Learning on the edge
I’m very excited about the new courses we’ve got on offer at Sharek Centre and I’m also excited about my role in helping the teachers to develop these new courses. Not that they need much help! We’ve spent a very productive couple of months brainstorming ideas and creating materials, and we’re particularly proud of our Sharek specials – Arabic through cookery, Arabic through film making, Arabic through stories, Arabic through art, Arabic through music, and Show and tell. In all of these courses you’ll be immersed in a world of Arabic and the focus is on using Arabic to talk about the kind of things that you want to talk about. This doesn’t mean of course that you need a very high level of Arabic already in order to take part. One of the perks of my job is that I get to try out the strategies the teachers will be using and in the video below you can see me experiencing first-hand what it would be like to be a learner in a ‘Show and tell’ Arabic class.
The basic procedure is as follows..
1) The learners bring in something to class that they want to talk about. This could be a favourite object, a picture of a place they like or a person they admire.
2) With help from the teacher and their colleagues, the learners prepare to do a short talk about what they have brought in.
3) They do their talks and the teacher and the other learners can ask questions. Sometimes these talks will be delivered online to supportive native Arabic speakers around the world. Everything is discretely recorded for discussion and analysis later.
For me this was a powerful and enjoyable learning experience – even if I do look a bit stressed out 🙂 I think you can see in the video that I’m really at the edge of my abilities in using Arabic. But Israa gives me just the right amount of support – feeding in language when I need it, but also listening carefully to what I’m saying and not jumping in to correct every mistake I make. The result is that, at the end I feel like I am able to express myself in Arabic, and this is a very good feeling.
I’m planning to start an online course and am really impressed with the style of teaching being made available. Learning meeds to be fun!
Thanks for your comment Mark. Yes – fun is a big aspect of what we try to do at Sharek and I’ve certainly had a lot of fun trying out all the creative ideas from the learner’s perspective. Nick
Wonderful! Taking what’s known best practice in language learning and learning per se!
Thanks for your comment Wendy. ‘Show and tell’ in our opinion is an excellent way to put this idea into practice.