A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in the Arabic teacher workshop at Concordia Language Villages. I have to say, one of the best things about it was the FOOD!! Yum! We were treated to all sorts of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. I would have made the trip to Minnesota for the food alone!
Of course, my real reason for attending was to learn things that could make me a better Arabic teacher. The sessions focused on using the target language in the classroom. We talked about how to make a conscious decision about when to use English. I am one of those people who feels guilty every time I use English in the classroom, or write an activity that uses English in the curriculum I am developing. I came to the realization that if I use English just because it’s easier, or just because I didn’t plan well, then maybe I should feel guilty. But when I am using English for a specific reason, and it is something that would be less effective in Arabic, I don’t need to feel guilty.
We talked about ways to keep the English out of the classroom, like assigning cultural reading materials or videos in English as homework, and then discussing them in Arabic the next day. Annie Hasan shared some fun classroom strategies for staying in the target language. If you missed it, don’t worry, because Annie and I are presenting a session at ACTFL in November, and we will share all of those ideas, plus a whole lot more.
Of course, the best part about attending an Arabic teachers’ workshop is the Arabic teachers! It was great to see old friends and meet new ones. Everyone has such great ideas and interesting experiences. It really helped put that spark of enthusiasm back after a long winter!
If you have a chance to attend an Arabic teachers’ workshop in the future, I would highly recommend it!
Written by one of QFI’s teachers, Tina Cannon, Arabic Curriculum Specialist, Global Language Project