Tag: pedagogy

  • Translingual Approaches in World Language Education: Perspectives from Arabic Learning Contexts

    Translingual Approaches in World Language Education: Perspectives from Arabic Learning Contexts

    A couple of weeks ago, I co-organized a colloquium with Khaled Al Masaeed at the American Association of Applied Linguistics Conference titled “Translingual Approaches in World Language Education: Perspectives from Arabic Learning Contexts”. Although I have attended the AAAL conference most years since 2007, and it is probably my favorite conference, there are usually only 1-3 presentations focused on Arabic. So, to have an entire colloquium focused on Arabic was a dream come true!

  • Does a multidialectal approach mean teaching all of the dialects?

    Does a multidialectal approach mean teaching all of the dialects?

    This is a question I get frequently when I advocate for a multidialectal approach to learning Arabic. The short answer is no.

    The longer answer is also no, but with a much lengthier explanation, which I thought I’d give in this post. In general, there are two types of people who ask this question. The first category is those who want to discredit dialect teaching completely (every village has its own dialect, how can you possibly choose, MSA is the answer). The second category is people who find the idea appealing, but the process confusing (does this mean teaching every word in major dialect groups? Isn’t that a lot to ask of students? How do you do this all in class?) This post is aimed at that second category, as those coming from the first have an ideological perspective I will always be at odds with.

  • Virtual Exchange with the Stevens Initiative COILed Classrooms

    Virtual Exchange with the Stevens Initiative COILed Classrooms

    In addition to all of the other excitement this semester, I’ve also been participating in a virtual exchange program with our fourth semester Arabic class, through the Stevens Initiative Connected Classrooms program. While I’ve done virtual exchange before, it’s generally been pairing my students with individual language partners, rather than a classroom. So, I thought I’d use this post to share my experience with this project.

  • The energy drain of the language enrollments issue

    The energy drain of the language enrollments issue

    In two previous posts, I’ve addressed structural aspects of the language enrollments issue as well as some ideas on what language teachers can control. In this post, I want to address a final aspect of this issue: energy, and the energy-draining nature of being asked to justify a central part of one’s existence.

  • The enrollments issue: What can language teachers do?

    The enrollments issue: What can language teachers do?

    Two weeks ago, I wrote a post on structural aspects of the language issue, and promised a future one on things that I think are within language teacher’s control, and that we can work on. Today, I’m back with that post. I have to admit this one was kind of a struggle, as most of the ideas I think could be effective are still difficult to implement in institutional settings (or at least the ones I’m familiar with). I’ve also divided this up into three parts: ideas I think are terrible, ideas I think could be effective but struggle to implement, and ideas that I think are more likely to be successful (sort of). I guess you can see already what I think about this topic 🥲

  • Structural Aspects of the Language Enrollments Issue

    Structural Aspects of the Language Enrollments Issue

    In response to the problem of declining enrollments in language classes, the message given to teachers is “get your enrollments up!” While this may seem like an obvious solution, it actually creates even more anxiety and frustration as it is a request for overloaded language teachers to take on additional work, in which they have no training, in an environment in which many structural factors are out of their control.

  • What if I’m not organized enough for the Organize Your Language Teacher Life course?

    What if I’m not organized enough for the Organize Your Language Teacher Life course?

    For today’s blog post, as the end of the Fall enrollment for my Organize Your Language Teacher Life course approaches, I thought I’d address a response I hear over and over from language teachers about this course: “It seems like exactly what I need, but I don’t know how I will get organized enough to find the time to take it!”

  • Summer Blog and Podcast Recommendations

    Summer Blog and Podcast Recommendations

    I traditionally take the summer off of blogging, so this is my last post until August! So, I thought I’d provide a roundup of some of my favorite blogs and podcasts for you to consume, as if you enjoy my blog you will probably enjoy some of these as well.

  • Variation and Standardization in the Language Classroom: Are We Asking the Wrong Questions?

    Variation and Standardization in the Language Classroom: Are We Asking the Wrong Questions?

    Variation is inherent to languages and language users, yet is it often the subject of consternation in the language classroom, especially at lower levels. Essentially, the questions center around which variety to teach? Can we teach multiple varieties? Will this confuse students? Will they understand how to use them? What if they mix varieties? Per the request of a colleague, this post discusses the issue of variation and standardization in the language classroom. I suggest that rather than worry about the challenges of variation, we should be questioning practices of standardization and the inequities they reproduce.

  • We Can Learn Arabic Website: Spring Update

    We Can Learn Arabic Website: Spring Update

    Last Fall, I mentioned that my colleagues Heather Sweetser, Abdullah Serag, and I had launched We Can Learn Arabic, an open access website for Arabic learners at beginning and intermediate levels. This is the culmination of six years of moving away from a textbook in our lower level classes, as well as many of the research inspirations I’ve discussed on this blog, including multilingual and genre-based approaches and genre-based approaches. We’ve now been using the website in our classrooms for almost 1.5 semesters, so I thought I’d give an update on how it’s worked, improvements we’ve made, and plans for the future.