Teaching the Arabic script through video conferencing software.
Quite often I hear colleagues who work in language teaching, and even some friends, wonder if it’s actually possible to teach online through video conferencing software, as online teaching seems unable to offer the kind of interaction that face-to-face classes guarantee and may limit the possibilities for genuine interaction.
Particularly when it comes to the teaching of Arabic script, we want students to engage actively with the letters and the rules that govern their connections and transformations, and not simply to sit back and watch the teacher writing the letters and repeating their sounds.
In the video below I’m showing how it’s possible to use software like electronic whiteboards to engage the students in exercises that require interaction between learner and teacher, like completing words that have some letters missing.
The difference from doing the same exercise on paper, is that the learners watch the monitor of their computers without interruptions, focusing on every aspect of the writing carried out by the teacher, including the movement of the cursor while it’s shaping the letters. Learners will then have to think about what is missing and try to fill in the gap. They can also ask questions in real time to see if their thought-process is going in the right direction and finally, they can get immediate feedback from the teacher in terms of correction or upgrading their written language.
While it’s probably true that online teaching can’t offer exactly the same experience as classroom teaching, it is also true that the very constraints that can be found in online classes can be turned from disadvantages to advantages.
More to come on this topic in the following weeks!
P.S. a huge “thank you” to M.!
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