Students are not interested in learning the Arabic language. This is a problem and teachers and students together should work to address the issue.
The fact that you are reading this very sentence right now can mean at least one thing, that you have been blessed with a gift of language and communication, which often comes from education. The moment we step foot into the world, we are constantly learning new things. Some things are learned by instinct, some by experience, and some we are taught.
One of the first things that we are taught is language. Language is an essential tool for us to help us express ourselves and to share our ideas. As we learn more languages, we are also learning a lot about different cultures. Language makes up an integral part of culture, and vice versa. For example, people who speak both Arabic and English languages are exposed to more alphabets, the fact that they know more alphabets helps them have a more refined way of speaking. For this reason, those who are bilingual can easily shift to and from languages, but those who speak one language only would not be able to differentiate between the different sounds in any other language, they would all sound as foreign to them.
While living in the UAE, you are exposed to many different cultures. Since the UAE is an Arab country, Arabic is one of the primary languages. However, because the UAE is a cultural melting pot, the English language is the common language for communication.
Is one language overshadowing the other?
We’ve all heard people saying that they prefer to communicate in English because it is cooler, easier, or more lucid than the Arabic language. Why does this perception exist? Why is this idea so common?
This perception exists among people from different age groups. Teachers in schools claim that students have no genuine interest in learning Arabic. They also mention that students feel that learning Arabic is like a chore, “making it impossible for Arabic language teachers to get students proficient in the language”.
Let’s take the AIDA framework, which is used in marketing analysis and stands for attention/awareness, interest, desire, and action. The AIDA framework is one tool that marketers follow to make sure consumers buy their product. In the case of the Arabic language, students are aware of the language as they are in the process of learning it and because the language is part of their curriculum. The problem seems to be in the interest and the desire parts because students feel that learning Arabic is not engaging or that it is difficult. This in turn affects the action aspect of the framework because students develop a discouraged and demotivated behavior. Consequently, because of such behavior, they will not be stimulated to improve upon themselves and nor to excel throughout their learning journey.
Students are not to be solely blamed for this issue. Because teaching is an interactive tool of communication, both parties involved should be responsible to enhance the learning experience. Teachers should exert effort to increase students’ interests. Teachers can develop tactics to stimulate interests such as having group work activities, having dramatic readings, and finding ways to break through. They can mitigate the conventional methods of teaching by getting rid of monotonic lectures and instead, brainstorm ideas with the class. Having group activities increases interests of students because the mode of communication is no longer two-way but it is multi-directional. Teachers should also create associations with words. For example, they can explain a complex concept with a catchy and fun song that can get stuck in a student’s head, which would be easy to recall. This would particularly appeal to kids. On the other hand, classes should be discussion based for teenagers, in which they can freely express their opinions and are encouraged to debate and establish opposing viewpoints.
Communication is an essential part of our daily lives and we should keep finding ways to improve upon language barriers—so that we keep on learning and evolving.