Teacher Feature: M. Kamel Igoudjil

A global citizen, that’s what M. Kamel Igoudjil is and what he strives to help his students become.

A native of Algeria, M. Kamel studied in Paris before moving to the United States in 1997. He has been teaching in DC Public Schools (DCPS) for ten years, and he currently teaches English in all four grades at Calvin Coolidge High School. He also manages the school’s Literary Magazine.

M. Kamel met One World Education’s executive director Eric Goldstein several years ago and became one of the first teachers to use One World Education in his classroom. He has implemented the program every year since then with great success. In 2012, he was the first recipient of OWEd’s Global Educator Award.

He likes using the One World Program because, “Writing is a difficult thing to do with students at this particular age.” He finds they are much more successful at learning to write when they can choose their own topic, as they can with OWEd’s program, as opposed to a teacher assigning them a specific topic.  

Before OWEd provided teachers with notebooks containing student essays to teach from, M. Kamel used to take drafts of essays written by students from Africa and have his students look at them to find any errors and draft ways to improve the essay. Then, he’d tell the students, “These students wrote from their perspective, now you write from your own. Show your audience your personal, community-level and global connections.”

Teen pregnancy is a topic more than one of his students has tackled. For example, his student and our 2012 Student Ambassador Ashley Pinkney wrote about her experience becoming a teen mom as a high school senior.  With Syria in headline news lately, he recalls how 2010 Student Ambassador Liyana Ido wrote about her Syrian heritage and how timely her essay is today. He also really liked the way 2009 Student Ambassador Salma Mohamed from Egypt compared Alexandria, Egypt, and Alexandria, Virginia, in her piece.

He sees his students becoming positioned as positive global citizens through their efforts. “While we need to know what’s happening in DC, we also need to know what’s happening outside the city,” he believes. “Learning about different perspective is important to help us be tolerant.”

He also likes that the program can “teach them the habit of the mind” and “how to write in a logical way.” The research and argumentative skills they learn can help them in other subjects and when they take standardized tests. “The skills they learn prepare them to handle any assessments require by the District,” he remarked.

At American University where he teaches graduate courses like “Reading, Writing, and Literature across Curriculum,” he often has DCPS teachers as students. He believes so strongly in OWEd that each year he invites Goldstein to speak to them, and he recommends that teachers consider using the OWEd writing program. Several of his students have become part of the OWEd family as a result.

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