The Far East Meets the Middle East in Riyadh: Saudi and Chinese Delegations Convene to Establish Chinese Language Programs in the Kingdom

 

Several weeks ago, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense, met with a delegation of high-level government officials of the People's Republic of China on a diplomatic mission. The parties agreed to increasing the level of economic and social collaboration between the two nations.

 

In support of these cooperative efforts, His Royal Highness committed to teaching the Chinese language in primary schools, secondary schools, and universities in the Kingdom. The People's Republic of China agreed to help facilitate Chinese language learning through its own Ministry of Education.

 

The Confucius Institute is a Chinese Ministry of Education outreach initiative that is used to promote Chinese language learning and cultural exchange on an international basis. The Institute sends Chinese language teacher/representatives to schools and universities around the world. Many of the Chinese teachers sent abroad are college graduates who are trained as Chinese language instructors for non-native speakers. The cost of the program is shared by the Chinese government and the international host. Schools around the Kingdom will be hosting the Chinese teachers.

 

King Khalid University has already taken substantial steps to implement this new program. The Faculty of Languages & Translation is spearheading the effort on behalf of the university. Faculty of Languages & Translation Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi is leading the initiative for King Khalid University.

 

On April 26, 2019, a Chinese delegation flew to Riyadh to meet with several prominent Saudi universities including: King Saud University, King Abdulaziz University, Tabuk University, Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University, Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University, and of course King Khalid University. Dean Al-Melhi met with the Chinese delegates, Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) Deputy Director-General, Yu Yunfeng, and Beijing Language and Culture University Vice President, Zhang Baojun. The purpose of the meeting was to begin the planning process for programs at the respective universities.

 

Deputy Director-General Yunfeng said (by way of an interpreter) "I am pleased to be a part of this new venture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am so glad that our two nations have joined in cooperation for our mutual benefit." Vice President Baojun said (also through an interpreter) "We are looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship between our two countries. All of us have so much we can teach and learn from one another."

 

After much discussion between and among the attendees, the Saudi representatives of the various institutions arranged for follow-up actions that will allow the initiatives to proceed quickly and in an orderly fashion. Great progress was made with the Chinese delegation on establishing preliminary logistics requirements and resource allocation at King Khalid University.

 

Dean Al-Melhi noted "This was more than your basic 'meet & greet'. The Chinese language initiative is an ambitious project with an aggressive schedule. Bringing this program to fruition will require a high level of cooperation and hard work among all stakeholders. We have already negotiated certain plans, and the project is moving forward. This is such a large undertaking, and it requires that an entirely new department be created under the Faculty of Languages & Translation. We will stay focused and on point; ultimately we will succeed."

 

The Faculty of Languages & Translation is committed to the Chinese language initiative and to improving the university's existing language programs. Language learning is an important component of the national socio-economic development plans, and an essential part of Vision 2030. King Khalid University is dedicated to achieving regional, national and international goals while encouraging good citizenship and social cohesion.


