Jamaican Science Educator Takes Skills to Abu Dhabi

Dr. Kenisha Wilson, Jamaican in Abu Dhabi

Jamaica’s Dr. Kenisha Wilson’s passion for science education has taken her to Zayed University in Abu Dhabi as assistant professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. Dr. Wilson had to get used to a work-week that runs from Sunday through Thursday and a few other cultural matters, but says her adjustment to the country was otherwise uneventful. She said that she learned to be aware of the customs and then acted accordingly. For example, when she tried to take a eat in the back of a bus, she was told that area was reserved for men and that women sat in the front three rows. Dr. Wilson spent three years as chemistry lecturer at the University of Technology (Utech) and then applied for the position in Abu Dhabi. Her move has changed her approach to teaching and sparked a new research interest. Working in the Middle East meant that she was teaching Arabic English language learners (AELLs) and students were being taught in a language they were still trying to learn. Her experiences with different teaching approaches lead her to conduct research and publish about “the paucity in regards to effective teaching strategies for AELLs in the field of science education.” She is looking for ways to change the way science education is approached at the college level, particularly for students learning the English language. A graduate of Titchfield High School, Dr. Wilson credits her chemistry teacher for initiating her enthusiasm and love for science. She also praises her mother who consistently told her during her childhood in Portland that getting an education would allow her to do anything she wanted to do in her life.

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Xavier Murphy