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May 19, 2017 Author: sharekcentre
7 deadly questions

As a low level learner of Arabic, I really appreciate it when the teacher asks me lots of questions. In fact I’d go so far as to say that this is one of the main ways in which I learn in a classroom. Of course, it’s important that the level of the questions is pitched appropriately. If they are too easy it can feel a bit patronising; too challenging and I end up feeling frustrated.

In this video taken from an online class I took with Sharek Centre teacher, Rahaf, I think she gets the level of questions just right for me and I can feel myself learning quite a lot. Using a single picture, which she shared with me through Zoom, she carefully graded the questions she asked me, to give me lots of exposure and practice in some simple verb phrases. Here are the stages we followed:-

  1. Rahaf showed me the picture and asked me to choose names for some of the people in the picture.
  2. She went through them all and checked that we both knew who everyone was.
  3. She asked me questions starting with ‘Who..’ for example ‘Who is running?’, ‘Who is behind the tree?’ I was being challenged to understand the questions in Arabic, but I only had to respond with the names of the people.
  4. She asked me checking questions like ‘Samira is behind the tree, right?’ I had to process the language at a slightly higher level but what I actually had to say was still very simple.
  5. She gave me the name of the person and asked me to say what that person is doing in the picture. This is more challenging since it’s the first time I actually have to produce the target forms myself.
  6. She showed me some written sentences using the forms that we had been focussing on. This is a very useful challenge for me because my reading is much weaker than my ability to understand spoken Arabic.
  7. She asked me some personalised questions using the same target language; ‘Do you run?’ ‘Do you walk the dog?’ etc. This was a good way to hear different conjugations of the verbs and to connect the language to myself.


So now some questions for you! To what extent do you feel that questions from the teacher help you develop in the language you are learning? What kind of questions help you the most? If you think this way of learning Arabic would work for you, then why not look into taking part in one of Sharek Centre’s online, or face to face, Arabic classes?

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