Training Kuwaiti Teachers to Lead: A Case Study of Competitive Debate at the Basic Education College

Reem Al-Rubaie


This paper presents a case study of a competitive debate program designed for teachers-in-training at the Basic Education College in Kuwait. Stakeholders at different levels have expressed an interest in introducing more constructivist-based pedagogies into the Kuwaiti national education system, but institutional and ideological challenges have hindered implementation. Teachers at the college designed and implemented a debate program based on constructivist principles of authenticity, student meaning-making, collaboration, and high performance expectations. Survey data suggest that participants experienced debate as a transformative experience, changing their perception of themselves, of the world, and of their ability to effect change in it. Participants came to imagine themselves as future system leaders preparing future generations with higher-order skills involving complex solving, which an increasingly complex social reality demanded. From 2015 to 2018, a group of professors formed debate teams at the Kuwait University National English Debate League. This endeavour formed the empirical research presented here as evidence to support a move from instructivist teaching to constructivist learning for future teachers in Kuwait.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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