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Experimental Pedagogies

Panel VI-30, 2023 Annual Meeting

On Friday, November 3 at 4:00 pm

Panel Description
  • Middle Eastern student mobility has provided higher education in the region, educational opportunities to engage with the world. Travel courses (study abroad), student exchanges, virtual exchange, intercultural learning programs, Collaborative International Learning (COIL) , and virtual and guest speakers, both virtual and in-person, and institutional partnership have transformed curriculums and comparative interdisciplinary learning in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The structures for virtual inbound and outbound have benefited from the development of technology and social media to qualitatively increase the level oof global engagement. Applying a comparative analytical methodology, this article intends to examine Middle Eastern student mobility and global engagement and the impact on curriculums and programs for Bridgewater State University (BSU), US., Yarmouk University (YU), Jordan, Tafila Technical University (TTU), Jordan, and Sidi Mohamad Ben Abdula University, Morocco (MBAU). The theoretical framework mirrors the aspects of critical development communication theory and the neo-modernization approach to enhance educational and cultural experiences, which leads to improvement of curriculum, and internalization of academic programs.
  • This presentation highlights a number of strategies for overcoming challenges which AFL students encounter in the advanced translation class as they attempt to render into English religious references, allusions and expressions occurring in Arabic literary texts. The challenges arise as such terms almost invariably encompass a host of meanings beyond the lexical and syntactic, often reflecting an entire worldview integral to Arabic culture in a single phrase. The students are therefore sensitized to the fact that a successful rendering across the two disparate languages may be achieved only when “the translator takes into account not only the equivalence of meaning, but also investigates higher levels of content, context, semantics and pragmatics.” (Al-Masri, 2011, p. 29). This process of unpacking the various layers of meaning is conducted through a close reading of a short story by preeminent Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz, from his “Stories from Our Alley” collection, selected for abounding with such religious terms. Also, as a miniature literary work, it constitutes an organic whole, as it were, providing the sort of coherent context required to explore with the class the most precise denotation, as well as the subtle connotations of each of these terms, in accordance with the concepts of equivalence/non-equivalence in translation theory (Baker, 2011). And given how quintessentially culture-specific the terms in question are, the two broad translation approaches of foreignization vs. domestication become of particular relevance and are systematically brought to bear on the discussion. The presenter shares how the resultant categories of cultural approximation, among others, guide students towards the sort of in-depth analysis necessary to impart to them the nuanced understanding of the language and insight into its ethos that are vital to making the leap from the advanced to the superior level of proficiency. To corroborate the effectiveness of this teaching practice, samples from students’ translations of religious terms and allusions pre and post discussion will be shared, demonstrating how class consensus is formed as to the final English rendering, put forward as the closest match to the Arabic, and shown to be the result of the proposed teaching strategies and activities. References Baker, M. (2011.) In Other Words; A Coursebook on Translation. New York, USA: Routledge Press. Al-Masri, H. (2011). The Difficulty of Translating Modern Arabic Literature for the Western World. New York, USA: Edwin Mellen Press.
  • The ACTFL 2019 statement on diversity and inclusion calls on world language teachers to foster “equal access to world language study and equitable opportunities for all individuals” in the study of world languages. Knisely and Paiz (2021) argue that the progress made thus far continues to render invisible the experiences of trans, non-binary, gender nonconforming (TGNC) people, especially in languages other than English. Students and instructors in foreign and second language (L2) classrooms have begun expressing a growing concern about appropriately addressing the barriers and needs of TGNC students when the target language has a strictly and pervasively binary grammatical structure. In Arabic, for example, binary gender is encoded not only in singular pronouns, but also plural pronouns, nouns, adjectives, verbs, even sometimes adjectives, and secondary and post-secondary Arabic instructors across the country are seeking remedies for their nonbinary students. This study seeks a better understanding of current gender inclusive attitudes and practices in L2 teaching and of contextual factors influencing the choices teachers make, with the purpose of raising awareness about barriers to gender-just L2 pedagogy. In this mixed-method study, instructors of Italian, Arabic, and Spanish in U.S. universities completed an online survey and a subset of participants were interviewed about their knowledge of sociolinguistic changes in the L2 speaking communities; their degree of investment in gender-just pedagogy; barriers and incentives; and teaching practices about TGNC inclusivity in their foreign language classes. A descriptive thematic analysis of the survey and follow-up interviews, filtered through the frame of our research questions, show that L2 teachers have different understanding and levels of investment in TGNC inclusivity. Findings show that instructors are influenced by the level of consensus regarding the use of novel third- or neutral-gender grammar options in the native-speaking communities of the language they are teaching; their language and gender ideologies; perceived level of departmental support and autonomy; and other factors. Implications call for further research, as well as resources and training to guide teachers in supporting and addressing gender-just language education. This presentation will focus on how this plays out for Arabic instructors, and what Arabic pedagogy can adopt from the practices of other language and language teaching communities.
  • This paper offers practical guidelines for including student-led projects in Arabic immersion programs, highlighting potential challenges and conditions for success. Student-led Projects represent the culmination of successful study abroad programs. A project with a well-defined goal allows learners to work collaboratively, use their new language skills in real-world contexts, demonstrate their improved confidence, and engage with the local community. Collaborating on projects prepares students for internships, volunteering, and employment in the Arab world. By assuming a project role, learners leap from comprehension to application to critical thinking, all while being immersed in the target culture. From an Institutional perspective, student-led projects involve training project facilitators for leadership and coordination skills. As a result, the traditional one-directional structured transfer of knowledge between teacher and student turns into a partnership with the potential to have a significant impact on the student and the local community. For the best possible outcome, Projects are introduced at the initiation of immersion programs. Students, teachers, and coordinators meet to define objectives and milestones, assign responsibilities, devise a project plan, and schedule follow-up meetings. Projects bring energy and purpose to immersion programs. This paper recommends practical guidelines that can be implemented at the student, instructor, and institutional levels to ensure their success.
  • Integration of Interactive E-Books into Digital Pedagogy for Teaching Arabic Alphabet Online Abstract. Ketsman (2012) conducted a mixed methods study investigating the effectiveness of technology-enhanced multimedia instruction in foreign language classrooms. The study demonstrated that implementing such instruction provided foreign language teachers with opportunities to offer successful and effective language learning, which catered to the needs of modern-day learners. The current study utilized Design-Based Research (DBR) as its primary methodology, which involved an iterative process of data collection and e-book intervention development. The study employed a sequential exploratory mixed-methods design (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2018). The data collection process involved focus group meetings, group interviews, semi-structured individual interviews, and an online quantitative survey. The study participants comprised 45 students of Arabic as a foreign language (AFL) from five universities and eight AFL teachers representing various educational institutions. The researcher employed two conceptual frameworks, namely Passey's (2011) Learning Elements Framework (LEF) and Venkatesh and Davis's (2003) Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), and the interactive e-book evaluation criteria to conduct the study and develop the interactive e-book. The e-book design followed the "PPP" teaching approach consisting of three steps: Present, Practice, and Produce. The presentation stage included the design of widgets to assist students in recognizing and learning the alphabet. Subsequently, a set of widgets were designed for the controlled practice of the alphabet. Finally, the production stage required students to apply the alphabet learned to form words and take a quiz at the end of each unit. The E-book widgets incorporated various interactive features, such as flashcards, split worksheets, quizzes, jigsaw puzzles, randomness, word search, crossword, and memory games, to enhance students' engagement with the Arabic language learning process. Furthermore, the E-book contained animated videos that explained the writing system for every individual letter in Arabic. Finally, the study's design principles and findings will be presented at the conference.