Teaching a language is unlike teaching any other subject. Language teachers teach
students about the cultures and societies that speak that language. Because of the
cultural tensions between the East and the West, I have decided to teach Arabic to
American students at the university level; I hope over time, to help build a bridge
between the two cultures and subvert the negative stereotypes that I believe both
cultures have of each other. As a native speaker of Arabic, I bring my own experience
and my own culture to the classroom in hopes of increasing my students’ intercultural
awareness. For example, my students watch Arabic films and discuss topics that these
films address, like the importance of family in the Arab culture, gender differences
and the expected role of both genders in the past and nowadays. I also bring Middle
Eastern food to class and then discuss how it differs from American food. I also take
advantage of social media like Facebook and chat rooms to connect students in the
USA with Arabs and Arabic sources, thus expanding their exposure to the language,
helping them practice the language and building cross-cultural friendships. Using
authentic input helps the students to notice in which aspects the Arab culture is
different from their own, as well as to learn the language in contextualized situations.
I adapt authentic input using different techniques, usually by introducing the students
to the topic and activating their background schemata, and using visual input to describe
some of the new vocabulary. Learning in General I believe students learn better if
they take an active role and become engaged in the process of the learning. Learning
should be enjoyable, fun and meaningful to attract learners. I believe that students
learn better when they are engaged in problem-solving activities, group work, and
so on. Learning could be affected by the students’ emotional status. Thus, teachers
should be aware of that aspect of factors that might influence the learning process.
View of learners As I mentioned before, one of the most important reasons I enjoy
teaching is that I get to learn from my students’ experiences which I highly value.
I try to learn about my students’ backgrounds and their reasons for enrollment in
the course. This helps me to realize what might work and motivate the students best.
However, I understand that students have diverse needs and they are unique human beings.
I try to tailor my teaching methods and techniques to meet the different needs and
goals the students might have. On one hand, this is a complicated and certainly not
an easy task. On the hand, from my humble experience, I believe it could be achieved
and in most cases students will appreciate the teacher’s genuine try to engage them
in forming the goals and objectives of the course and they usually show an great understanding,
if provided with reasonable rationale, that some personal goals and objectives might
not be part of the course. View of teaching Teaching has been my passion for my whole
life. I remember throughout my school-time helping my classmates and siblings to understand
materials better and enjoy learning more. It is such a fulfilling feeling that has
always made me satisfied. I believe my passion for teaching has been driven by my
constant desire to learn. I feel I am an effective teacher because I am able to connect
with my students and learn from them as well as teaching them. I see myself in the
teaching process as a facilitator rather than a decision maker for that reason I involve
the students in the learning process by seeking background information and tailoring
the curriculum to fit pedagogical goals and learner’s needs as well as interests.
I conduct midterm feedback from the students to evaluate the activities and exercises
we do in the classroom to learn what changes and adjustments need to happen to help
them learn better.