Date: 4-27-2019

Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation

  Under the supervision of Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi, the Faculty of Languages and Translation has received approval to launch its first doctor of philosophy (PhD) program, beginning fall 2020.   The degree will be in applied linguistics and under English Department supervision. The approval comes from the Ministry of Education in line with the National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment (NCAAA) standards in time for fall enrollment to begin.   "We have many gifted language teachers and researchers in the region who could, through the PhD in Applied Linguistics program, enhance their qualifications and skills, making it possible for them to contribute to the solution of practical language problems that occur in educational and professional institutions locally and regionally," said Vice Dean for Higher Studies and Scientific Research, Dr. Munassir Alhamami.   The decision to expand the FLT's graduate programs is best characterized as a team effort with many colleagues over the years participating. While we cannot individually recount each person for their contributions, we are deeply appreciative to all who generously donated their time and effort.   The primary target audience for the PhD in Applied Linguistics includes new professionals who have recently graduated from a master's program in applied linguistics, licensed Ministry of Education English teachers who hold a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics or a related field, and highly qualified international students with native-like fluency in both Arabic and English.   For more information about the new program, please contact Graduate Programs Coordinator, Dr. Ismail Alrefaai, at ikalrefaai@kku.edu.sa or visit https://flt.kku.edu.sa/en/content/2288. Apply by visiting the Deanship of Admissions and Registration's website at https://registration.kku.edu.sa/kku/ui/guest/application_online/index/typeHighApplicationOnlineIndex.faces. Date: 5/15/2020 Source: Faculty of Languages & Translation
  On May 4, 2020, the Guidance and Counselling Unit, in cooperation with the English Club, organized an online webinar titled 'Staying Home & Time Management' delivered by Dr. Karem Abdelatif Ahmed. The purpose of the webinar, which was attended by nearly 50 participants, was to show students that time management during these trying times is about taking control of the time available and optimizing it for productivity, keeping in mind life balance and well-being.   Guidance and Counselling Unit Head, Dr. Dawood Mahdi, and English Club Director, Khalid Al-Qasemi, jointly supervised the event and thanked the students for their attendance, noting that they are conscious of the challenges students face during this crisis.   Dr. Karem Ahmed began his program by stating, "The aim of good time management is to achieve the lifestyle balance." He noted that spending more time on something doesn't necessarily achieve more. Focusing on results in the most simplest and productive way creates value in that managing time effectively is not about working harder. Dr. Karem Ahmed then provided 10 tips for time management and stated his strategy: "Remember that successful time management today can result in greater personal happiness, greater accomplishments at home and at work, increased productivity, and a more satisfying future." In short, Dr. Karem Ahmed admonished the students to achieve their education and personal goals through effective time management.   Near the conclusion of the webinar, students were introduced to 'Real Life Stories'. Dr. Karem Ahmed narrated a series of stories designed to instill life lessons in our students to help them reach their potential. During this time, participants were allowed to chime in with some stories of their own. Academic Development & Quality Unit Head, Dr. Hasan Jaashan, commented that students are to make use of this time, citing examples from history of philosophers who engaged in groundbreaking discoveries while the world was in quarantine. Agreeing with Dr. Jaashan, Dr. Mahmoud Radwan spoke about how Daniel Defoe's master of social distancing, Robinson Crusoe, speaks across the centuries, especially now as we face the COVID-19 pandemic. On the island, Crusoe sees the beauty of the simple things in life and discovers new and unexpected sources of fulfillment. Those fulfillments, explained Dr. Karem Ahmed, can be realized by being closer to Allah.   The Faculty of Languages and Translation is committed to providing world-class language education and empowering the students with the tools to succeed in challenging academic programs. Date: 5/7/2020 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  On 10 March 2020, we reported that E-Learning Unit Supervisor, Mohsin Khan, delivered a university-wide webinar, which also included a curated session to the English Language Center on 11 March 2020, titled 'Transformation to Full E-Learning'. In those webinars, Mr. Khan introduced faculty members to useful content and tool areas within Blackboard that are needed to be able to effectively conduct their classes online. It is worth noting that as a result of questions from students about the logistics of virtual learning, a special webinar was held on 14 March 2020 in which Mr. Khan led students through a practical session of how to use Blackboard Ultra and efficiently use different content areas within Blackboard from the student perspective.   Commenting on the recent events, Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi noted that some of our students who live in remote areas will feel the shift to online most intensely. "We have to ensure that we are flexible and take issues on a case-by-case basis. We need a variety of assessments with grades communicated to students on a frequent and timely basis," he said.   