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

  In November 2021, Dr. Mazeegha Al-Tale' received a certificate of appreciation from the National eLearning Center (NELC) for reviewing a FutureX learning management system course as part of NELC's ASAS initiative. FutureX, which launched in late October 2021, connects institutions throughout the Kingdom together to support the human capital development objectives of Vision 2030. "It was an honor to be selected as a course reviewer for material appropriateness. While many MOOCs focus on getting knowledge out to as many people as possible, FutureX wants to make sure the knowledge is also useable. EdX, Coursera, and FutureLearn are some of the more well-known partners working with FutureX, and we fully expect an improvement in human capital development through online learning," said Dr. Al-Tale'. Date: 12/24/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  In November 2021, Mohsin Raza Khan received a certificate of appreciation from the National eLearning Center (NELC) for reviewing a FutureX learning management system course as part of NELC's ASAS initiative. FutureX, which launched in late October 2021, connects institutions throughout the Kingdom together to support the human capital development objectives of Vision 2030. "FutureX and the ASAS initiative have several interesting plans in place. In my role as a course reviewer, I leveraged my experience as a QM master reviewer to ensure best practices were found in the MOOC I reviewed. Many of the fundamental best practices and areas reviewed are also based on the E-Learning Practitioner course that is run by the Deanship of E-Learning on an annual basis," said Mohsin.   Of noteworthy mention, Mohsin also led the E-Learning practitioner certification course in November 2021, which is implemented on an annual basis by the Deanship of E-Learning. In that course, dozens of participants throughout King Khalid University learned how to improve student engagement, interaction, and quality learning. These objectives were solidified by the core foundation of the program that participants would be able to: Create content items to present a variety of learning activities to enhance student learning. Deliver authentic assessments to evaluate student knowledge in a variety of meaningful ways. Use Blackboard communication tools to promote interactions between the student and instructor, the student and course content, and the student and peers. Effectively utilize Blackboard Collaborate™ tools to increase student engagement by providing a means to share and create knowledge. Date: 12/24/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  Dr. Ahlullah Siddiqui S/O Mohammad Urwatullah Siddiqui was born on February 24, 1973, to a noble and humble family in Allahabad, UP, India. He died of cardiac arrest on December 9, 2021, in Abha, KSA, at the age of 48 years. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, and a son. His eldest child is a 17-year-old daughter, and all his kids are schoolgoers. Dr. Siddiqui obtained his primary, secondary, and university education from reputed institutions. Since his school days, he was found to be a possessor of certain distinctive traits uncommon among his classmates. He was not only sound academically, but he exhibited all his potentials in extracurricular activities also.   Dr. Ahlullah Siddiqui did his masters in linguistics and literature, M.Phil in English Literature, and a Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics. He also had the opportunity to join as a Fulbright scholar in the Professional Development Programme for English lecturers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.   Dr. Siddiqui has worked in several capacities from time to time. He started his teaching career by teaching English language and literature to adult learners, under the National Open Schooling Program, Delhi, from 1999 to 2004. He also taught English language and literature to pre-university students, at a historical college, under the government of Delhi from 2004 to 2008.   He joined King Khalid University Abha, KSA, in October 2008. Since then, he taught English as a foreign language at the undergraduate level till his death with zeal and zest in the Department of English, Faculty of Languages and Translation. He also served as a coordinator for the English Language Center, King Khalid University Abha, KSA.   Dr. Siddiqui has to his credit, several research articles published in renowned journals covering various themes related to linguistics and literature. He has actively attended several conferences and seminars and has presented quite a good number of research papers related to his specialization.   It was his positive disposition, his reflective ways of operating, and all of the character traits that made him so special. Dr. Siddiqui’s questions never went unanswered. It was his humble and amicable nature that made him look different from his contemporaries.   It is indeed the hardest thing to forget someone who means the world to you. Forgetting a friend like him is like forgetting our own soul – it is just not possible! His sudden disappearance has created a vacuum among us. He will be remembered with warm thoughts and memories.   Having him with us was having great support, a great colleague, a caring brother, and a loving father. Date: 12/17/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  On November 29, 2021, Dr. Mazeegha Al-Tale' led a training webinar for undergraduate and graduate programs in the Faculty of Languages and Translation titled 'Designing CLOS for EFL Courses'. In attendance were around 35 course coordinators and instructors from numerous campuses.   Dr. Al-Tale' began the webinar by explaining the benefits of course learning outcomes (CLOs) to both teachers and students. She stressed the need for teachers to ensure the consistency and alignment of outcomes, materials, methods, and activities because that will help students learn more effectively.   When going through the difference between objectives and outcomes, she explained that course objectives describe an intended state and is more general and open to more than one interpretation. Dr. Al-Tale' then mentioned that learning outcomes are specific and not open to more than one interpretation. "There are 7 characteristics of writing good CLOs. They should be topic-related, domain-related, measurable, specific, concise, clear, and aligned," she said. She then showed the 4 criteria to consider when writing CLOs, stressing CLOs need to be aligned with program learning outcomes, course objectives, content, teaching methods, teaching activities, and assessment tools. At the conclusion of her presentation, there was a lively question and answer session where participants had the opportunity to discuss course learning outcomes and how they align. Please click here to view a recording of the event. Date: 11/29/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  On November 27, 2021, Dr. Abdulwahid Al Zumor led a training webinar for undergraduate and graduate programs in the Faculty of Languages and Translation titled 'Course Learning Outcomes'. In attendance were around 55 course coordinators and instructors from numerous campuses.   Dr. Al Zumor began the webinar by explaining that course learning outcomes (CLOs) are the brain and heart of the course specification. He stressed the need to utilize the models provided in level 6 of the NQF-KSA because it acts as a key nexus that reinforces and consolidates relationships between education and training on the one hand and the practical and realistic requirements of the labor market on the other. When going through the knowledge/understanding, skills, and values learning domains, he related that values also include autonomy and responsibility. "Effective learning outcomes are student-centered, measurable, concise, meaningful, achievable, and outcome-based," he said. He then showed examples of both well-written and poorly constructed CLOs, emphasizing the importance of quantifiable CLOs, whether direct or indirect. At the conclusion of his presentation, there was a call to action to write the main course objective from the instructor's perspective and to have a variety of assessments. Please click here to view a recording of the event. Date: 11/27/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation