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Employer Advisory Board Calls for Labor Market Alignment

  During the first week of April 2021, the Vice Deanship of Academic Development and Quality at the Faculty of Languages and Translation met with the Employer Advisory Board (EAB) to leverage the EAB's knowledge of labor markets, in-demand skills, and pedagogy at the Bachelor of Arts in English program (BAEP). The main purpose of the meetings — held across several days — was to obtain feedback that can be used to create a more well-rounded education that satisfies the demand for skilled employees.   The EAB at BAEP represents an industry partnership that enables continuous evaluation, development, and performance improvement in our educational offering linked to regional economic development and labor market needs. As such, during the meetings in April 2021 — and during all prior meetings — the EAB examined labor requirements to ensure BAEP's Mission Statement, Program Learning Outcomes, Graduate Attributes, and Study Plan are aligned with labor market demands.   The list of experts in BAEP's Advisory Board includes:   Mushabab Abu Eshi, currently the General Secretary at the Abha Chamber of Commerce. Musa Ahmed, currently a vice-principal at a local high school. Afan Al-Qahtani, currently the Women's Asir Region Supervisor at Saudi National Bank. Sultan Al-Qahtani, currently Head of Strategy at Aseer Development Authority, a newly formed administration from the government sector with a mandate to supervise planning and implementation of a regional development strategy for the Asir Region. Hussein Asiri, currently the Men's Department of English Head at the Ministry of Education in Asir. Laila Mohammed, currently the Women's Department of English Head at the Ministry of Education in Asir.   The EAB commended the program for responding to workforce needs by cultivating creative graduates with valuable skills that businesses need to thrive, noting that our English majors are versatile working across industries because of their ability to critique and analyze written expression. They especially appreciated the linguistic skills of our graduates, which complements the increased demand for English language proficiency and helps to overcome cultural barriers in the trade of services, goods, and tourism. EAB members from the Ministry of Education and Abha Chamber of Commerce called for increased focus on practical speaking modules in current courses, which is one of the 4 macro skills in communication.   Afnan Al-Qahtani, Women's Asir Region Supervisor at Saudi National Bank, explained that soft skills are as vital as hard skills. She highlighted the need to invite seasoned guest speakers to deliver impactful soft skills training because employers are looking for graduates who can demonstrate competence in communicating well with others, showing initiative and responsibility, and working well in teams.   The Aseer Development Authority (ASDA) recommended integrating course learning outcomes on English for tourism purposes with a practical component into current courses. ASDA Head of Strategy, Sultan Al-Qahtani, explained that the newly launched Soudah Development Company (SDC), wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), will create thousands of new jobs by 2030 as a result of a multibillion-dollar investment in tourism infrastructure and attractions throughout the region. Date: 4/12/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
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FLT Delivers Test Preparation for IELTS to Ministry of Education Teachers

