex relationship.
  • Human impact on environment: global environmental issues.
  • Sustainable development.
  • Environmental education: approaches and strategies.
  • Environmental management practices.

The CPs will be assessed on their conservation projects in school, infusion of environment education into their teaching plans/practices, and analysis of curriculum and textbooks for environmental education and sustainable development. They will have the opportunity to visit environment centres, institutes and conservation projects such as WWF Wetland Centre, Mangroves forest and community conservation projects to gain real life experiences of environmental education, management and conservation practices. 

2. Inclusive Education

The course aims to enable CPs to explore issues in the education of children with special needs from the following perspectives:

  • The development and abilities of the child.
  • The practical approaches a teacher can use in the classroom.
  • The (micro) political climate that helps or hinders the inclusion process.

By the end of the course CPs will be able to:

  • Discuss the need of an inclusive education system in their context, in view of the historical trends in the education of children with special needs.
  • Explain how typical child development progresses and how special needs can be understood from a developmental perspective.
  • Distinguish and describe at least three types of special needs.
  • Assess children’s needs and prepare an Individual Education plan, based on an enhanced understanding of assessment issues and how they affect children with special needs.
  • Modify the classroom environment, learning materials and teaching strategies in order to teach children with special needs.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to make inclusive education possible, based on an understanding of the socio-political aspects of inclusive education within the school and the community.

The course is divided into six units:

  • Viewpoints and approaches to the education of children with special needs.
  • An overview of child development.
  • An introduction to special needs.
  • Assessing children with special needs.
  • Curriculum adaptations and teaching strategies.
  • Collaboration and teamwork for school improvement.

3. Introduction to Histories and Cultures of Muslim Societies

The course aims at increasing CPs’ appreciation of the socio-cultural mosaic of Muslim societies by understanding Muslims’ contribution to the knowledge of and education for human civilisation. 

The CPs will be exposed to the knowledge base of the cultural and intellectual expressions manifest within Muslim societies in particular. The subsequent aim of the course is to encourage CPs to work towards enriching the Islamiat and Social Studies school curricula.

The course is divided into four themes:

Theme 1: Muslim Societies - Past and Present

This theme will introduce CPs to the historical evolution of Muslim societies. Starting with the spread of Islam in different geographic and cultural contexts, passing through the cultural permeation and interaction in the making of Muslim societies, the theme will end with the geo-political realities of what constitute Muslim societies today.

Theme 2: Knowledge and Learning in Muslim Societies

Theme 2 will explore the notion of knowledge and the process(es) of learning in the context of Muslim societies. Through tracing the intellectual traditions that emerged as the societies evolved, this theme will highlight the contributions of Muslim thinkers to the body of universal knowledge. Moreover, the historic role of Madrassah as an educational institution in the context of Muslim societies will also be discussed. The theme will end with a critical analysis of the concepts of knowledge and learning in today’s Muslim societies.

Theme 3: The Quest for Spirituality: Sufis and Sufism

This theme will explore the development of Sufism in the Muslim histories and societies. CPs will be exposed to history and doctrines of Sufism permeated through the history. 

The CPs will have an opportunity to study this phenomenon as an integral part of Muslim history and its contribution to both the development of Muslim societies and as an alternate way of looking into Muslim spirituality within the large quest of people for inner satisfaction and spiritual enlightenment. The topics covered under this theme include the following:

  • Emergence of Sufism in Muslim societies.
  • Sufism and its doctrines.
  • Focus on key Sufis and their doctrines: Rabi’a Basri, Mawlana Rumi, Fariduddin Attar, Muhiuddin Ibn Arabi, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai; Shah Baz Qalandar.
  • Role of Sufism in Muslim societies and debates about its impact.

Theme 4: Contemporary Issues facing Muslim Societies  

Muslims, as much as other faith-based societies, face multifarious challenges of how to keep their faith alive while benefiting from the technological and industrial productions mainly coming from outside Muslim societies. 

Though Muslims claim that they have all the answers from their faith, but practical realties seem to be different. Particularly acute are the issues of modernity and Islamic Sharia laws that many Muslim societies have to balance. The issues of women, for example, have been haunting Muslims around the world reacting both Muslim women and activists protesting the way many Muslim societies treat women under or in the name of “Islamic culture” or “values.” Some of the key issues that will be taken up for discussion would include:

  • Islam and Modernity (socio-political);
  • Quest for Muslim identity (socio-religious); and
  • Responses to modernity (socio-political).

