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The future of Arabic teaching in British universities James Dickins University of Leeds Sept. 2, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "The future of Arabic teaching in British universities James Dickins University of Leeds Sept. 2, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 The future of Arabic teaching in British universities James Dickins University of Leeds Sept. 2, 2010

2 1. Arabic teaching up to c.1968 Elite subject: Elite subject: –Cambridge: since 1632 –Edinburgh: since1750 Classical language Classical language –Began in Cambridge as adjunct to theology –Subsequently adjunct to Greek and Latin Grammar-translation method Grammar-translation method –Modern literary Arabic (Cowan 1958) –A new Arabic grammar of the written language (Haywood and Nahmad 1962)

3 2. Standard Arabic teaching: c Some broadening beyond elite universities: Some broadening beyond elite universities: –Cambridge, Oxford, SOAS, Exeter, Manchester, Leeds, Durham, Edinburgh, St. Andrews –But also: Heriot-Watt, Salford Standard Arabic as a classical and modern language Standard Arabic as a classical and modern language –Introduction of modern Arabic elements at various universities –From 1970s, Leeds focuses on Modern Standard Arabic Elementary Modern Standard Arabic (Abboud et al. 1968) Elementary Modern Standard Arabic (Abboud et al. 1968) –communicative approach (within formal grammatical framework) –use of taped materials, presenting Arabic as explicitly spoken language –now unfashionable audio-lingual method

4 3. Colloquial Arabic teaching to c.1995 No significant presence in British universities No significant presence in British universities Colonial period Colonial period –Sudan as an example: Sudanese grammar (Worsely 1925) Sudanese grammar (Worsely 1925) Sudan Arabic: An English-Arabic vocabulary (Hillelson 1930) Sudan Arabic: An English-Arabic vocabulary (Hillelson 1930) Sudan Arabic texts (Hillelson 1935) Sudan Arabic texts (Hillelson 1935) Sudanese Colloquial Arabic (Trimingham 1946) Sudanese Colloquial Arabic (Trimingham 1946) 1960s-1970s: Georgetown grammars and dictionaries 1960s-1970s: Georgetown grammars and dictionaries A short reference grammar of Moroccan Arabic (Harrell 1962) A short reference grammar of Moroccan Arabic (Harrell 1962) A dictionary of Syrian Arabic: English-Arabic (Stowassser 1964) A dictionary of Syrian Arabic: English-Arabic (Stowassser 1964) A reference grammar of Egyptian Arabic (Abdel-Massih et al. 1979) A reference grammar of Egyptian Arabic (Abdel-Massih et al. 1979) Post-Georgetown Post-Georgetown –Lots!

5 4. Arabic teaching since c.1995 (2000): 1 Student numbers Student numbers –1990s: slight fall –Since 2000: massive increase ( : 50%) Student composition Student composition –Experienced language learners –Interest in Islam / the Middle East –Interest in Arabic (e.g. time spent in Arab world) –Students of Arab background. –Students of non-Arab Islamic backgrounds Broadening of universities Broadening of universities –E.g. UCLAN launched full Arabic degree in 2009

6 5. Arabic teaching since c.1995 (2000): 2 Broadening of curriculum to include Colloquial Arabic Broadening of curriculum to include Colloquial Arabic Communicative approach to Standard Arabic: Communicative approach to Standard Arabic: al-Kitaab fi ta‘allum al-‘arabiyya (al-Batal et al. 1995; 2 nd edn. 2004) al-Kitaab fi ta‘allum al-‘arabiyya (al-Batal et al. 1995; 2 nd edn. 2004) audio materials audio materials video materials video materials computer materials computer materials Cf. also: Cf. also: –Mastering Arabic (Wightwick and Gaafar, 1990; 2 nd edn. 2007) audio materials audio materials –Standard Arabic: an advanced course (Dickins and Watson 1999) audio materials (but otherwise more traditional) audio materials (but otherwise more traditional)

7 6. Integration of Standard and Colloquial Arabic Teach Standard and Colloquial separately Teach Standard and Colloquial separately –most universities, with Colloquial typically introduced after students have begun to learn Standard Arabic Teach Standard and Colloquial in tandem, but for different domains Teach Standard and Colloquial in tandem, but for different domains –University of Cambridge –Centre for Advanced Study of Arab World (CASAW: Edinburgh) Standard Arabic used for written-based activities, and Colloquial for spoken-based activities including talk about texts written in Standard Arabic. Standard Arabic used for written-based activities, and Colloquial for spoken-based activities including talk about texts written in Standard Arabic. Teach Standard and Colloquial mixed together Teach Standard and Colloquial mixed together –Typically through the use of a version of Arabic considered to be the language of highly educated people in formal spoken situations (e.g Formal spoken Arabic; Ryding 1990)

8 7. Demand for Arabic Students Students –Experienced language learners –Interest in Islam / the Middle East –Interest in Arabic (e.g. time spent in Arab world) –Students of Arab background. –Students of non-Arab Islamic backgrounds Employers Employers –Non-government: Commercial (needing translation, etc.) Commercial (needing translation, etc.) NHS, law (needing interpreters, etc.) NHS, law (needing interpreters, etc.) Arab press (esp. London-based) Arab press (esp. London-based) Cultural organisations Cultural organisations Human rights organisations Human rights organisations –Government: Foreign Office Foreign Office GCHQ GCHQ Military Military

9 8. New types of learners Speakers of Arabic at home Speakers of Arabic at home –E.g. second generation British Arabs School learners of Arabic School learners of Arabic –In 2005: 2,183 people took GCSE Arabic (up 63% from 2001) 2,183 people took GCSE Arabic (up 63% from 2001) 429 people took A-Level Arabic (up 64% from 2002) 429 people took A-Level Arabic (up 64% from 2002) People with specialist interests People with specialist interests –E.g. religious Classical Arabic

10 9. New technology: computers and the internet Edinburgh/CASAW e-learning project (Mourad Diouri) Edinburgh/CASAW e-learning project (Mourad Diouri) Open University Open University –Blended learning introductory Arabic project (2007): funding not currently available

11 10. Summary and prospects: 1 Different types of degree courses: Different types of degree courses: –full BAs –joint honours BAs –Minor element of BAs –UWLP/IWLP modules –Postgraduate (MA, etc.) courses New types of degree programmes New types of degree programmes –Arabic-intensive –Translation –Interpreting Specialist interests Specialist interests –Colloquial Arabic focus –Classical Arabic (e.g. religious Arabic)

12 11. Summary and prospects: 2 New types of funding: New types of funding: –Specialist institution funding: CASAW –Direct government bursaries? New types of institution New types of institution –elite universities –non-elite universities –Open University New types of student New types of student –native/near-native speakers of Arabic –no previous language-learning experience New teaching techniques New teaching techniques – blended learning

13 Thank you very much!


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