  On 31 March 2021, Hassan Costello and Dr. Sayyed Rashid Ali Shah delivered an in-service teacher training webinar to 145 participants. The webinar, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education in Asir and Rijal Alma on "IELTS Listening and Speaking" by Hassan Costello and "IELTS Preparation: Reading & Writing!" by Dr. Sayyed Rashid Ali Shah, provided both male and female teachers with exam-specific tips and how to answer different question types.   After introductions by Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, Costello began the webinar by reviewing the content of the IELTS Listening Test, and then he moved on to provide a lot of useful tips. He explained that the IELTS Listening Test is not only about listening to the recording but also about understanding the content and finding answers at the same time. "When you have your test, you need to listen to the recording, read the questions, and at the same time write down your answers. At one time, you are listening, reading, and writing. You really are multitasking during this listening test. It can be quite difficult, and it's something that you do need to practice." He then explained that concentration is the biggest challenge for test-takers. He noted that test-takers really need to concentrate during the IELTS Listening test because if focus is lost at any time, test-takers will miss an answer and lose their place in the recording. He then moved on to discuss how test-takers can do well on the 3 parts of the IELTS Speaking Test. He encouraged test takers to avoid yes or no responses in part 1 and expand their answers through examples. "The speaking task has three different parts to it: part one, part two, and part three. In part two, candidates are expected to speak for about two minutes, and there is no interruption. In part 3, it's more like an interview. If the examiner asks you some sort of question, you respond and they ask you another question, or they might ask you to go deeper into the first question. Sometimes they'll ask you to predict something, you might compare, and they might ask you to give your opinion. Remember that part 3 is based on a theme. In part 2 you're given something to describe and it might be a historical building, it might be a teacher you really liked, it might be an object precious to you. Part 3 continues from part 2, so whatever you talked about in part 2 you're going to talk about in part 3 but at a more abstract level." Towards the end of his part of the webinar, Costello advised potential test-takers not to worry about accents or about mistakes. "It's okay if you have an accent in terms of your pronunciation mark. The main thing they're looking for is that you speak clearly and they can understand what you're saying. Don't worry if you make mistakes. Treat this almost like a conversation."   Dr. Shah then began by noting a lot of the strategies covered on the IELTS Listening Test are applicable to the IELTS Reading Test, and he will provide 10 reading strategies and 6 writing strategies that candidates often need to remember. "I'll try to share my personal experience with you because I went through these different stages in my academic life. I took IELTS as a student, and more than twice I moved on, and at the end, I reached the target of becoming an IELTS examiner," he said. Dr. Shah then highlighted that there are 11-14 various types of questions, explaining that awareness of the types of questions along with identifying the types of questions will help candidates to score well. Dr. Shah then emphasized the importance of skimming and scanning long passages. He related that it would be difficult to answer all 40 questions without efficient skimming and scanning techniques. "Candidates are usually not very much familiar with the types of texts included in the IELTS academic module or general training. Reading articles online will help to widen reading skills and develop familiarity with complex texts and passages," he said. Towards the end of his part of the webinar, Dr. Shah highlighted Task 2 of IELTS Academic Writing, explaining that techniques can be applied to writing a letter in the general training module or to describe a graph or pie chart, which is Task 1 in IELTS Academic Writing. After, he explained that the IELTS Writing rubric evaluates four different aspects of your responses: Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, and Task Response. Dr. Shah then provided examples of each of the 4 aspects, noting that they should not be ignored. "It is important that you understand the question. Understanding questions solves half of the problem," he said.   The Bachelor of Arts in English program at the Faculty of Languages and Translation is committed to participating in community partnership activities as part of its role in the community partnership plan at King Khalid University. Date: 4/7/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
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Course Design: The Backwards Model

  On March 21, Dr. Sheila Simpkins delivered an in-service instructor training webinar to almost 500 attendees in cooperation with the Ministry of Education Directorate in the Asir region and Rijal Alma entitled "Course Design: The Backwards Model". She began the webinar by asking participants to reflect on the question "What is your role in the classroom?" According to Dr. Sheila, the answer to this question is fundamental to course design.   She indicated that best practices in educational research tells us that we need to shift from the direct transmission view of the teacher's role towards the constructivist view. She introduced Bloom's taxonomy as a powerful tool to help teachers plan lesson/unit/course/program objectives that are in line with constructivist views of teaching/learning where the teacher is a facilitator, and the students are actively engaged and involved in learning. Best practices in teaching encourage teachers to set learning objectives that require higher-order thinking skills such as analyzing, evaluating, and creating.   Having introduced these two principals Dr. Sheila shared the backwards model of course design. She indicated that teachers should plan 'backwards' beginning with the end in mind. Teachers should ask themselves three questions.   Where do I want my students to 'be' by the end of this sequence of work? How will I know whether they have gotten there? What are the best strategies to support students on this journey?   Dr. Sheila indicated that all course design should take the constructivist view of teaching/learning into consideration.   With that in mind, she indicated that   Course learning objectives/outcomes should be student-centered, concrete, and observable/measurable. Bloom's taxonomy should be used here. Assessment/assignments should be aligned with the learning objectives and they should be authentic. This means the assignments/activities that students are engaged in to learn the material are also used to evaluate their accomplishments. Assessment/assignments should be student structured, and direct evidence. Examples of this kind of assessment are role play, drama, student portfolios, journals, debates, and presentations. Rubrics should be used to measure performance. In the constructivist view, traditional paper-based measurement should be kept to a minimum. Teaching strategies should match assessment. In other words, how you assess is how you teach. Conversely, how you teach is how you assess. Then you plan course content and select course materials—what textbook/film/speaker will speak to the topics and help accomplish learning objectives. The last step is to create the course schedule and sequencing. Activities must be organized to provide sufficient practice, skills must build upon another, and there must be sufficient time for feedback. Date: 3/28/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
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Faculty Members Receive Plaques of Appreciation for Teacher Training Webinars

