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Language Resource Center
Newsletter Spring - 2011
Opportunity for bringing authentic language into the classroom

This semester, students in Arabic classes had an opportunity to communication with the authors of books they were using. “When we think in terms of study abroad, VS classroom instructions in language learning and teaching, the first thing that comes to mind is the authenticity of the experience along with total immersion. Classroom instructions can easily include authentic text, music, art, and film, but this term I decided to interview the authors of our textbooks,” says Professor May Saffar, Resident Fellow in Arabic.

“This term I decided to interview the authors of our textbooks since I know them personally. Dr. Mahdi Alosh, author of Ahlan wa Sahlan, is in Saudi Arabia and because of to the eight-hour time difference, we couldn’t conduct a synchronized interview. The Director of the Language Resource Center suggested making a video recording of Dr. Alosh for the class. I asked Dr. Alosh to introduce himself to my students, to talk about his daily schedule, and to discuss his life in general. These topics aligned with what students in the Arabic class have learned so far using his book. How could this be more personable and authentic at the same time!”

This dedicated video clip activity was realistic and authentic, and it helped motivate students. Professor Saffar says the class became more engaging once students found out that the video message was specifically dedicated to them.

“The students were delighted to see Dr. Alosh in the video clip talking to them, and I confirmed for them the video just arrived from Riyadh. It was a personal touch. “

 Uploading video clips and setting them up the forum in the Angel Course Management System allowed students to view the video clip and start discussing what kind of video message they might create for Dr. Alosh.

“The students in Arabic 202 are going to record similar introductions for Dr. Alosh. They are very excited about this assignment and started planning right away. I told them it's a graded assignment and the work should be equally distributed between everyone. We modeling and practicing in class. The students also have the video posted on Angel for reference.”

Eventually, she will collect all the students’ video clips and sent them to the author in order to conduct asynchronous communication between Dr. Alosh and the students.

“The Director also suggested a written composed by Dr. Alosh to acknowledge receipt of the students’ video and a note in response from the students. The written note serves as authentic text in a meaningful, personable manner.”

“I would like to take a moment to thank the Director for his support of my Arabic class. Without his support, I wouldn't be inspired to do it. There is a saying," It takes a village to raise a child," and I say, "It takes passion and dedication of a team of experts to help the Arabic class grow on our campus and I am thankful Takeshi Sengiku is on my team."

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