Teaching has Started!

In this blog post, a detailed account of developing the course materials as well as teaching it (done in parallel) is provided.

The second stage of the project is adapting Online Arabic from Palestine (OAfP) course to match the language needs of the Scottish educators, Arabic-speaking parents/carers and children. A team of linguists, researchers, and language experts from both Glasgow University and the Islamic University of Gaza have gathered to work on adaptating and developing course materials that better meet the needs of the Scottish context.

We’re making this possible by following a few steps:

1) Creating A Map of Common Expressions

In the first step, a list of expected common expressions that can be used generally and in alignment with Scottish educators’ language needs was written. The agreed list is used as a map throughout the adaptation process. However, it is not strict; it has been further filtered (prioritising and changing expressions) while developing dialogues in each lesson.

2) Discussing the Table of Content

In the second step, the team agreed on the table of content to formulate a bigger picture of what to include in each unit. The course is divided into five units. Each unit consists of two lessons that serve a certain theme, as revealed in the language assessment data analysis. In this sense, these units include the following:

  1. Greetings and hospitality
  2. School Instructions
  3. School requests/ daily routine
  4. Emotion and Wellbeing
  5. Parents Meetings

3) Developing the First Lesson and Discussing Challenges

In the first lesson, we decided to build up on the OAfP course by first following a storyline that links all themes together and second by including similar interactive activities. We discussed what format we want the final materials to be including a variety of options (PowerPoint presentation, interactive PDF, articulate story designed materials). Due to the time limit, we started with the first option, PPT. During the teaching, ideas and challenges were discussed in every meeting to ensure better quality and enjoyment of the learning process, and as a result, improve and change whenever needed in the next lessons as discussed below.

4) Following the Structure of the First lesson as A Template (with major flexibility!)

The first lesson was taken as a pilot. The tasks and the content seemed to be enjoyable and attainable for the learners. So, we kept the same structure in the next lessons. Though flexibility has been the main rule during adapting the materials and teaching it. One of the things that we added in the next lessons was motion-graphic videos for the main and additional dialogues to engage the learners as well as to help them listen to it as many times as they want at their own pace whenever needed. PowerPoint is still the main format (in the second and the third lesson). The PowerPoint for each lesson includes the videos, audio sounds for main vocabulary and instructions, images, as well as interactive tasks.

Positive attitudes are generally shared among the learners towards the materials and the teaching as a whole so far. However, we believe this is a work in progress and we aim to present it in its best form that could be done. The team is working on presenting the materials using Articulate Story for the final version. This will allow learners to access the materials from one place as well as enjoy the simplified and interactive presentation of what they covered/will cover in their future lessons.

Once learners complete half of their journey (i.e., on their fifth lesson) and before they go off to their summer holidays, we will ask them for their feedback to further reflect on the teaching practice as well as better develop the second half of the course materials. So, stay tuned for the coming updates!

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