Students Love Authenticity in Language Classes | Thana Jarjour | 2 Min Read

December 1, 2022

When we were in Math class in the third grade, one of my friends asked the teacher: “Why are we learning Math?”  The teacher calmly said: “It helps you in life.”  Our teacher did not give us any examples! What did that mean for a third grader at that time? Simply nothing! I enjoyed Math as a child, but I would have enjoyed it even more if we connected Math to everyday life and future careers. 

Teaching the Arabic language reminded me of my third-grade experience. As a foreign language, it could be a challenge to the teacher and students. I always tell my students that Arabic is not a difficult language, but it takes a longer time to learn because everything is new to an English speaker; a new alphabet, new syntax, and new usage. I believe that students can easily learn Arabic if they have the motivation.  In my more than twenty years of teaching Arabic as a second language, I made sure I found a reason to motivate my students to keep on learning! 

Getting students engaged with the language and the culture was my key strategy. My students had many hands-on activities,…

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Thana Jarjour

Thana Jarjour, who is currently serving as OESIS Language Placement Lead, has more than 20 years of teaching experience in independent schools. She has taught at Montrose Christian School, Christian School of York, StarTalk Summer programs, Center for Talented Youth (CTYonline), Johns Hopkins University, University of Wisconsin, and The United Nations. Throughout her career, Thana had several roles, including Arabic Language Teacher, Instructional Designer, Program Supervisor, Program Director, Proficiency Exams Developer, Teachers Trainer, and Arabic Language Consultant. Thana interviewed and trained tens of teachers throughout her career. She earned several excellence Awards including Leadership Excellence Award, and the Excellent Teacher Award CTY Johns Hopkins. Thana has been a keynote speaker on Understanding The Arabic Culture. She also presented at teachers' conferences, including American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Thana mentored new teachers through ACTF Mentoring Program. She was part of The ACTFL Teachers' Scholarship Committee. She is based in Pennsylvania.