On August 19th and 20th, I had the opportunity to attend the 6th Annual Islamic Schools Conference in Melbourne, Australia, organized by Centre for Islamic Thought and Education (CITE). The theme of the conference was ‘Āfiyah (Well-Being), and over 350 educators, academics, leaders and other professionals participated, and several presented their experiences and insights through various workshops and keynote speeches. The contents of this two-day conference can be downloaded here.
I had the opportunity to also present my paper titled: Muslim Teachers’ Perceptions of Tarbiyah and its Implications on ‘Āfīyah
The abstract of the paper is as follows:
In recent times, there has been an increasing call for teachers to embrace a comprehensive and holistic approach to education, one that not only imparts knowledge but also fosters the transformation and well-being of students. Muslim teachers have been at the forefront of this movement, citing the Islamic concept of tarbiyah as a guiding principle to meet this demand. However, a coherent and consistent understanding of tarbiyah’s essence and its practical application across diverse regions, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds remains elusive. This research delves into the perceptions of tarbiyah among Muslim educators in various regions, including Britain, Zanzibar, Pakistan, and Malaysia, demonstrating how professional working contexts intertwine with teachers’ subjective educational theories and produce a range of understandings on tarbiyah. In addition, we explore the impact of these differing teacher perceptions on the concept of ‘āfīyah (well-being) and its relationship with related notions like siḥḥa (healthy), salāmah (intactness), najāt (safety), and ṭahārah (purification) in the greater context of schools and classrooms.
Some of the workshops I personally attended were:
- Dr. Marini Kasim and Mohammad Aizat Mohammad Akram – Teachers’ Digital Resilience: The Role of Protective Factors towards Teachers’ Psychological Wellbeing.
- Mr. Waseem Hassoneh and Ms. Susan Scott – Thriving Together: Cultivating a Culture of Wellbeing.
- Ms. Mariam Bernard & Ms. Zaynab Salim – Thriving together: Cultivating Holistic Wellbeing in Learners, Educators and Communities.
- Ms. Thamina Kassar, Mr. Billal Khoder and Ms. Samara Jalloul – Refining Behaviour Policies and Embracing Islamic Pedagogy: Fostering Islamic Wellbeing in a Caring and Inclusive School Environment
- Ms. Gulhan Yoldas – Islamic Storytime – Wellness Through Connection.
A lot of great points and several great insights were shared during these workshops. In addition, some important contacts were made via networking with Muslim professionals from various different schools and countries.
Sayyid Ali studied in the seminary of Qom from 2012 to 2021, while also concurrently obtaining a M.A in Islamic Studies from the Islamic College of London in 2018. In the seminary he engaged in the study of legal theory, jurisprudence and philosophy, eventually attending the advanced kharij of Usul and Fiqh in 2018. He is currently completing his Masters of Education at the University of Toronto and is the head of a private faith-based school in Toronto, as well as an instructor at the Mizan Institute and Mufid Seminary.