Fundamental to our mission at QFI is supporting teacher trainings and professional development opportunities for Arabic language and culture teachers. During the first quarter of 2020, we have had a number of virtual and in-person trainings in collaboration with partner schools and institutions, as well as through our Arabic Teacher Councils across the United States. We’re excited to share a few highlights from these events below where we continue to advance and facilitate peer learning amongst educators.
Arabic Language Teacher Trainings
Arabic Immersion Teacher Workshop at AIMS
This January, QFI hosted an immersion professional development training at the Arabic Immersion Magnet School (AIMS) in Houston, Texas, the nation’s first public Arabic immersion school. The training focused on Communicative Arabic in the Immersion Classroom, with QFI Program Officer Omar Tarabishi and Program Associate Cierra De Palmo on the ground at the event. It was a unique opportunity for the 19 Arabic language immersion teachers in attendance to exchange best practices, observe classes, and participate in a workshop led by Dr. Mahmoud Al Batal. We are also excited that AIMS has experienced incredible growth in the 2019-2020 school year. The school moved into a renovated campus with space for up to the 8th grade, added a 4th grade class, and added an additional pre-kindergarten section. Mabrouk AIMS!
Washington DC Arabic Teacher Council Workshop
In February, the Washington DC Arabic Teacher Council organized its second professional development event entitled “Project-Based Learning: A Workshop for Arabic Educators” at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. The training was led by Layali Eshqaidef, founder of Kalimah Programs for Arabic Language, Culture, and Arts. Seventeen Arabic language educators were in attendance with experiences at all language levels in the primary, secondary, and university setting. Teachers had a chance to simulate project-based learning in small groups and present their final products to the group. All three projects required participants to find creative solutions to a given problem, work in collaboration with peers, and consider the perspectives of others. It was an excellent exercise that showed the value of project-based learning to encourage higher-order thinking in the language classroom.
Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP) hosted a webinar in February with a cohort of 20 teachers in attendance from primary, secondary, and college-level institutions. The 2019-2020 workshop series theme was Intercultural Communicative Competence: Linking Language and Culture. This virtual workshop provides resources for teachers to prepare students to communicate successfully in Arabic with particular attention to knowing how, when, and what to say what to whom and why. Participants had the opportunity to analyze examples of intercultural communicative competence and create a thematic unit and sample lesson plans that meaningfully integrate key concepts. The next webinar will be hosted on April 8.
Arab Societies and Culture Teacher Trainings
Teacher Leadership Workshop<—Geography of the Middle East
In partnership with the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Middle East Studies, we kicked off our 2020-2021 Teacher Leadership Program in January with a three-day workshop focused on the geography of the Middle East. The newest cohort of the Teacher Leadership Program explored topics including demographics, urbanization, natural resources, and the environment, among others. Twenty-one primary and secondary educators from 13 states across the United States were in attendance. The workshop was led by Dr. Mona Atia, Associate Professor of Geography and International Affairs & Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University. The teachers concluded the workshop by working together to develop lessons and curriculum units on the topics learned.