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

At the seminar held on February 28, 2018, arranged by Language Research Center, Mr. Bandar Altalidi delivered a presentation titled Institutional Fansubbing: A Case Study of the Fansubbing Initiative ‘Autrjim’. His presentation was primarily based on his MA research project. Bandar began his presentation with his research objectives – exploring the decisions and strategies implemented by volunteer translators, studying fansubbers’ attempts to achieve their own goals and focusing on the technical aspects of audiovisual translation and fansubbers’ approach to it. The research also attempted to explore the impact of the procedural and technical consideration followed by Autrjim on its subtitling aims. Bandar, while talking about his literature review, emphasized the fact that audio-visual translation had acquired its own identity and had been used as a standard term in university programs, research, and publications. Fansubbing and amateur translation, Bandar added, were neglected research areas while quoting Pérez-González, 2007. This particularly inspired him to research into Fansubbing. Finally, he defined autrjim and how this group of fans contributed to subtitling videos according to his research findings. The presentation was very informative, and it successfully engaged the participants. Date: 3/1/2018 Source: MD Adil
Lourdes Ortega, Professor of Linguistics at the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University, delivered a presentation as a part of the Faculty of Language Translation's Webinar Series on February 19, 2018. The webinar, supported by the E-Learning Deanship of King Khalid University, drew a crowd of nearly 170 participants from around the Kingdom.  Ortega’s webinar, entitled “Aptitude and Motivation in Second Language Acquisition,” examined the relationships between aptitude and motivation with a special focus on the best-researched SLA works on motivations and the complex set of constructs that follow. A relatively recent paper that was discussed in the webinar is also Dr. Fakieh Al-Rabai's -- Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at King Khalid University -- most well-known research article in the field. The 2013 paper, titled The Effects of Teachers’ Motivational Strategies on Learners’ Motivation: A Controlled Investigation of Second Language Acquisition, was cleverly devised as related by Professor Ortega. From the abstract of the webinar: In this webinar, I discuss the wealth of research on aptitude and motivation that has become available in the field of second language acquisition and which can help teachers answer some important questions: Are there special cognitive abilities (aptitude) and certain personal predispositions (motivation) that could help explain the large difference we all see in how successful students are in learning a new language in our classrooms? How much does the surrounding environment contribute to shaping aptitude and motivation: the classroom, family and peers, a society's message about the new language, its value, and its difficulty? And to what extent can aptitude and motivation to learn a new language change with experiences inside and outside of the classroom? I also point at ways in which this research can help language teachers strategize so they can support their students' aptitude and motivation and enhance their odds of lasting success with English, in the language classroom and beyond. Delivering official closing remarks, Dr. Munassir Alhamami, Chairman, advised participants to implement the lessons learned during the webinar. Ortega’s academic and research interests are broadly in second language acquisition, particularly sociocognitive and educational dimensions in adult classroom settings. Her research utilizes insights from bilingualism and from usage-based linguistics to the investigation of second language development. Date: 2-19-2018 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
Under the patronage of Dr. Abdullah Al-Melhi, Dean, and the supervision of Dr. Mohammed S. Assiri, Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, the E-Learning Unit of the faculty organized the “12th E-Learning Awareness Campaign” for level 1 department students from Sunday, February 11, 2018 to Thursday, February 15, 2018.  Appreciating the efforts of the E-Learning Unit for organizing the campaign, Dr. Mohammed S. Assiri, Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, said that these are the types of activities that help students attain academic excellence. Dr. Munassir Alhamami, Chairman, accompanied the E-Learning Unit team during the awareness campaign in some of the classes. Dr. Munassir provided simultaneous translation wherever it was required.    Mr. Mohsin Raza Khan, FLT E-Learning Unit Supervisor, said that the awareness campaign aimed to make level 1 students aware of the necessity and practical use of the King Khalid University E-Learning system (Blackboard).  "To achieve the aim of the campaign, students were contacted individually in their respective classrooms. An e-learning booth was set up, and e-learning brochures and booklets were distributed," said Mr. Khan. Furthermore, he stated, "The Campaign encouraged students to use Blackboard effectively. We were excited that students actively participated in the campaign." The Faculty of Languages and Translation offers a round of applause to the following individuals for their significant contributions and involvement: Mr. Jawed Ahmed Mr. Kamluddin Mr. Matthew Paul Dr. Mohamed Asif Ishfaq Date: 2-18-2018 Source: E-Learning Unit Multimedia Contribution: Javed Ahmed
At the seminar held on February 14, 2018, organized by Language Research Center, at the Faculty of Languages and Translation, Dr. Haseeb Ahmed delivered a presentation titled Environmental Ethics: An Exploration of Islamic Literature. His presentation was primarily centered on key Islamic principles of relevance to environmental ethics and protection. The presentation commenced with significant environmental issues related to pollution and contamination. In this regard, he focused on ecological chasms created by the hazardous emission of excessive greenhouse gases. Among the effects he showed, global warming is worth mentioning. Owing to global warming, the sea level is continuously increasing, and consequently, several islands may be uninhabitable within decades. He discussed well-known international summits and conferences (e.g., Kyoto Protocol 1997, Marrakesh Accords 2001) that were held to address the alarming changes in the environment.  The second half of his presentation emphasized the Islamic literature perspectives on environmental protection. The implication was that, if people adhered to the Islamic beliefs on environmental awareness and protection of natural resources from the very beginning, we would not have faced such catastrophes. While focusing on Islamic literature, he quoted some verses from the Holy Qur’an that emphasize man’s role as a trustee of nature. He also quoted the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) who advised us not to spoil nature and pre-eminent scholars who wrote about the environment and their juristic principles.  The presentation was very informative, and it successfully encouraged the participants to rethink our raison d’etre in an effort to save the environment. Date: 2/15/2018 Source: MD Adil
New students were embraced at the Level 1 Student Orientation on February 6, 2018, in the auditoriums of Building D. Incoming students were greeted with a warm welcome by the English Club and a presentation highlighting what the FLT would bring into their lives.  Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Abdullah Al-Melhi, delivered a heartfelt welcome telling all students that we are all one family.  He introduced the numerous facilities that the FLT provides to students to bolster their experience, and he encouraged students to take advantage of the expanded opportunities we offer at the FLT by completely immersing themselves into campus life and academic events. Any student who missed this event can contact the English Club for further assistance. Date: 02-11-2018 Source: The Faculty of Languages and Translation