Trying to walk the streets of Doha

I’m shamelessly copying into this post an OpEd entry I saw on a local news site.  Not only is it nearly impossible to walk around this city, there are times when crossing the street at an intersection is life threatening!

Check this out:   Doha needs to walk first….


Finding my way

Life here since late August has been a series of emotional ups and downs. I’ve struggled personally with leaving Canada, the family friends and neighbours I love.  It tore me apart and I was quite a mess.

Despite all that, I love my job.  I absolutely love my job.  For the first time in years, I am looking forward to going to work every single day.  It fulfills me personally and intellectually.  I have more resources at my disposal than I have ever in my career.  I have a budget to spend that will allow us to have any tool we want given justification.  We have online databases that rival that of many Canadian universities.  Life at work could not be better.  I’ve found my place.  My colleagues work hard and play hard.  We have fun at work every day.  We work to make things better – in all ways possible.  For our students, for our colleagues, for the instructors, for the staff.  I instruct in classrooms and help our students use libraries.  I love it.

But, I was lost.  I moved twice before I arrived at an apartment that ‘worked.’  When I did get to my ‘final’ location, I was in a neighbourhood with no grocery stores within walking distance, the noise of a hospital (it’s ambulances, traffic and helicopters), shoddy construction, hundreds of stray malnourished cats who jumped in and out of filthy garbage bins, and more and more and more. Crazy drivers and streets that were not designed for pedestrians.  Life outside of work was not a picnic.

10588641_10203717845919411_1601353307_n The cute little picture here is no exaggeration.  Now take that picture, with

overpriced SUVs, people honking and thousands of cars grinding through the traffic circle everyday…. less than a hundred meters from my apartment building and you know my frustration!

So, I love my job, but for so many reasons, I’m not liking HERE….

At least, that was my perspective until I worked everything in my head through and made sense of all this and all these feelings.

What I discovered in the end was that I needed a purpose.  Now that I finally was in a job I loved, I had a lot of mental space for other thinking.  And, without a purpose, I went down that negative rabbit hole.

I’m happy to say I’ve come out on the other side.  Whatever I went through helped my find my way and find that purpose.  And, that purpose is to return to the life that inspired me so much – an academic life.  To research, and to publish.  To understand that which frustrates me.  And what frustrates me is the struggle of instructing information literacy skills in this culture, which at its most fundamental level, is the skill of critical thinking.  Those of you with an academic background will recognize ‘Blooms Taxonomy.’  When Boom’s Taxonomy is paired with Information Literacy, it become fascinating for me in this part of the world.  The final piece in the puzzle was this spring’s OECD publication called “Universal Basic Skills: What Countries Stand to Gain.’  DOI:10.1787/9789264234833-en  (click on the link and you can read it online)  This study said everything that had frustrated me here where I live.  Just look at page 39 and see where Qatar ranks compared to Canada.   This study has spurred me forward and has brought me to my purpose and what I will be working on.

The working title of my first study is:

Instructor Perceptions of Information Literacy at CNA-Q : Awareness, Acquisition and Student Achievement

Pending IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval and ethics approval, a survey of instructors will take place in September this year.  Data will be collected and analysed during the fall and hopefully my study will be written up and submitted for peer-review in 2016.  My summer in Canada will be spent completing a literature review and starting the writing process.  My survey instrument needs pre-testing and should be in a final form when I return to Doha in mid-August.  Collection of data is tied to student achievement and Canadian instructors who are instructing in a multi-national, multi-lingual college where students come from a vastly different culture than ‘ours.’

Let the research begin…… 🙂

te little picture here is no exageration.  I am more than happy to let someone sle do the driving here.