By Nahla El Gendy
“Ti’araf titkalim baladi?” (Can you speak the native language?) – as singer Latifa says in her El Masry song.
Well, AUC’s new Arabic Language and Culture Program (ALCP) will teach you that and more with high-quality and structured Arabic courses to speakers of other languages.
Not only is the program customized to different levels of Arabic-language proficiency, but various courses also integrate cultural activities that provide learners with opportunities to interact directly with native Arabic speakers through trips, field visits, seminars and artistic performances.
“ALCP builds on AUC’s historical reputation of excellence in the field of teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language, and offers a variety of AFL noncredit courses developed by the Department of Arabic Language Instruction that cater to different learner needs, abilities and geographic locations,” said Ghada El Shimi (MA ’93), dean of undergraduate studies and the Academy of Liberal Arts
The program’s flexibility helps students plan their programs according to their learning objectives and commitments, with the possibility of mixing face-to-face and virtual learning methods to ensure the continuation of the program even after returning to their home countries.
The School of Continuing Education is responsible for the program logistics. “ALCP is yet another example of the School of Continuing Education and the Academy of Liberal Arts working in close cooperation to deliver high-quality educational offerings to a diverse set of learners across Egypt and beyond,” said James Ketterer, dean of the School of Continuing Education.
Offering Modern Standard Arabic and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic courses, ALCP enables students to customize the program based on their needs. Levels start from zero Arabic knowledge and progress throughout five main level bands based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Teachers are certified native Arabic speakers who are well-aware of their Arabic culture and experienced in imparting it to foreigners through learner-centered instruction, explained Mohamed Amer, ALCP director.
“Our programs enable learners to see the essence of the Arab culture and feel its pulse away from prejudices circulating in the media,” Amer said. “In selecting the content for our programs, we give high priority to resources and language models that reflect richness in cultural references and connotations.”
The program’s approach to teaching Arabic adopts the communicative approach. Arabic is the sole language of instruction, while translation is kept to the minimum and used only for necessity. “This stems from our understanding of the nature of the language and the best practice for learning it. We believe that language is a means of communication, not an end in itself,” added Amer.
Echoing the same sentiment, El Shimi noted, “The program will appeal to learners looking to improve their language skills for personal and professional advancement through a variety of quality courses of different levels and purposes. True to AUC’s tradition of providing unique learning experiences, courses will immerse students in a rich cultural experience to deepen language acquisition and integrate valuable cultural learning.”