In the past few days and weeks, we have been doing a lot of thinking, discussing, bouncing ideas to and from computer screens in Gaza and Glasgow, getting into the details of how our Online Palestinian Arabic course for beginners will look. We have turned to the work of Martha Nussbaum and her central capabilities list to help us design our broad content. In particular, in thinking of language at a beginner’s level, we have chosen the capabilities of Affiliation, Emotions and Senses, Imagination and Thought.
The capability of Affiliation includes being able to live with and toward others, to respect and show concern for other human beings wherever they are, to engage in social interaction, and to be able to imagine the situation of another and our interconnectedness. This will include the language to relate to others; to show interest and concern for others’ wellbeing; to get to know each other’s contexts, and all that we share.
The capability of Emotions includes caring for others, loving, grieving, expressing gratitude, longing and justified anger. This will include the language to ask and talk about feelings, about likes and dislikes, about injustice, and about hope. It will also include the language to talk about the people and the things we care about: family, friends (including pets), home.
The capability of Senses, Imagination and Thought comprises the use of imagination to produce work and events and the use of senses to imagine, think and reason. We hope that this will allow us to include in the course the language for making things together (i.e. cooking, simple crafts), as well as the language to talk about hopes and memories, and the language of songs and poetry.
All the above will be immersed as much as possible in the context of Palestinian daily life, and will take into consideration the online environment, with all its opportunities and challenges.
At the moment, this is what our (mind) map looks like. It is, however, a work in progress and it may look quite different a few weeks from now, as we deal with practicalities and as we compare experience, knowledge and expectations
We know we are being ambitious, but this is why we started this journey: to produce a course which does not simply teach transactional language, the language to buy and sell and to ‘get stuff’, but also to know each other and each other’s contexts, to establish a stimulating learning space, and to have fun together.
By accessing the ‘Contact Us’ tab you can send us an email. Please, do write to us if you have any questions or need clarifications; if you have any (constructive) criticism or suggestions to offer, or just wish to get in touch. We will be very happy to hear from you!