First Annual Forum: Teaching English in the 21st Century

The First Annual Forum on the English language titled Teaching English in the 21st Century was held on April 15, 2017, at Saudi German Hospital in Abha, Saudi Arabia. The forum was organized under the supervision of Dean, Dr. Abdullah Al Melhi, in cooperation with Quality Education Holding Company and Oxford University Press. The aim of the forum was to train language teachers for professional development that would emphasize the enhancement of teaching competence regarding classroom management, activities, and handling overall language teaching. The program included two training sessions and four presentations on English Language Teaching (ELT). The participants included both male and female faculty members working at King Khalid University.

The program began with a welcome speech by Dr. Abdullah Al Melhi.  In his speech, he emphasized the significant value of holding Forums which aim to advance the field of ELT. He reiterated such importance by focusing on the fact that forums of this nature always bring beneficial changes in language teaching and help to discuss new teaching concepts. He suggested there be more frequent language forums in the future for professional development.

Terrie Craddock from Oxford University Press conducted two training sessions. In her first session, which was titled Motivating Students, she shared ideas about how to motivate language learners. During the session, the participants took part in an interactive discussion, where they exchanged their views on motivation. She highlighted different ways to make language tasks more interesting and engaging. Craddock’s second session, Differentiated Teaching and Learning, looked at dealing with groups of mixed abilities. Despite the challenges involved in handling diverse skill groups, she said, it is manageable if the teacher knows how to engage fast learners. She also highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of combining fast learners with slow ones. Overall, both the sessions were very interactive and informative.  

What followed was Mohammad Adil’s presentation titled Exploitation and Adaptation in EFL Teaching. His presentation was based on a case study he had conducted on the usefulness of course materials used in skills and language courses. He pinpointed some issues associated with the use of published course materials. He emphasized that teacher’s creativity, control, and choice (McGrath 2013: 22-23) can make a difference.  He showed how a boring or monotonous lesson could be changed into an interesting and engaging one if the teacher uses his or her creativity. Adil concluded that it is illogical to believe that the course books are useless and at the same time, it is not logical either to depend strictly on published course books while teaching. In his session, the participants also exchanged their valuable thoughts.

The next presenter was Dr. Eyhab Bader Eddin who spoke about Second Language Acquisition (SLA). His presentation titled Theoretical Approaches to Second Language Acquisition was primarily centered on theories about language learning and acquisition such as Krashen’s (1982) Monitor model, behaviorism, and innatism. During his session, he showed some funny movie clips to highlight challenges involved in language learning and acquisition. Dr. Eyhab, through these video clips, also wanted to highlight how a learner’s mother tongue influences second language learning. He concluded that SLA theories are closely related to their counterparts in the mother tongue. Also, prior knowledge of mother tongue, usually acquired from the parents, may or may not be an advantage depending on the similarities and differences between the pair languages in question.

Dr. Abdul Wahed Al Zumor’s presentation was centered on his study based on challenges encountered by King Khalid University Science faculty students, as a result of English Medium Instruction (EMI). The study revealed that the identified approach results in a failure in that it deteriorates lecture comprehension, understanding content, and communication with their instructors due to lack of adequate English proficiency. Dr. Al Zumor concluded that the additive bilingualism approach could enrich their learning environment. This presentation was worthwhile in that it successfully raised awareness among the participants of the drawbacks of English Medium Instruction (EMI) in teaching courses other than English.   

Mohammad Sirajul Islam concluded the sessions by presenting about issues related to the use of e-learning. This was also based on a case study that aimed at investigating students’ attitude towards e-learning. Interestingly, students enrolled in language courses showed a positive attitude towards online learning. On the other hand, content course students’ attitude towards e-learning was negative. He pinpointed another crucial issue related to teachers’ expertise in using Blackboard. Many teachers fail to follow the rubrics while designing online courses. He concluded that there is a need for proper e-learning training for teachers so that they can enhance their expertise in teaching online.

In the end, there was a closing speech by Dr. Abdullah Al Melhi, who thanked the organizing committee for arranging such a program. He congratulated those who had worked behind the scenes to make the forum a real success.

We would like to recognize the following organizing committee members for their efforts in this event:

  • Dr. Mwafaq Momani
  • Mr. Javed Ahmed
  • Mr. Mohsin Raza Khan
  • Mr. MD Sirajul Islam
  • Mr. Saleh Hokash
  • Mr. Naser Alhawamdeh
  • Mr. Mazharul Islam    

