Arabic studies, update

Posted by sue on November 22nd, 2006

I’m getting really frustrated with my classes lately. I have only one other student in my class and she’s well behind where I am in terms of vocabulary and grammar, and the teachers (one in particular) don’t seem interested in close analysis of texts or in helping us be able to translate them into English. In the textbook (Al-Kitaab Part Two), there is a central text in the middle of each chapter that the chapter rotates around in with its vocabulary list and grammar lessons, and my assumption is that when it’s time to read that text, we’re to read it many times with increasing attention to detail, analyzing sentence structure and making sure we understand how words are used and such. You know, understand thoroughly what we’re reading, and discuss it at length using the hard-won new vocabulary words (60 or so per chapter, though it’s more than that if you count all the different forms that basic words can change into in Arabic).

But no. Today was the day for which we were assigned to read the text and complete some exercises from the book which focus on certain aspects of the text. So you’d think we’d spend the whole time reading passages, analyzing grammar here and there, discussing the subject matter to reinforce our verbal command of the vocab and confirm our comprehension of the text. But instead we went through the book exercises in the most superficial way, skipping the ones that actually would push us to understand the text well, translating nothing. I tried to push us to look more closely at what the text said in a couple of parts which didn’t make sense to me, and the teacher actually seemed to get a little testy with me about it. So I gave up, and we spent the rest of the time slogging through some other exercise in which we had to practice putting proper case endings on parts of sentences with the sisters of “kana” (Arabic students will understand that)– something I learned from Jihad at UCLA ages ago, and which my classmate seemed not to understand much at all. So I’m bored and she’s lost and neither of us is learning much from this guy and he either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care.

It’s not all bad–I have two teachers, and the other one is better, but unfortunately I have fewer class hours with him. I’m just trying to figure out what to do here– I can’t force the class to move along faster because my classmate will lag farther behind, but I feel like a lot of our class time is wasted time for me. There’s only about two weeks left, though, and then I’ll be free to go to Rabat or Cairo or somewhere.

Through all this, I’m starting to think more about a long-term goal of becoming an Arabic teacher, which I hadn’t considered much before. If I ever manage to learn this crazy language, I think I could be a decent teacher.

5 Responses to “Arabic studies, update”

  1. erma Says:

    hey susie,
    i actually emailed you. so email me back.
    love mom

  2. Daniel Says:

    Is there anything that is really keeping you in the school? Is there another teacher you could get for the last two weeks? As an adult ed teacher for many years now it makes me sad to hear about bad teaching of what should be a challenging and engaging subject. I also hate to waste my time with bad teaching. Maybe there are better things to do with your remaining time in Fez.

    Happy thanksgiving and take care.

  3. erma Says:

    Len,
    Check your e-mail. Technocrisis at the farm!

  4. jim Says:

    Sorry to hear you’re dealing with what appears to be a lazy teacher. Ah well. Ideall yperhaps you can transfer wholly to another teacher? Or present this one with your questions, when perhaps he doesn’t feel challenged and defensive in front of the whole class?

    If not, perseverance…it appears that you are mastering the subject. Praise Bob!

  5. wade Says:

    < a href = “http://google.com/?p=47&lol= gag@jurists.debonair“>.< / a >…

    ñïñ!…

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