From Opportunity to Action

When I first began working at Qatar Foundation International, I was always told that QFI aims to be a thought leader in the fields of Arabic language and Arab culture education. This aspect of the mission was one of the things that drew me to the organization. Although QFI staff are continuously contributing to the fields of Arabic language and Arab culture education through our programs and resources, I never realized just how much QFI has to offer to these fields before the opportunity to present at a conference on Arabic pedagogy hosted at the American University in Cairo came up. When Programs Officer Kelly Doffing first came across this conference and recommended it to the ALAC team, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn about Arabic pedagogy around the world. However, when we began discussing the idea of presenting and I saw how many of the topics in the call for proposals overlapped with our programs, I was excited at the opportunity to share our knowledge and resources with Arabic educators throughout the world.

img_6706The conference, titled Approaches and Challenges to Arabic Language Pedagogy, focused on best practices for Arabic Education. Teachers and pedagogy specialists traveled from many corners of the world to share teaching tips, content, and best practices. QFI staff were able to present on teacher professional development, education technology tools, as well as online Arabic education. Kelly presented on professional development, discussing techniques and best practices in her presentation titled “The More You Know: Lessons Learned in Conducting Professional Development for Arabic Teachers.” Her presentation, informed by her extensive experience organizing professional development for Arabic educators, highlighted the importance of educator engagement during professional development seminars and workshops and knowing your audience.

Program Officer Craig Cangemi and Rhanda Moussa’s presentation, “Integrating Technology-based Tools into the Arabic Language Classroom” showcased Al Masdar and other education technology tools for Arabic teachers to utilize in their classrooms. This presentation defined what “technology integration” means for Arabic language educators. Rhanda and Craig also provided an overview of online professional development platforms specifically designed for Arabic language educators as well as different tools, websites, and applications that Arabic language educators can use to identify and develop high-quality teaching materials for their classrooms.

 

Finally, Senior Program Associate Connor Seidenschwarz examined the current state of online Arabic education in his presentation entitled, “Arabic Online Learning Resources: What Exists and What is Needed.” In his presentation, Connor discussed gaps in online Arabic.img_2552
education and identified critical needs for the field as it grows and expands. Connor also highlighted quality tools and online platforms for students looking to pursue Arabic education online and for teachers to use in order to further engage students outside of the classroom.

The ALAC team also took full advantage of the bookstore on the American University of Cairo’s campus, which hosts an expansive collection of resources for Arabic language educators. The team brought back a dictionary of idiomatic phrases in FusHa as well as a collection of Egyptian movie posters spanning from the 1940s to present day. These books serve as primary sources for Arabic educators to utilize in the classroom.