Date: 04-17-2017

Source: MD Adil

Multimedia Contribution: MD Sirajul Islam

Dr. Mohammed Alward received an appreciation letter from our Dean, Dr. Abdullah Al-Melhi‎, for his design of a calculator using Microsoft Excel. Dr. Alward’s calculator has proven to be a time and effort saving tool in producing grade distributions that are necessary for completing course reports. Congratulations to Dr. Mohammed Alward and special thanks to Dr. Abdullah Al-Melhi‎ Date: 6/5/2018 Source: Dr. Mohammed Shuaib Assiri
The 13th Annual Research Day was held on April 04, 2018 under the supervision of the Dean, Dr. Abdullah Al-Melhi, and the Director of the Language Research Center, Dr. Ismail Al-Refaai. This event successfully achieved 3rd place according to the evaluation made by the Deanship of Scientific Research, King Khalid University. This success was the result of dedicated efforts made by the members of the organizing committee led by Dr. Abdullah M. Al Melhi and Dr. Ismail Al-Refaai. The committee members included Erich Beer, Javed Ahmed, Mohammad Adil Siddique, Mohammad Sherajul Islam, Sayed Karim, Salahud Din Abdul Rab, and Shahrear Talukder from the male campus. From the female campus, Amal Abdelsattar Metwally and Ivy Sultana exceptionally organized and coordinated the event. In total, there were 17 oral presentations and 10 poster displays. Date: 4/27/18 Source: Mohammad Adil Siddique & Salahud Din Abdul Rab
On April 25, 2018, the Department of English at the Faculty of Languages and Translation organized a farewell party in honor of the faculty members who are leaving. The ceremony began with a welcome speech by Dr. Abdullah Al-Melhi, Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Translation. He praised all the departing faculty members who had made a substantial contribution to the college with their sincerity and dedication. Dr. Al-Melhi expressed his mixed feeling of sadness and happiness. “Though we are sad, at the same time we are happy that you will be meeting your original family. You will reunite with your family, which is very important,” said Dr. Al-Melhi while encouraging the departing faculty members. He emphasized that change is part of life and opens new opportunities and possibilities. The college, Dr. Al-Melhi said, would always remember them for the profound impact they made. One of the departing faculty members, Mr. Muhammad Saiful Islam, later delivered a speech on behalf of the rest. He shared the pleasant memories associated with his teaching experience over the past ten years in the Faculty of Languages and Translation. He talked about the amazing teacher-student relationship at KKU and praised his Saudi colleagues as well as those of his and other nationalities. “Our Saudi faculty members here are amazing hosts, amazing people, very considerate, very kind. I always felt that I was staying in my own country”, said Mr. Islam. He thanked the college for accepting him and giving him the privilege to teach here. At the close of the ceremony, the faculty members who are leaving were honored with certificates. The departing faculty members were Dr. Mohammed Amin Mekheimer, Dr. Muhammad Gulfraz Abbasi, Dr. Haseeb Ahmed Abdul Majeed, Dr. Manoj Kumar Yadav, Mr. Muhammad Saiful Islam, Mr. Mohammad Sherajul Islam, Mr. Weatherford Braden Thomson, Mr. Shamsur Rab Khan, Mr. Rehan Khan, Mr. Md Shahrear Talukder, Mr. Matthew Paul and Mr. Gavin Phillip Louch. Date: 4/30/2018 Source: Mr. Mohammad Adil Siddique
On April 25, 2018, the Language Research Center of King Khalid University organized a seminar that included a presentation by Dr. Mohammad Osman titled Humor is Mark Twain’s Fiction. Dr. Osman’s presentation highlighted the way humor was expressed in Mark Twain’s fiction. His presentation commenced with a brief introduction to the author with a Hemingway (1935) quote – “All modern American Literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” He stated the fact that Twain’s style had a profound impact on American literature. Dr. Osman also explained the difference between humor and satire. Humor, he said, provokes laughter and provides amusement. Satire, he added, ridicules vices, abuses, and highlights shortcomings through sarcasm. Twain’s humor was expressed through his hilarious characters, dialogs, events, and words he chose, said Dr. Osman. He concluded that Twain is usually remembered as perhaps the most celebrated writer in all of American Literature. That's how he was mainly valued in his day, and that's how he tends to be valued today as well. After the seminar, there was a Certificate Award Ceremony in which all the seminar presenters of the academic year 1438-39 were honored with certificates. Date: 4/26/2018 Source: Mr. Mohammad Adil Siddique
On April 18, 2018, the Language Research Center of King Khalid University organized a seminar that included two presentations – The Concept of Poetry: T. S. Eliot versus I. A. Richards by Dr. Manoj Kumar and Re-appropriating Magical Realism in Arabic Narratives by Dr. Mahmoud Radwan. Dr. Manoj’s presentation was based on his study that aimed at highlighting the contradictory opinions on the concept of poetry and how both are suitable and witty to two different readers. In the beginning, he talked about the etymology of the word ‘poetry.’ He stated that this word was derived from the Greek word ‘poiesis’ that means ‘making.’ He discussed in detail the overall concept of poetry. He focused on forms, genres, compositions, etc. Dr. Manoj explained Eliot’s classism and theories of impersonality, and later I.A. Richard’s theory of literary criticism and T.S Eliot. He also compared Eliot’s and Richard’s language of poetry. Dr. Manoj concluded that T.S. Eliot and I. A. Richards belong to the galaxy of critics who are also well known as poets. Dr. Mahmoud Radwan started his presentation by defining Magical Realism. The term, he said, had been coined by Franz Roh in 1925. It denotes, he added, crossing, overlapping and effacing borders between paradoxical codes and elements of realism and fantasy. Dr. Radwan explained the reason why writers embrace Magical Realism. He stated that marginalized native writers utilize Magical Realism as a mold through which they enter the literary mainstream to deconstruct dichotomous paradigms and projected images created by the advocates of the dominant culture, represent their repressed narratives, and recuperate lost and minor voices. Finally, he mentioned Arab writers who were inspired by Magical realism – Naguib Mahfouz, Ghairi Shalabi, Edwar Al-Kharrat, Emile Habibi, Ibrahim Al Kuni and Ghadah Al Samman and so on. Dr. Radwan concluded that re-appropriation of Magical Realism in Arab narratives emerges as an example of how in adopting such a mode, the act of writing becomes an act of survival, rescuing fragments of the Arab culture from oblivion, shedding light on history, tradition, and reality. The seminar was overall a great success. Date: 4/20/2018 Source: Mohammad Adil Siddique Multimedia Source: Dr. Iustin Sfariac and Dr. Mihaita​ Horezeanu