Supporting Arabic Language Learning in a Virtual Environment

Mary Saad, Senior Manager for Arabic and Islamic Improvement at GEMS Education, discusses how social communication and collaboration continue to be a key component in language learning

Despite social distancing, social communication and collaboration continue to be a key component in language learning. Students across schools are using language to conduct video tutorials and take part in debates where they engage with their peers and communicate around real life matters. Arabic language teachers have been implementing interactive and engaging learning experiences and initiatives to ensure that students continue to practice the language in a meaningful and enjoyable context. Students are learning from their homes and teachers are using this opportunity to engage students in interactive ways.

The best way to develop students’ language is by practicing it for communicative purposes, so schools are providing students with opportunities to engage in real-life experiences. For example, students have been conducting interviews with parents or siblings, presenting cooking tutorials and raising awareness on social distancing while reflecting on their own ideas and performances as well as those of others.

There are key actions through which parents can support their children’s Arabic language learning at home, and I highly encourage Arabic-speaking parents to speak Arabic with their children to ensure students continue to experience the language outside Arabic lessons. For non-Arabic-speaking families, teachers have been providing customised support by translating instructions where needed and by making themselves available online after the virtual lessons to support students with vocabulary and other aspects of language learning.

GEMS regularly engages students of different age groups in such activities and this will be followed up closely by our Islamic Education teachers. These activities focus on performance-based learning and values linked to the Ministry of Education Islamic Education curriculum.

Although the social aspect of the Arabic culture will be different this year, self-reflection and giving back will continue to be an integral pillar, and teachers will be emphasising those values.