  On 14 March 2021, faculty members were delighted to be invited to attend an award ceremony at the General Directorate of Education in Asir where Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, was presented with several plaques of appreciation for the management and implementation of the first in-service EFL teacher training series of webinars to over 500 teachers in the Asir Public School System.   Director of Education in Asir, Saad Al-Jouni, welcomed all participating faculty members in attendance, noting that the Faculty of Languages and Translation demonstrated outstanding work. He looked forward to increased cooperation and commended the professional development series of webinars developed under the supervision of leadership at the Faculty of Languages and Translation. Deputy Director, Safar Al-Butaidi, and Administrative Supervisor, Mohammed Al-Tarish, echoed Director Al-Jouni's remarks and called for increased cooperation.   The webinars, generously supported by the technical capabilities of King Khalid University's Deanship of E-Learning, were also run under the supervision of Department of English Head, Hussein Asiri, at the General Directorate of Education in Asir. Asiri explained that continuous professional development of teachers will increase awareness of best practices in the latest modern teaching methods.   The following faculty members received plaques of appreciation for past and/or future planned work:   Dean, Dr. Abdulllah Al-Melhi; Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa; Mr. Hassan Costello; Dr. Sara Huseynova; Mr. Mohsin Raza Khan; Dr. Sayyed Rashid Ali Shah. Dr. Sheila Simpkins.   The Bachelor of Arts in English program is committed to offering expertise to teaching staff in the Asir Public School System in accordance with a plan that meets their needs and contributes to the development of their performance. Date: 3/15/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
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Academic Writing Webinar: Session 7

  On March 3, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the seventh and last session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni.   "It is highly recommended the inclusion of a short concluding section", said Dr. Alqarni. Most readers can read the conclusion as well as the abstract as they summarize the main findings of the research paper in a non-technical language, as she further illustrated. Dr. Alqarni explained the main purpose of the conclusion: "To clearly signal to the reader that the writing is finished and to leave a clear impression that the purpose has been achieved". She also indicated that there are several features of the conclusion; among them are the provision of a summary for the whole paper and the explanation of the paper's main purpose. Accordingly, she emphasized in the "possible structures of the conclusion" that the conclusion should be concise and clear.   After that, Dr. Alqarni illustrated some common mistakes that the author should steer clear of in his/her conclusion. Additionally, she stated that the author should use basic synthesis of information in the conclusion. She also emphasized that he/she should restate results, highlight achievements, outline possible applications and implications of the work, and propose future work for third parties to carry out in his/her conclusion.   Following this section about the conclusion, Dr. Alqarni moved to discuss the abstract, which was the second part of this session. "The abstract is a very important paragraph at the beginning of your research paper'', said Dr. Alqarni. She pointed out that there are many features of the research paper abstracts. She also indicated that there are two main approaches to writing research paper abstracts: "a result-driven'' abstract and "a research paper summary abstract". Dr. Alqarni further illustrated the correct order of the research paper abstract. She finally displayed an example of an abstract from the article "Use of a Writing Websites by Pre-Masters Students on an English for Academic Purposes Course".   By the end of the seventh session of the academic writing series of webinars, attendees had the opportunity to ask their questions and share their suggestions and thoughts. Date: 3/5/2021 Source: Khairyah Al-Beshri - Scientific Research Committee
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Academic Writing Webinar: Session 6

  On March 3, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the sixth session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni.   This webinar was designed to investigate the discussion of results in a research paper. In the discussions section, writers have greater freedom than in the introduction or in the literature review. "By the time readers reach the discussion, authors can assume a fair amount of shared knowledge", illustrated Dr. Nada at the beginning of the webinar. "They can assume that the reader has understood the purpose of the study, obtained a sense of the methodology, and followed along with the results".   The purpose of the discussion section is to show that the results lead clearly to the conclusion being drawn. This may include any limitations that might cause problems with any claims being made as well as any possible explanations for these results.   Dr. Alqarni asserted that discussion should be more than a summary. It should go beyond the results. It should be more theoretical, abstract, or general. It should be more integrated with the field, more connected to the real world, or more concerned with implications or application.   She further indicated that in the discussion section a researcher should step back and take a broad look at the findings of the study and the study as a whole. "The discussion section moves from the narrow specific focus of the research to a more general view. It must clearly show how the results lead to the conclusions being drawn and therefore how these conclusions should be understood and any possible explanations for these results", she said. This should include any limitations that might cause problems with any claims being made.   A discussion section should include the following elements: a reference to the main purpose of the study, a generalized review of the most important findings (i.e., summary of results), possible explanations for the findings in general, comparison with expected results and other studies, limitations of the overall study that restrict the extent to which the findings can be generalized, and the conclusion of the discussion section. In the discussion section, the researcher should not simply repeat all the details, attempt to cover all the information, or claim more than is reasonable or defensible, she illustrated.   Dr. Alqarni also referred to the qualifications and strength of claims in the discussion section and gave examples of using modal auxiliaries to weaken claims. She also highlighted the language used in the discussion section with examples.   The webinar, which was mainly delivered to MA and Ph.D. students and attended by staff members of the Faculty of Languages and Translation and other faculties, witnessed overwhelming participation.   The series of academic writing webinars — organized by the Scientific Research Committee — consisted of seven sessions that were held every Monday and Wednesday from February 10 to March 3, 2021, at 4:30 pm. Date: 3/4/2021 Source: Dr. Amal Metwally - Head of Scientific Research Committee
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Teaching Language Skills: Basic Ideas and Techniques for Instructing Listening and Speaking

