We were fully immersed in the language room the start as the teacher gave the class completely in Arabic. Functional objectives: Greetings & Introductions (also written in Arabic on the whiteboard). E. G. WA Alaskan salaam – salaam Alaska = May God be with you (greeting and reply) Ana Annual = I am Annual disheartens = pleased to meet you. Grammatical objectives: Short phrases & Introduction to gender differences (feminine and masculine forms). E. G. WA anta,ma osmium? And you, what is your name? (masculine) WA anti, ma smirk?
And you, what is your name? (feminine) Lexical objectives: Introduction to words related to greetings and introductions (and pronunciation of taught lexis). Copying of Arabic script from whiteboard. Lesson 2 The aim of this second lesson was to reinforce what we had learnt in the previous class and introduce new related phrases and vocabulary. Functional objectives : Greetings & Introductions. Revision of the Alphabet. Introduction to numbers. Practice writing Arabic script with the help of a hand out and recognize letters of the alphabet. . G. Kafka hula / halvah? How are you? Ana biker, shrank, WA anta/ anti? = I’m fine thanks, and you? Grammatical objectives: Revise grammar objectives from first class. Lexical objectives: Write numbers 1 to 10 in Arabic script with help of the handout. Pronunciation of taught lexis. (Phonology – Intonation in questions) Lesson 3 The aim of this last lesson was to work at oral conversation using all the greetings and introductions previously learned and to recognize the corresponding written Arabic script. Short oral and written exam.
Functional objectives : Revision of greetings & introductions, the alphabet & numbers. Evaluation exam. Grammatical objectives: Revise grammar objectives from first two classes. Lexical objectives: Pronunciation of taught lexis and recognition of Arabic script corresponding to greetings and introductions. From the very first class the teacher’s manner was open and approachable and he smiled a lot which made for a relaxed atmosphere conducive to learning. During the class the teacher used different teaching strategies to help us understand what he was saying.
He used a lot of body language, hand gestures, facial expressions and eye contact and quickly pointed out if someone had understood him correctly so the rest could follow suit. He prompted drilling and used repetition to reinforce a correct response. When we didn’t understand something, we would stop him from continuing and ask IM to repeat the phrase or explain again. He would sometimes try a different strategy than his original one to help us understand, for example, acting out what he meant or drawing a picture on the whiteboard. He wrote down our names so he could address us personally which created a good rapport.
The desks were set out in a U shape which helped group discussion and student interaction while at the same time everyone was facing the teacher, the whiteboard and the video. It was interesting to feel how a beginner of an unknown language feels when he or she doesn’t know something or doesn’t understand what the teacher is skiing of them. Some people had no problem interrupting the lesson or making it clear they didn’t understand but others had difficulty with this as they were reticent to appear “stupid or slow” in front of the rest of the class.
Some tended to ask each other instead of the teacher. However since the teacher had created a warm and friendly environment and encouraged everyone to participate, people felt it was more acceptable to admit when they didn’t know cometh ins. Most of the class was given orally with 90% direct interaction with the teacher or between students. In the first class the teacher did use the whiteboard tutee a lot to write the words he was teaching us which Was probably too soon for a beginners class.
Plus he didn’t realize how long it takes beginners to copy the Arabic script and we had to stop him several times as he continued to talk while we were still writing. He also tended to stand in front of what he had written so we couldn’t copy it properly. I think most of the class didn’t really grasp the written Arabic very well. As a learning strategy most of us wrote the translation beside the word in our own language and initially ignored the Arabic script. However we were able to reproduce orally he basic greetings and introductions after the first class.
We knew that during the last class we would get an exam but we didn’t know the exact format. The teacher started the class as normal but I think my peers and I were concentrating on getting the exam over and done with and so we weren’t paying full attention to the class. He was writing some words and phrases on the whiteboard but very few people were copying them. It would have been better to have had the exam at the beginning of the class or even after a short practice period so we could have relaxed and enjoyed the rest of he lesson.
However, he did encourage us during both exams and praised everyone ‘s oral intervention which was done in pairs. Hosannas encouraged us to communicate from the outset. Perhaps in the first class there was too much emphasis on written Arabic which we didn’t really understand but he still managed to teach us to express greetings and introductions orally via repetition, student to teacher & student to student drilling. He gave us various ways of saying the same thing which probably wasn’t such a good idea for a first class as there was quite a lot of new vocabulary.
In the second lesson he wrote less on the white board and concentrated on getting us to repeat what we had learned in the first lesson, after which he introduced some new phrases and vocabulary. There was more interaction in this class and we not only repeated the phrases but we also asked each other questions and answered accordingly. The teacher asked us questions individually and encouraged pair work, moving round the class to listen to us talk. Often he asked an open question not directed at anyone in particular which gave the student the opportunity to participate at will and took the pressure off any individual.
I was surprised that even after the second class we all seemed to have more confidence expressing ourselves in basic Arabic and people started to ask further questions. During the first class, the teacher used the whiteboard to write in Arabic the phrases he was teaching us. I don’t think that was very helpful for a beginners class as the language is so different from our native languages and so we were all a bit lost. He briefly introduced us to the alphabet on a video, but once again, the time was too short and the timing wasn’t correct. The remainder of the first class was oral practice and repetition which was lawful.