by Fauzia Saeed
In today’s educational landscape, inclusive language education has become an imperative. Educational institutions must shift away from the traditional practice of confining Arabic language learning solely to heritage or native speakers. While the intention of preserving cultural and social identity may have been the driving force behind this approach, it is vital to recognize that language learning in our interconnected world serves a much broader purpose. It plays a crucial role in fostering intercultural understanding, facilitating global communication, and creating pathways to educational and professional opportunities. By confining language learning to specific groups, we undermine learners’ ability to engage in cross-cultural communication, limit their exposure to diverse perspectives, and hinder their access to higher education and employment prospects. Such exclusionary practices only serve to perpetuate existing inequalities.
It is essential for Europe to recognize Arabic as a prominent world language in today’s rapidly changing and globalized world. Educational institutions must recognize the significance of inclusive language education, including the learning of languages such as Arabic for individuals from different backgrounds, regardless of their heritage or native language. Institutions must also take active measures to ensure equal educational opportunities for all students. Schools and educational establishments should strive to create an inclusive environment that appreciates and embraces diverse cultures and languages, empowering students to choose the languages they wish to learn.
In acknowledging the value of languages like Arabic in education, we promote diversity, inclusion, and celebrate multiculturalism and multilingualism. It is crucial to establish an educational atmosphere where all languages are equally valued, recognized and acknowledged. Embracing inclusivity allows us to fully harness the potential of Arabic language learning and create a more equitable and enriched society for all. Achieving this goal involves designing inclusive curricula, introducing Arabic instruction as early as the primary level, and offering comprehensive teacher training programs to equip educators with the necessary skills to teach languages effectively. Equitable allocation of resources should be ensured and sustained, and supportive and inclusive learning environments should be created.
By embracing these principles, educational institutions empower individual learners equally to take charge of their own learning journeys, appreciate the diverse world they inhabit, and seize the abundant opportunities available. Such a supportive environment allows students, our future leaders, to broaden their educational and career horizons, enabling them to actively participate in our interconnected global society with an open and unbiased mindset and fostering meaningful engagement.
Fauzia Saeed is the Arabic Language Teacher at Hampstead School in North-West London. She is part of the MFL team and teaches Arabic language courses to KS3 and KS4. Ms. Saeed is a passionate advocate of student-centered teaching approaches. Ms. Saeed believes that education should revolve around the needs, interests and strengths of each student. Her approach has increased students’ motivation, engagement and improved learning outcomes.