  On February 28, 2021, Dr. Sara Sevinj Huseynova delivered an in-service instructor training webinar to almost 500 attendees. The webinar, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education Directorate in the Asir region and Rijal Alma on "Teaching Language Skills: Basic Ideas and Techniques for Instructing Listening and Speaking", was warmly received by local participants and attendees from around the Kingdom.   The Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Translation, Dr. Abdullah Al-Melhi, opened the webinar by underlining the effectiveness of initiating the interaction of instructors teaching the same subject in order to improve their performance. Dean Al-Melhi then introduced keynote speaker Sara Huseynova, who he pointed out as well "needs no introduction".   Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, related that he planned this event after receiving a request from the local Directorate of Education, underlining that it was an excellent opportunity for the Faculty of Languages and Translation to provide a unique instructor training opportunity that combines professional growth opportunity with online discussions in a very business-like manner.   Following after, Dr. Huseynova started the webinar presentation noting that languages are learned through excitement and not through fear of mistakes, and shared her knowledge on how to inspire the students for a greater attitude to learning English and the 4 basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. She pointed out the necessity to balance those skills and practice them according to the new tendencies in the language's instruction. "The same way languages are taught at the English Department of the FLT," she stressed.   Dr. Huseynova then started the discussion of the skills teaching general approach in applied linguistics like the focal method, content-based instruction and also, task-based approach, which is currently widely used in language instruction worldwide.   Participants were then introduced to the fact that the core principles of teaching listening and speaking with the task-based approach are generally the same even though one is receptive and the other one is productive. The principles, Dr. Huseynova said, are communicative teaching, interactive and task-based learning, learner-centered instruction, group and blended learning. According to sociolinguists, communication takes place mainly visually, and also, vocally and verbally. In the communicative approach, she added, students might successfully be engaged in interactive learning, which also involves authentic language input in real-world contexts.   The keynote speaker also emphasized the appropriateness of the textbook: the material used might well include various culture and gender-appropriate topics and interactive activities that invite students to talk and respond. Moreover, teachers need to prepare lesson plans based on the textbook; however, the general instructional line of the lesson should, by all means, involve the ideas of communicative approach in action.   Dr. Huseynova recommends that the teachers help students have proper exposure to genuine English usage. The teachers should apply both controlled and non-controlled techniques along with efficient but not overwhelming use of technology in class. The presenter mentioned real-life characteristics and difficulties of listening and speaking processes, making oral communication difficult to teach, evermore during online instruction with so much possible distraction. Overall, the lessons should be fully learner-centered with less lecturing or reduced "Teacher Talk Time", with the instructor being a role model and art director to improve student-teacher interaction.   While explaining the interactive teacher roles, the presenter focused on unlocking the students' knowledge before letting the students practice listening, which activates their schematic knowledge. Pre-listening encourages discussion around the theme of the unit with inspiration from interesting questions and striking visuals. Pre-listening may include pronunciation practice as well, which may help improve the overall listening comprehension, and post-listening activities can deepen the development of all 4 core language skills.   The keynote speaker also explained in detail the basic principles of modern teaching strategies for listening, creative and interactive teacher roles, how to encourage students to listen and talk, and assessment methods, the necessity to provide the appropriate feedback in a manner that will be well-received by the students, for the right feedback to "make the students' brains smarter, even happier."   Later, she mentioned the appropriateness of using the flipped classroom model for teaching listening and speaking, especially during online education. In the traditional classroom, a lower level of understanding happens in class. With the flipped classroom model, learning is flipped, and the students can finish the lower level of cognitive work before the lesson starts, and the teacher will continue with applying the knowledge and practicing listening and speaking skills in class. The visual flipped Maslow's pyramid on Bloom's Taxonomy was a striking explanation of the usefulness of the flipped classroom method of teaching 4 skills, particularly online during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The conclusion was that it is very important to create an effective rapport with the students and share the appropriate knowledge they need. An instructor is to praise the students in a balanced way with mild criticism while giving corrective feedback, with a genuine heart-felt attitude and desire to help the student, which shows the teacher's genuine interest in each and every student's performance and language growth. The feedback should be given tactfully so that the students are not embarrassed or anxious, by any means not to lose interest in learning English.   Dr. Huseynova guided participants through a series of strategies they can use to evaluate and improve their online instruction, after which she took numerous questions from the audience, and the discussion of those questions lasted for an additional hour which shows the participants were so eager for the professional interaction concerning their professional growth. Dean Al-Melhi and Vice Dean Almosa actively participated in the ensuing discussions and exchange of views.   Overall, the webinar was, as Dean Al-Melhi noted, as informative and interesting as having a "lighthouse effect" on the participants. The webinar was a great success with 500 teacher-participants. The Bachelor of Arts in English program at the Faculty of Languages and Translation is committed to participating in community collaboration projects as part of its role in the Community Partnership Plan at King Khalid University. Date: 3-5-2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
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Academic Writing Webinar: Session 5

