After the launch of the Online Arabic from Palestine (OAfP) course, we felt a bit sad. Sure, it was great that the course was finished on time, and that it was now being taught by our colleagues at the Arabic Center, but at the same time this meant that our ‘baby’ had grown up and left home, and now the home felt a bit empty. So, when we were offered a chance to do some more work on the OAfP, we couldn’t believe our luck and we grabbed it with both hands!
Now the joys of Skype communication are back in our weekly agenda, as are the emails that have a mind of their own and self-format in Arabic and English (apparently at random). The sharing of pictures and information on WhatsApp is back, and so is the sending of Facebook messages and emoticons to each other. In short, we’re back to our working closely together through screens of all shapes and sizes, to being colleagues in this ‘bounded’ world of ours that sits at the crossroads of ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ reality. A world that we’d been missing for a couple of months, even though it can sometimes be quite a difficult one.
During this new project we are putting together a teachers’ guide for the Arabic course and training new teachers in the Gaza Strip so that they can teach the course and make the most of our wonderful materials. We will also revamp the course’s website and we plan to do a lot of promotion of the course through holding workshops (in the UK and the Gaza Strip) and an online symposium…
After the celebrations of the last months, which saw the launch of the Online Arabic from Palestine course, and the arrival at the University of Glasgow of twenty Masters’ students from the Islamic University of Gaza, our team has been busy planning future projects (so watch this space!)
Meanwhile our online intercultural community of students and teachers is expanding. A growing number of learners from different countries are enrolling to take the Online Arabic from Palestine course, people with different cultural backgrounds, interests and expectations. This is really motivating for the Arabic Center’s teachers, who are busy developing even more tailored activities to maximise the students’ learning experiences. The teachers use the innovative course that has been developed but are also integrating it with their own ideas and teaching materials, making our great course even more flexible and suitable for all different needs. They are truly dedicated and creative professionals.
There is some trepidation in the air thanks to these online encounters! When enrolling as a language learner into a new course, you might feel excited, curious, hopeful and even, let’s admit it, maybe a little bit worried, or anxious… One of the first questions you ask yourself is who and how the teacher will be. This is always true, but even more so for one to one lessons, where there’s no way for you to hide 😊 The same happens to the language teachers, who, at the beginning of any language course wonder who their new students will be, how the course will go, whether the students will be rather shy or extrovert, whether the lessons that have been planning will meet the needs of the students and so on.
In this short promo video Lubna, Neveen and Jehad, three of the teachers at the Arabic Centre, introduce themselves. You can see their smiles, hear their voices… even before the first lesson! During the course you will get to know them a little bit better, and they will get to know you a little bit too since – remember – the aim of our course is not only to be introduced to Arabic as a foreign language, but also to create connections and get to know each other’s worlds.
If you decide to take the Online Arabic from Palestine course (you know you want to!) remember that you can contact the Arabic Center through our contacts section or directly on the AC’s website!
It’s been a while… The end of the Online Palestinian Arabic project has meant a flurry of end-of-project activities to promote the Online Arabic from Palestine (OAfP) course at the Glasgow end of the screen, and the start of teaching for the Gaza team. A substantial number of people has already made inquiries on the OAfP course, and several learners have already started learning Arabic with our wonderful Gaza colleagues. You can watch here the latest promo video the Gaza team produced, to advertise the OAfP course and all the other Arabic courses they offer, which cater for all abilities and needs.
Meanwhile, a few days ago, at the University of Glasgow we celebrated all the collaborations between our institution and the Islamic University of Gaza. As well as the Online Arabic from Palestine project, which is based in the School of Education, two other important collaborations were also celebrated. One was the EAST project which, for the past four years, has been twinning overseas student-engineers in Glasgow (at UofG School of Modern Languages and Cultures) with engineers in Gaza over five weeks each summer, to discuss authentic engineering issues through the medium of English. The other cause for celebration was the arrival at the University of Glasgow of twenty Master’s students from the Islamic University of Gaza, most of whom managed to miss a lesson (thanks to their very understanding teachers!) to be with us and with their IUG colleagues on the other side of the screen.
The Master’s students are in Glasgow on an Erasmus+ scholarship. Some will stay for the whole academic year, some can only study with us for six months. All tell long stories of hope, uncertainty, happiness and tiring journeys. Sandra White, the Member of the Scottish Parliament who represents the constituency for the University of Glasgow, was with us to celebrate all our great projects and the ongoing partnership between our universities, as were many of the people who have been (and still are) working on both sides of screens – and through screens – to make these projects happen. No wonder there were so many smiley faces! 😊
ps – don’t forget that you can register to learn Arabic with IUG teachers by contacting us through the contact link above or through the Arabic Center. Also, don’t forget to follow the Arabic Center on Facebook and/or Twitter for the latest news!