These key themes will hopefully give students an avenue to explore different cultural and civilisation past of the Muslims and how they can engage with the problems of and challenges of their own times and places. It may be noted that the study takes a more cultural and sociological stance than a theological one to study these themes.

4. Gender in Education

The aim of this course is two-fold; it helps CPs develop an awareness of gender concerns in education (local, national and international) and facilitates them developing their ability to take action in classrooms and schools to address gender concerns locally.

The course comprises two major themes:

  • Theoretical understanding of gender, and gender perspectives, gender issues in educational policies and practice; and
  • Developing skills of observation, analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation of a gender based intervention (e.g. classroom teaching, teachers’ professional development, awareness raising, policy review).

Teaching and learning in the course is participatory and interactive. Major pedagogical strategies include whole class and group discussion, role plays, debating and critiquing gender issues raised in case studies and articles, field visits, presentations by the facilitators and participants.

5. Policy Studies for Education

The course aims to develop knowledge of policy processes and the politics that surround educational policy decisions. The course highlights the issues that have an influence on specifying and achieving educational policy objectives. The implications of policy decisions for educational processes at various levels will also be explored. Various levels of policy (global, national, local) will be considered for understanding policy production and implementation.

The course is designed for a variety of people responsible for educational governance in various capacities from ministerial level down to system governors and principals. The participants will be introduced to the idea of ‘governing’ education through policy. Through various course assignments including policy proposals and policy projects participants will be encouraged to adopt an attitude of evidence-based policy decisions.

The participants will be able to:

  • Gain theoretical insights into policy field.
  • Understand the ‘policy trajectory’ from problem identification, to policy formulation, implementation and evaluation.
  • Distinguish between ‘analysis of policy’ and ‘analysis for policy’ and to see their implications for practice.
  • Conduct Policy analysis and design policy research.
  • Identify and overcome implementation deficiencies.
  • Communicate policy messages and engage in policy advocacy.

6. Health Promotion in Schools

The overall aim of the course is to enable CPs to promote health through schools as a key determinant of quality education and a vehicle to school improvement. Through full and active participation in the course, participants will be able to:

  • Explore key definitions around health promotion through schools.
  • Critically examine the international, national and local responses to major development issues relating to health and education.
  • Critically analyze traditional health beliefs and practices in their own contexts and their own attitude towards health promotion in schools.
  • Determine the implications for curriculum planning and content selection of using a broader definition of health.
  • Practice the Child-to-Child approach as a child-centred methodology that links the learning place (school) with the living place (home and community) in a specific Health Action School (HAS).
  • Identify teacher education needs in a specific Health Action School (HAS) and based on identified needs, plan and execute teacher education activities to support these needs.
  • Examine case studies of health action programmes in Pakistan or other parts of the developing world.
  • Identify ways of monitoring and evaluating school health programmes.
  • Reflect on issues arising from their work in a health promoting school and the possible relevance to their own school/other programmes.
  • Prepare concrete action plans for health promotion in their own school.
  • Design, use and examine the use of selected technologies for school health promotion.

The course in “Health Promotion in Schools” comprises five main themes. Child rights will be embedded in all the themes.

Theme 1: Health Promotion - an introduction to key concepts and terms.

Theme 2: Health Education in development contexts - Link between Health and Education. 

Theme 3: Health Education and School Quality - Effective planning for health promotion in schools. 

Theme 4: Ideas into Action. 

Theme 5: ICT in school health promotion. 

7. Pedagogical Leadership

The aim of this course is to develop critical understanding of the CPs about pedagogical leadership. The course will enable CPs to become leaders of teaching and learning in their schools. CPs will gain deeper understandings of school leadership dynamics and will be encouraged to acquire pedagogical leadership knowledge, skills, values and attitudes with specific focus on building schools as learning communities through the capacity building of all concerned.

