Teaching the Arabic Language at AIA
At our elementary school, the methods of teaching the Arabic language vary across the school. Instruction at kindergarten is bilingual, which means that students learn Arabic in parallel with English throughout their units of inquiry. There are two tracks in the elementary school. Arabic is the main language of instruction in the Arabic track, whereas it is taught as a second language in the English track. Students are grouped according to their abilities and language needs, where individual differences are taken into consideration. This approach allows students to learn and reach their learning goals.
In both tracks, we rely on advanced Arabic language standards and objectives to enhance and improve students’ basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and presentation. We have also substantiated that these standards and objectives are compatible and integrable with the IB standards that stimulate research, inquiry, and critical thinking through reflection and creativity, which in turn contribute to the demonstration of learner’s profile attributes: Responsible, open-minded, thinker, caring, knowledgeable, courageous, communicator, balanced and principled. At the same time, we provide our students with many digital books through Arabic language platforms such as ‘I read Arabic,’ ‘Kam Kalema,’ and many more. Moreover, the school library provides a variety of books and resources, which helps deepen the students’ understanding of the Arabic language and culture, aids in boosting their confidence, ease their integration with others, and builds their international-mindedness. We also believe that the Arabic language plays a vital role in creating students’ identities and helps to enrich their body of knowledge. For those reasons, the Arabic Language Department, in the Secondary School, works on developing and strengthening students’ Arabic language, upon assessment, the students are divided into two groups:
- Language and Literature
- Language acquisition
The students are placed in each group and the corresponding class based on a diagnostic test that is taken at the beginning of every academic year. The diagnostic test assesses the student’s reading, comprehension, speaking, listening, and writing skills.
In the Language acquisition and the Language and Literature classes, students learn in accordance with their needs, over five periods a week.
During the Language and Literature lessons, the students are introduced to different texts (original and translated Arabic), such as the short story, novel, tales, and biographies, to enrich their Arabic language knowledge and diversify their sources of learning. Also, the programs are structured to improve the student’s reading, comprehension, speaking, listening, and writing skills through learning units that explore educational, economic, and social topics. Moreover, the use of Arabic language conventions and rules is emphasized and implemented in both speaking and writing. The school library is rich with a multitude of resources that are utilized to achieve the students’ learning goals.
In the Arabic Language Acquisition classes, the students are divided into phases as per the standards of the IB program. The students move from one phase to another based on their progress in speaking and writing. The learners may progress to the Language and Literature class when their language skills improve to a satisfactory level.
Since it is one of our aims to introduce our students to Arabic and world literature alike, the students study Arabic and translated literary works. Exposing students to Arabic and translated literary works, paves the way to research and exploration and helps discover the influence of the international literary works (in their social, political, and historical contexts) on the Arabic literary works. All the learning units and the literary genres are connected to global contexts and issues, and this opens the door for students’ inquiry and research.