  On February 24, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the fifth session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni. This session was designed to explore reporting qualitative results of scientific research papers.   Dr. Nada Alqarni started the session by highlighting the purpose of qualitative reports. "It is designed to provide a rich and vivid description so that the reader can vicariously experience what it is like to be in the same situation as the research participants", said Dr. Alqarni. She also referred to the characteristics of qualitative reports. She indicated that these are such reports that have more freedom, diversity, and disagreement. There are no fixed formats to follow in writing such reports.   In addition, Dr. Alqarni described the structure of a qualitative report. Good qualitative reports display a smoothly flowing, natural rhythm of text and quotes. They provide some contextual information to the quotations concerning the social situation and the communicative context. This kind of report deals with data that are not easily reduced to numbers. "Data that are related to concepts, opinions, values and behaviors of people in social contexts", she illustrated. These could be transcripts of individual interviews and focus groups, field notes from observation of certain activities, copies of documents, or audio/video recordings. She further defined qualitative analysis as the range of processes and procedures whereby we move from qualitative data that have been collected into some form of explanation, understanding or interpretation of the people and situation being investigated. It is usually based on an interpretive philosophy. The idea is to examine the meaningful and symbolic content of qualitative data.   The approaches in the analysis are both deductive and inductive. The "deductive approach" is used when time and resources are limited. It is generally used when qualitative research is a smaller component of a larger quantitative study. On the other hand, the "inductive approach" is used when qualitative research is a major design of the inquiry. It is implemented using an emergent framework to group the data and then look for relationships.   Dr. Alqarni identified the steps for writing the report, the tools for helping the analytical process, and the variation in the format and language use.   The webinar, which was organized primarily for MA & Ph.D. students, witnessed resounding success and was attended by staff members and postgraduate students from different faculties of the university. It is worthwhile to mention that attendees who will attend at least five of the seven webinars on academic writing will get a certificate of attendance after the end of sessions. Date: 2/28/2021 Source: Dr. Amal Metwally - Head of Scientific Research Committee
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تهنئة

تبارك كلية اللغات والترجمة عودة المبتعث سعادة الدكتور عيسى أحمد عسيري بعد حصوله على درجة الدكتوراه في تخصص الترجمة من جامعة مكواري بدولة أستراليا ‏تمنياتنا لسعادته بالتوفيق والعون لخدمة الوطن الغالي
English

Academic Writing Webinar: Session 4

  On February 22, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the fourth session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni.   The session, titled "Reporting Quantitative Results", started with a discussion on how to structure the results in a research paper. It stated the ways of reporting the two results – the quantitative and the qualitative. In this session, the focus was on quantitative results. An explanation was given on statistical concepts and analysis.   The next section described an acceptable results section and an unacceptable results section, showing that an acceptable results section should always tell a story, whereas an unacceptable results section gives a long and tedious analysis.   Dr. Alqarni also focused on how the results should be presented and interpreted. It was mentioned that an appropriate statistical program should be used. In this case, the software SPSS was introduced. The analysis should be completed using descriptive statistics, mean, median, standard deviation, frequencies, and proportions for the variables.   The next step discussed how the results should be presented. It was suggested to make use of sub-sections and sub-headings to organize the results for the readers. Then it was mentioned that there are various charts, graphs, and tables that can be used to support the results, but tables and graphs should be presented only when necessary.   Dr. Alqarni also focused on the common purposes of data along with comparing and evaluating different sets of data. Towards the end of the session, she also focused on what kind of language should be used for reporting results.   The session was attended by students and faculty members from the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs of the Faculty of Languages and Translation. Date: 2/24/2021 Source: Ms. Tanzina Halim - Member of the Scientific Research Committee
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