In response to Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi's call for a variety of assessments and timely grade notifications, English Department Chair, Dr. Munassir Alhamami, and Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, commissioned Mr. Khan to deliver a webinar titled "Using Blackboard for Online Assessment" on 21 March 2020. In that webinar, Mr. Khan led approximately 70 faculty members through the fundamentals of how to create and deploy over 15 types of assessment types, including assignments and the discussion board. Additional technical training was provided on how to export created tests and share within the same course across different sections and teachers.   An active question and answer session followed shortly after the conclusion of the training in which the topic of cheating was discussed. It was noted that no purely online assessment system can prevent all forms. However, some steps were provided, such as randomizing questions and answers. At the end of the session, Chairman Alhamami recognized that the level of anxiety due to the sudden switch to online learning is high, noting that in time and with more familiarity, it will get better.   Of noteworthy mention, Mr. Khan will lead an additional Blackboard assessment training webinar tailored to students on 22 March 2020. Date: 21 March 2020 Source: Faculty of Languages & Translation
  On March 10, 2020, E-Learning Unit Supervisor, Mohsin Khan, delivered a university-wide workshop titled 'Transformation to Full E-Learning'. The workshop, under the supervision of the Deanship of E-Learning's Training Manager, Mohammed Jarallah, was developed to ensure faculty members, whether they are seasoned experts or first-time users, understand the essentials of posting documents, assignments, quizzes, tests, videos, and discussion boards. Perhaps the most important part of the webinar, which was attended by nearly 200 faculty members, was the in-depth review of the specific features and functionality of Blackboard Collaborate and Blackboard Ultra.   With the evolving public health situation presented by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), proper precautions were put in place for our teachers at King Khalid University to increase their online teaching presence. "A huge part of your success will be leveraging the technology we have made available to you. Blackboard Collaborate is a synchronous video conferencing tool that you can add files to and share your screen. I recommend that you use the virtual whiteboard to interact," said Mr. Khan. He also looked at both the 'Collaborate: Ultra Experience' and the 'Collaborate: Original Experience'. The main difference between the options – which are both offered – is that 'Ultra' is an entirely web-based interface while 'Original' requires that Java be installed.   As course content, course design, and instructor readiness are essential to implementing the best practices of online pedagogy, Mr. Khan also introduced participants to the eight standards of Quality Matters, which will ensure faculty members achieve the university's goals for delivering quality online learning. This set the foundation for the suggested online classroom model, which places focus on not just the platform, but also interactivity.   Of noteworthy mention, an adapted version of this webinar was delivered to teachers of the English Language Center on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Commenting on future webinars, English Department Chairman, Dr. Munassir Alhamami, said, "We plan to hold a similar webinar this Monday. You will learn best practices, available tools, and where to find support for teaching your classes online. I will be a part of that webinar and highly encourage you to attend." Date: 3/12/2020 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  With the commitment to advancing the practice of quality teaching, the Women's Academic Development and Quality Committee organized the "Usefulness and Learnability in Teaching Vocabulary to ESL/EFL Students" workshop on Monday, 24 February 2020. The workshop was conducted by Ms. Shanjida Halim, Ms.Tanzina Halim and Dr. Rizwana Wahid. The workshop was tailored to new teachers, graduate students, and teachers who have not taught ENG 214 Vocabulary Building 1 or ENG 219 Vocabulary Building 2. The objectives of the workshop were as follows:   Importance of vocabulary as ''the building blocks of a language ''and some basic principles; Types of Vocabulary; Incidental vs. Intentional Acquisition/Learning of Vocabulary; What to teach while teaching vocabulary; Different/Various ways of presenting and Teaching Vocabulary; Selection of Vocabulary: Two Criteria: Usefulness and Learnability in teaching vocabulary; Tips/Suggestions on promoting long-term retention.   The workshop mainly focused on the selection of vocabulary, which is very important for teachers to have awareness of. The two criteria: 'Usefulness' and 'Learnability' in teaching vocabulary were discussed in detail. Apart from this, the trainers emphasized on active vocabulary of the target language, which every learner needs to have to be a fluent speaker and an effective writer. The workshop was concluded by recommending some useful strategies of teaching and learning vocabulary, and the presenters urged all practicing teachers of vocabulary to promote long-term retention of vocabulary in ESL/EFL students.   The workshop proved to be very informative. Dr. Salma Musleh, Dean's Assistant, Dr. Mona Al Shihry, Vice Dean, Dr. Nada Alqarni, Head of the Department, esteemed colleagues, and graduate students attended this workshop. Date: 3/11/2020 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation