Case study 5

Teaching Arabic to Speakers of Other Languages (TASOL)

What are the methods that can enable international learners to learn Arabic as a foreign language? What capabilities are required for such modes of language learning and how are they nurtured? What can we learn theoretically about translation practices through studying the provision of intercultural language education and the learning of Arabic as a foreign language in a context of occupation? This case study will provide the first data examining what happens to the development and translation of research methodologies and language pedagogies when delivered online from a context of siege. It will document and analyse the programme of study at the Islamic University Gaza (IUG) and its spin-out companies which seeks to provide Arabic as a foreign language to NGOs and cultural providers in Gaza as well as to a large market of overseas learners. As this Arabic centre is in its infancy, the research will have direct impact on shaping its success in using intercultural language pedagogy.

The case study objective is to equip researchers and practitioners of Arabic as a foreign language in Gaza to access and work with international researchers in intercultural language education, with a view to ensuring the provision of a high quality, academically rigorous programme of Arabic, delivered for online tutors in the Gaza strip and with account taken of technological innovations and restrictions. It will use classroom observations and auto-ethnography, together with materials and language policy analysis and interviews to understand the translation of pedagogic models across educational jurisdictions, cultures, institutions and languages, whilst also focusing analytically on the comparative differences between language pedagogies which have developed in peace times and those which develop in times of conflict and collective trauma.

The research will be conducted by Mariam Attia, Giovanna Fassetta, Maria Grazia Imperiale and Katja Frimberger under the leadership of Nazmi Al-Masri.