Expatriate pupils in Dubai learn to love Arabic lessons

Published:  13 Nov at 6 PM
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Expatriate pupils at one of Dubai’s international schools are newly enthusiastic about learning Arabic due to the Living Arabic Forum.

Until very recently, expatriate children were far less than enthusiastic about learning Arabic, as they considered the language was far too ‘foreign’ and likely not to be much use to them in their future lives. Nowadays, it’s very different, thanks to the introduction of the Living Arabic Forum’s new, improved teaching methods which encourage a love of the language.

One shining example of the change in pupils’ attitudes toward learning Arabic is Dubai’s German International School, whose teachers had struggled unsuccessfully for years to install interest in the ancient language in their students. The annual Living Arabic Forum, organised by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority, sees over 500 teachers of Arabic and Islamic Studies get together to share the best teaching methods and practices, and has made a huge difference to the way the subjects are perceived by expat pupils.

Ahmed Abdelwahab, a teacher of Arabic at the German International School, told the Khaleej Times he’d learned ways to encourage enthusiasm for the language in his non-Arabic speaking pupils, with the result that the youngsters finally realised Arabic represented the culture of the country and was fun to learn. As a result, the school introduced Arabian culture into the curriculum, helping the students to realise the value of the language.

It’s not just the one school which has benefited from the Living Arabic Forum, as a French primary school is also using a similar approach to help their pupils master the language. Teachers are concentrating on the positive points of learning languages using fun activities as well as cultural comparisons and events. Teachers are benefiting as well, particularly through sharing their experiences with other educational professionals, and are changing their methods in order to make learning Arabic fun for their students.
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