Arabic evening course: Cactus staff experience
Friday, 9th July 2010
Cactus intern Cécile Sargueux tells us what it's like to learn a language so different to her own, on a 10-week evening course in Brighton
The Level 1 Modern Standard Arabic course provides basic reading, writing and speaking skills in the Arabic language in a really entertaining atmosphere.
All the students have their own reasons and motivations for following this course. That’s why the teacher is happy to define particular objectives to reach, according to what the students actually expect from the class. Consequently the learning is really adapted to each one’s needs.
The first approach of the language is quite disturbing for a complete beginner! Indeed the first step is to go through the Arabic alphabet, and to discover the various new and unfamiliar sounds. Pronouncing and repeating the letters is a real challenge on the first lesson! But there is actually nothing to fear for the following sessions, because the language is then analysed little by little, and the students can make progress at their own pace.
Every week, a new group of similar letters from the Arabic alphabet is studied, including how to write them separately and how to join them to make up words and phrases in a proper way. This is really like a game, playing with symbols and trying to give sense to those. It is quite fun! Moreover the lessons and the exercises from the book are used in such a way that the students learn how to write Arabic from a strong basis and in a smooth manner.
In a same progressive way, students get to know the numbers from 0 to 10. Later they learn how to compose bigger numbers as well as cardinal numbers, and how to write them, both with symbols and letters. Once the functioning of Arabic numerals is understood, they learn how to tell the time.
When it comes to vocabulary, students are invited to give a list of specific words that they would like to learn for personal purposes. Otherwise basic words of daily life are looked at, such as colours, days of the week, members of the family, etc. Some grammar is also tackled such as differentiation between feminine and masculine words.
As for the speaking side, students get to know a few sentences for a basic, survival conversation, such as greetings, presentation and useful phrases in particular situations. Some role plays are organized to make the pupils really involved, and to keep them active and dynamic!
In order to make noticeable progress, it is essential to do practical exercises, to write as much as possible, to learn the vocabulary every week and to keep the lessons interactive. It’s then a huge feeling of satisfaction, happiness and pride, being able to express yourself in such a different language!