On Monday, March 6th, the British Council hosted a conference in their London offices, entitled ‘Arabic Language and Culture in the UK Research Dissemination Event 2017’. Participants included teachers, academics and practitioners.

A number of core topics raised at the event have been raised many times before at such events, especially the lack of opportunities in mainstream schools and the fact that universities tend to offer beginners courses because there is no pool of learners coming from schools with GCSE Arabic. Readers are advised to review this article that was published on this site in 2015, following a major conference on Arabic at SOAS in London.

Pendragon Educational Publishers, the company that publishes ArabicOnline, introduced Try Arabic, an introductory course of Arabic for UK secondary pupils, which has been developed with the support of the British Council.

There are many schools in the UK that would like to offer pupils an opportunity to learn Arabic, but these schools may not have an Arabic-speaking teacher. However, all secondary schools in the UK have trained MFL (Modern Foreign Language) teachers. Try Arabic is a short taster course of Arabic, which is designed in such a way that any well-trained MFL teacher will recognise what to do, without being able to speak Arabic. In this respect, an MFL teacher can guide pupils through the course, making sure they understand what to do, as the structure, learning process, activities and topics will all be familiar. An interested teacher could accompany the pupils and learn some Arabic with them, as the course is designed both for autonomous learning as well as teacher-guided learning. The course has been designed to lower major affective filters and hurdles to learning and  aims to arouse curiosity in this fascinating language: an important first step on the route to introducing Arabic as a viable option into schools. A smartphone app has also been developed to support the online course. This can be downloaded from the site or from the Google Play Store.

The taster course is online at: www.arabiconline.eu/schools.

Teachers are encouraged to use the course. Feedback via the online feedback form will be welcome and appreciated.

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