It was quite windy this week in Gaza. We could see the trees outside the classroom’s window swaying. As always, when we Skype the Arabic Center at the Islamic University of Gaza, we could hear the constant background noise of car horns. This has become a familiar sound, one which we – in Glasgow – have come to associate with our meetings and online work over the last two years.
In the past few weeks, the Arabic Center has been bubbling with activity even more than usual, as the Gaza and Glasgow teams are jointly training 18 new teachers to teach Arabic online. They are all already expert language teachers, but teaching online throws up new challenges, and they need to get used to the ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ reality of online teaching, with the vagaries of screen sharing and of software that plays unexpected tricks. The main lesson we are learning together is how to find the fine balance between using technology as a tool to teach and keeping technology under control. Sometimes our mini-Arabic lessons result in moments of confusion, with much merriment for all involved:
But for the most part we all learn a lot during the training sessions (trainers and trainees) and we could not ask for a more committed, enthusiastic, creative group of teachers!
The trainee teachers will soon teach their first online lesson to the many kind people who volunteered one hour of their time to help. We are sure that learners and teachers will have a great time, and we look forward to getting feedback on the trial lessons.
Teaching online can be tricky but also really rewarding, especially for Gaza’s teachers who are, with few exceptions, denied the opportunity to travel and meet new people, an opportunity that so many, in more ‘lucky’ countries, take for granted. Inshallah, the trial lessons will be the start of some new friendships!
Best of luck with your first lesson, everyone!