ARS Insiders: Al Raja School


Education_BH: Innovation and Excellence celebrates the remarkable innovations implemented in Bahrain’s schools and universities. We learned about these innovations, the process, the challenges, and the lessons learned from some of the leading educational institutions in the Kingdom. Read more in our latest issue. 

ARS Insiders is a student-led initiative that started in 2022 and aimed to give students a clear platform to develop their journalism skills, express their creativity, implement their skills, and use them to inform and engage the school community. This initiative includes school news, overviews about the events that have occurred at school, highlights the students’ and alumni’s achievements, sports and art pages, reports of different topics, feature interviews with teachers, and entertainment pages to engage the readers with things to do. The newspaper is led by a Chief Editor, Malak Alsalam, and the work is divided into four groups: reporters, writers, designers, and photographers. The members are from both Middle School and High School, and each group receives a unique task to do, which is assigned by the Chief Editor. The ARS Insiders contributes to the ARS community by updating them about the school events, important issues, as well as providing a space for students to voice out their ideas.

How was the innovation planned?

The initial idea of this innovation came up as a suggestion by Reem Tariq (ARS Alumni 2023), and that was because students wanted to practice their skills, share their perspectives on certain issues, as well as share them with the entire ARS community for them to be recognized. It is also a space for students to be creative, and use their skills to produce an innovation for the entire school to see. A Google Form link was shared with the students of Middle School and High School, and a large number of students showed interest in contributing to this piece. In the form, they are asked to choose what position they want to apply for, and then write a brief statement that includes their strengths and experiences that will help them in their role. Then they are divided into groups depending on their expertise. Afterwards, different tasks are given to each member for them to work on, and then the team meets during recess to discuss the theme of the newspaper, and their expectations when completing their tasks. Finally, all the work is reviewed by the Chief Editor and the teacher coordinator, and then it is all combined to produce a final piece. The tasks are written to each individual in detail, and the form of communication between the team is smooth so that they can reach out for help whenever they need it.

What were the challenges faced during implementation?

Some of the challenges that ARS Insiders faced in the previous years was the lack of interest in this newspaper, which caused the team to be small. However, this year, after seeing how the newspaper developed to be a publication that was successful, and diverse, the number of members has increased. Another challenge is that this initiative is being managed alongside academic and personal commitments.

Give us a brief assessment of your results.

The issues that have been published so far keep getting better every time, and that is because members accept feedback from the administration, teachers, and students, and strive to implement them in the next issue. This feedback is received by email to the Chief Editor and it is valued as it helps the team get insights about the readers’ interests and satisfaction, as well as help the team identify areas of improvement. Another important aspect that has been implemented this year is that the publication has a certain page layout at the top to contain the school logo, the ARS Insiders title, and the school’s 125th-year celebration design. This is to make the newspaper much more appealing, and professional, and for it to match with the theme – the 125th anniversary of Al Raja School. The ARS Insiders initiative enabled the school community to be much more closer, and more involved in the school’s events and activities.

In hindsight, what were the most valuable lessons learned while implementing the innovation? Could things have been done differently?

This response is from the ARS Insiders’ Chief Editor, Malak Alsalam: One of the main lessons that I have learnt as Chief Editor is effective leadership skills, and that is because as a leader, I am required to ensure clear communication between the team members, delegate tasks to each member and give them deadlines, help out with any concerns, and create a supportive environment where all ideas are appreciated and recognized.

Teamwork is also an important aspect when it comes to producing a collaborative piece of work. All the members are comfortable with working with each other and can reach out to the Chief Editor for help in any task. Another lesson learnt from this initiative is time management, as all members must manage their time wisely between their studies, their personal lives, and their newspaper work. Last, but not least, flexibility is essential because it teaches us to easily adapt to sudden changes and unforeseen circumstances. This enables us to be able to come up with creative solutions to adjust to these changes as soon as possible. One of the goals of the ARS Insiders newspaper is to strive towards having team leaders for each of the roles in the newspaper.

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