As a result of going through this course CPs will be able to:

  • Critically analyse the current literature on leadership focussing specifically on pedagogical leadership, its ideals, practices and policies.
  • Develop pedagogical leadership knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes to foster a culture of pedagogical leadership in schools, systems and districts.
  • Understand the role of pedagogical leadership in quality teaching and learning for school improvement.
  • Enhance their personal and interpersonal skills to help others become leaders in school improvement.
  • Enable them to appreciate the role of pedagogical leadership in developing schools as learning communities/organisations.

There will be four overarching themes that will cover this course: 

Theme 1:

  • Context of pedagogical leadership
  • Concept of leadership
  • Leadership theories
  • Models of leadership

Theme 2:

  • What is pedagogical leadership?
  • How is it different from other models?
  • Description of pedagogical leadership.
  • Focus on capacity building, and social capital.

Theme 3:

  • Capacity building of managers.
  • Capacity building of teachers.
  • Developing social capital for, and enhancement of learning for students.
  • Capacity building of parents and communities.

Theme 4:

  • Implications and applications of pedagogical leadership at systemic level including during normal and difficult times (e.g. emergencies and disasters)
  • Developing a framework of professional development programmes for capacity building of different stakeholders.
  • Use of data in assessing and building capacity at large-scale level – system, district, provincial and federal, by using, for example, technology (like MIS, GIS, Project management)
  • Constructing a policy framework for promoting learning and building capacities.

8. Gender Discourse in Educational Leadership

The course aims at creating deeper critical awareness about the way gender plays a role in enacting leadership practices. Given a large number of women now in leadership positions, the course will provide an avenue for them to study how gender plays and to what extent it plays a distinctive role in their outlook and practices and styles and the  implications it lead to.  

By the end of the course, it is expected that the CPs will be able to:

  • Situate the course in the overall context of gender and how it plays a role in the enactment of leadership practices.
  • Critically study the leadership styles of male and female leaders and their implication on leadership development and study.
  • Demonstrate a discerning understanding of the way gender is understood and reflected in the literature on leadership.
  • Help lessen gender prejudices through their sensitization to the way both sexes can play demonstrable leadership qualities in schools and educational organizations.
  • Encourage their curiosity to undertake studies in this crucial area to help generate more evidence-based data for informed judgments in the area of leadership.

9. Moral Education

At AKU-IED there have been concerted efforts and emphases on developing teachers as professionals. We would like to complement these efforts by adding a discourse on “Teachers as Ethical Practitioners.” Hence, emphasizing the moral domain. 

However, there is seldom any emphasis on the role of the ethical or moral knowledge that teachers use to inform their practice or teaching and upon which they base their professional moral judgement and reasoning to guide each other and their students. What this course intends to offer is a critical reflection on the moral context of classroom life and teachers’ relationship with their students, with each other, and with the policy makers. It will be a practical, challenging and provocative course.

It will take into account personal/ professional case studies on how teachers face moral dilemmas, how they reach good ethical decisions, how they struggle and take challenges or fall ethically short in taking the right course of action. It will offer the kind of choice and their availability that would allow teachers to take or not to take a moral action. It would make them question their own moral consciousness in a system that is ethical or unethical, how they adjust, adapt or challenge the system.

The course will facilitate course participants to:

  • Develop and demonstrate themselves as caring and courageous educators.
  • Reflect moral reasoning, judgement and actions in their teaching.
  • Nurture the school as a moral ‘nursery’ for learners.
  • Aspire for ideals of truth, justice and care so as to conduct their beings in school and the world.
  • Develop a repertoire of select instructional strategies to educate students’ moral understanding.

10. Ethics in Education

Teaching and learning is as much an academic activity as it is a moral undertaking. Classroom teachers, school heads and education officials make decisions that involve moral dilemmas because of the far-reaching impacts their decisions may have on the present and future lives of faculty, staff, support personnel and students. 

The impact of these decisions also encompasses communities through school-home connection.  The aim of this course is to increase the awareness of educationists about the implications of these ethical dilemmas for the whole process of teaching and learning in order to look for workable resolutions. 

After this course CPs should be able to:

  • Recognize the sources of ethical dilemmas in their daily practices. 
  • Define acceptable/ unacceptable behaviours at schools/ workplace.
  • Establish a framework for professional behaviours and responsibilities.
  • Find out workable resolutions that are ethically sound.
  • Create awareness among students about ethically unacceptable behaviors.​