Dear Dr. Spilchuk…

May, 2007

My Kids Are Not Happy in Abu Dhabi International School

Dear Dr. Spilchuk,

I am a parent of 2 children and I am searching for a school in Abu Dhabi, grades 5 and 7. I have looked into one school, Rawafed School American system, with 1,400 students. Currently they go to Abu Dhabi International School which we are not happy with at all.

Thank you,

A Concerned Parent

Hello A Concerned Parent,

I am so happy that you have contacted me! Usually ISR advises teachers on international schools, but I believe there is latitude in my work for me to also advise parents about which schools might best suit their particular needs. Can you please tell me what your basic concerns are with the Abu Dhabi International School other than homework? From my experience having worked in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Canada and the South Pacific, I will tell you that this seems to be a parent issue that is particular to specific cultures. For example, parents in the Middle East appear to want more ‘play time’ for their children when they are home after school while, in general, Asian and European parents are happy to have international schools demand high academic expectations for their children – this includes lengthy homework assignments. Cultures are different everywhere. What is consistent, however, is that Western teachers have been taught to have a very high respect for work ethic and are, therefore, very intent upon instilling high productivity work ethic in their students, both in and out of school time. If I have the parameters of what you are looking for, this would help me narrow down my recommendations to you regarding schools in Abu Dhabi that might better meet your family’s needs.

I am forwarding your letter to the editor of ISR with a note to him send me any up-to-date research on the International Schools in the Emirates. In the meantime I recommend you join ISR so you can get this information first hand.

Thank you for contacting us!


Dr. Barbara Spilchuk