The goal of this presentation is to demonstrate how language learning experiences inside the classroom can be greatly improved through classroom-community connections. Such connections provide interesting and necessary venues for our students to learn/improve their digital literacy and to make meaningful connections to the course objectives.
Students in this project took three courses related to the Middle East: two courses in beginning Arabic language and one on culture of the Arab world. These students continued to be interested in learning more, yet due to a limitation in human resources in our program class offerings are limited at the advanced level. As a step towards meeting this demand, this oral history community-based project was created to connect students’ classroom learning experiences to the local community of Arabic speakers in the Columbus, Ohio area. In this presentation, I will be demonstrating the details of this project, first in terms of its logistics, i.e., starting with obtaining human subject IRB certificates to reading related literature to preparing consent forms to preparing project questions. Then I will explain the pedagogical values of the project which include, but are not limited to, developing student’s linguistic, cultural and digital competencies, training them on skills necessary to conduct oral interviews and asking important questions, developing their communication skills, extending scholarly opportunities for students to conduct field research in areas of their interest that have not been possible via regular course work, thus creating opportunities for community involvement and increasing students’ sense of responsibility in civic engagements.
Presenter: Cheryl Johnson (Denison University)