Aarabic Intensive Training Program (AITP) - Course description

This is a typical course description for all levels from beginner to advanced, except for lesson plans which will vary depending on the levels.

Aims and Objectives
This course is designed to build basic listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).

Course Description
MSA is one of many varieties of the Arabic language. Today, it is used in formal oral and written communication throughout the Arabic-speaking world, where it is the predominant language of the media, modern science and academia, and many forms of literary expression. In most other aspects of everyday life, native speakers communicate in colloquial Arabic. This second variety of the language is rarely written, and differs quite significantly from one region to another of the vast Arabic-speaking world.

Learning Outcomes for the Course
MSA is similar to classical Arabic (the language of religious texts and ancient and medieval literature and scholarship), and this course will prepare you to continue your study of either one, or of both.

The relationship between MSA and colloquial Arabic is the subject of much debate. Students are very strongly encouraged to think critically about this relationship, and form a personal opinion on the matter over the course of their study of the language.

Equal importance will be placed on listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills, as well as critical engagement with the language and its cultural politics. This class, however, does not focus on any one of the existing colloquial forms of Arabic. Nevertheless, the understanding of linguistic norms that you will acquire in the beginning MSA course will facilitate the learning of a particular spoken version of the language in the future.

Written homework is an essential part of your language study. It is assigned and graded on a daily basis. Because this class meets every day of the week, students

must commit to a very large amount of quotidian work. Detailed homework requirements and guidelines are outlined below.
Every Monday is reserved for a conversation practice session for further development of your communication skills. These Monday conversation hours are an integral part of this course.
Lastly, regular class attendance, active interaction in the classroom, and timely preparation and submission of homework assignments are of utmost importance for the successful completion of this course.

Textbooks and other learning materials
This course uses the following textbooks:
1. Alif Baa: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds, 3rd ed., by Brustad, al-Batal, and al-Tonsi.
2. Al-Kitaab fii Ta`allum al-`Arabiyya, Part One, 3rd ed., with DVDs by Brustad, et al.

It is also recommend to own a bilingual dictionary, such as Al-Mawrid, the Oxford English - Arabic Dictionary, or The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic.

Additional learning resources and links to relevant Internet sites will be made available. In the course of the semester, Arabic films, music, lectures, and other cultural events will be incorporated in the learning process. The objective is to broaden your perspective of the social and cultural contexts and dynamics in which Arabic functions today.

Assessment Overview
Homework - 25%
Class attendance and participation - 25%
Quizzes and tests - 30%
Final oral presentation - 10%
Last written test - 10%

Grades range from A= 90 - 100, to B= 80 - 89, to C= 70 - 79.
If your grade option is Pass/Fail, in order to receive a “Pass” your cumulative letter grade must be C or higher.

Assessment Tasks

Written homework assignments are an essential part of the language acquisition process, and are worth 25% of your final grade (see below). Please observe the following guidelines:

  1. Hand in a separate piece of paper. Do not rip sheets out of the book. You may, however, photocopy pages.

  2. Always copy all the sentences that you are being drilled on. In a fill-in the blanks exercise for example, don’t hand in simply the word(s) that should go in the blank, but write down the entire sentence and underline the word that you put in the blank.

  3. Write neatly, and skip lines, leaving enough room for comments and corrections.

  4. The point of doing homework is to learn the material, and to have a corrected set of answers to review. Therefore, timely preparation and submission of homework assignments is very important. Late assignments will not be considered for credit unless you were given explicit permission to turn it in late.

  5. The instructor will usually not correct your homework, but only point out mistakes expecting you to figure out what is wrong on your own. Homework is part of a learning process; you are expected to make reasonable mistakes as you learn, and you will not be penalized for those. However, if you don’t approach the instructor with questions about your mistakes, it will be assumed that you have understood what was wrong, and you will be penalized if you keep making the same mistakes.
Please note that a lot of importance is attached to attendance. Absences will not be tolerated. This includes Monday discussion sessions. If a student has a medical, legal or otherwise valid excuse for missing class (the validity of the excuse is at the discretion of the instructor), then this student is not excused for the homework due during the missed period, and must turn it in when they come back.
Students are also responsible for materials covered in class while they were away. This means that they should get notes from fellow students, study the materials on their own first, and then ask the instructor during office hours about any questions that they may have about it.

Quizzes and Test
All tests are cumulative. This means that they potentially cover everything studied in class since the beginning of the term, and not the latest chapters only. Tests will be given at the completion of each unit, but students should be prepared to receive unscheduled pop quizzes as well. A longer test (worth 10% of the overall grade) will be given at the end of the term.

In the course of our discussions in the classroom, each student will be asked to speak to the class on a topic of his/her choice. Presentations are excellent opportunities to practice everything you have been studying, and to learn how to talk about subjects of interest to you. It is not a good idea to make everything up from scratch, or to use a large number of new words (remember, your classmates should be able to understand you!). As you prepare your oral presentations, please keep in mind that, in this exercise, making the best of what you already know has priority over learning new words.

Weekly Schedules
A detailed day-to-day schedule will be posted at the beginning of each week.

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