The Coaches Meeting 2019, TAMAM a Research Lab for Transformational Change in Education

​​​​On June 26, 2019, TAMAM held its 4th Coaching Meeting titled “Leading learning in the TAMAM movement: The Coaches role". The focus in the meeting had been on adopting action research as a tool for more impactful school-based improvement. The main goals of the meeting were to ensure a shared understanding of TAMAM's identity and professional culture and to collaboratively reassert its strategic vision. Another goal of the meeting was motivating coaches to sustain their commitment and drive work forward and to lay the foundation for establishing a network of coaches to exchange experiences.

TAMAM has started as a school-based initiative that combines research with development to bring about and support sustainable school improvement. The word “TAMAM" is an acronym that is consisted of the initials of “school-based reform" in Arabic (al-Tatweer Al-Mustanid ila Al-Madrasa). Initially, TAMAM was initiated in 2007 as part of a memorandum of understanding between the Arab Thought Foundation (ATF) and the American University of Beirut. ATF has provided TAMAM with its long term funding over four phases that expands from 2007 up until 2021. In 2015, TAMAM also secured a grant from Lore Foundation which provided it the opportunity to develop a prototype of the TAMAM professional development program customized to Lebanese public schools in association with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Additionally, it allowed TAMAM to expand to more public schools throughout the country. In 2018, TAMAM received a grant from the Welfare Association (Taawon) to work with an UNRWA School from 2018-2020. Concurrently, the TAMAM network spanned 8 Arab countries compromising of 67 schools, more than 450 practitioners, as well as researchers from twelve different universities, 31 coaches, and policymakers collaborating on designing and implementing impactful school based improvement. The network activities include collaborations with colleagues from schools of education of different universities: The American University of Beirut, the Lebanese University, Queen Rania's Academy, Qatar University, Sultan Qabus University, the American University of Cairo, Asyout University, Princess Noura Bint AbdulRahman University in KSA, Al-Ahfad University for girls in Sudan, Arab Open University in Jordan, University of Idaho, and the University of Virginia. .

One key outcome of these collaborations is the TAMAM leadership capacity building program that consists of a progression of job-embedded learning experiences named “TAMAM School-Based Improvement Journey" as well as a training program to prepare TAMAM coaches. The journey focuses on training teams of teachers and school administrators to identify needs within their home school, devise a plan of action to address these needs, and then implement, monitor, and evaluate this school-based improvement initiative. As for the coaching training, it is based on the TAMAM coaching model that is designed to support educational institutions interested in implementing TAMAM professional development program while concurrently increasing the number of TAMAM coaches. This is done in order to ensure building the coaching capacity needed to sustain the expansion of TAMAM network.

Concurrently, and as part of TAMAM's initiative in combining research and development, the Project Steering Team has maintained focus towards research to develop and expand the grounded theory of initiating school-based reform. Specifically, one area of focus has been on conducting research that informs the design of the capacity building program and understands and examines its impact within the school and the educational community. ​

The three days Coaches Meeting comprised a range of activities that  included a poster session, concurrent sessions for coaches and researchers, and World Café discussion sessions as well as presentations by local and international university professors. Attendees included coaches, university professors, independent researchers, graduate students as well as educators interested in researching the TAMAM's initiative. Throughout action research was introduced as a tool for sustainable and impactful school improvement while highlighting TAMAM's focus on collaborative and emancipatory action research.

On the first day, Dr. Rima Karami presented TAMAM as a “research lab" aiming at generating an understanding of impactful school based improvement. She further highlighted the three dimensions TAMAM targets to achieve transformational change at:  the educational practitioner, the professional development program, and the organizational structure. During the poster session, coaches shared their coaching experiences with the different schools and exchanged expertise with the attendees. The day concluded with a closed discussion session where TAMAM coaches reflected on TAMAM'S strategic goals and suggested activities to achieve them.

The second day opened with Dr. Coby Meyers, Dr. Suzanne Bourjeili, and Dr. Rima Karami presenting action research as an effective tool for school improvement and for building knowledge on school improvement especially within the context of our Arab region. This was followed by parallel sessions focusing on research and coaching respectively. During the research session, TAMAM team extended a call for collaboration to colleagues, graduate students and interested independent researchers to examine the TAMAM experience and extract lessons to be shared with the larger educational community.  

On the last day of the Coaches Meeting, participants discussed the means for sustaining TAMAM as an educational movement and enhancing its impact. The attendees (coaches and visitors) were invited to practice how to advocate for TAMAM and offered suggestions on how to enhance its visibility. The Coaches Meeting concluded with participants sharing their appreciation with the Steering Team and expressing their renewed commitment to TAMAM educational movement's vision.