Statement of teaching philosophy
I believe that teaching is an art based on communication, passion for one’s subject matter, and interpersonal relations. My teaching practice is a continually-evolving discipline. To address the learning needs, strengths and challenges of my students, I work to effectively scaffold and clearly present lessons that integrate all essential language skill areas. I incorporate best practices in the field, high-interest activities, trends in technology, and pedagogical research. Teaching Arabic: my native tongue, requires me to examine the structure, idioms, nuances and cultural associations of one of the world’s most widely-spoken languages. I strive to impart the richness of the Arabic language to students from varied backgrounds and learning styles.
I'm convinced that patience, humor, respect and accommodation for all types of learners are essential elements in the classroom. Arabic students encounter many challenges: from navigating a new alphabet and production of unfamiliar vocal sounds, to experiencing new cultural, religious and ideological perspectives. I believe it is important to make students feel comfortable and establish a tension-free environment that allows them to ask questions and make mistakes without feeling intimidated. In this atmosphere, it is possible to engage students with a variety of educational strategies. Even with my beginning classes, I focus on an immersion approach by speaking Arabic in class as much as possible so that students become attuned to the nuances of the spoken language. I foster a cooperative learning community by designing many opportunities for paired and small-group class work and extended projects.
Camaraderie and humor are essential elements of my classroom. I believe in the importance of a holistic approach to Arabic instruction; one that not only teaches mechanics and grammatical structures – but also transmits a 'living language' through culture, history, and global perspectives. Thus, I utilize a broad palette of authentic sources including newspapers, social media, Arabic-language authors, films, music, poetry, short stories, field trips, and guest speakers. I keep my students motivated and engaged through use of technology and activities such as podcasting projects, development and performance of skits on videotape, language competitions, Skype interviews of native Arabic speakers, creative writing assignments, Power Point presentations, debates and other approaches.
I am continually observing and refining my teaching practice to best meet the needs of my students, and to address their individual goals for learning the language. I help facilitate student success by holding study sessions, encouraging visits during office hours, maintaining regular e-mail contact, and providing resources for special academic interests such as study abroad, political science, literature, advanced language studies or other endeavors.
My underlying objectives as an Arabic educator are to ensure my students’ strong foundation and growing fluency, build their communication skills, and foster their informed appreciation for the Arabic language and culture. I want my students to become independent learners who can eventually use their own knowledge base in Arabic for whatever purposes they deem important: whether travel, business, diplomacy, journalism, religious practice, connection to cultural heritage or other personal/professional interests. I believe that my creative and thoughtful teaching practice directly impacts my students’ success, as they apply their knowledge of Arabic to the world outside of the higher education environment.
TED Talks in Arabic
Oasis Arabic Radio
Uprising in Tahrir
Square - Book
Uprising in Tahrir
Square - Book
Published Works and