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A 'Native Speaker' Doesn't Guarantee a Good Teacher

Searching for the right language teacher for your Arabic studies can, at first, seem very easy.  Search online and you'll see Arabic classes taught by 'Native Speakers' all over the place, ready to teach you the language.  Because there are over 300 million native Arabic speakers in the world, does that mean that you can just choose any of those 'Native Speakers' to teach you Arabic?

I wouldn't count on it.

If you were to learn English, would you choose any 'ole "Native English Speaker" to teach you everything about the language?  Or would you choose someone who really knows the rules of English, who has studied it in depth and knows how to teach it properly?  Would you choose that uneducated lad that lives in a Podunk town in the middle of nowhere?  Would ya'll learn English from him?  Sure, he may be able to teach you that "It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep" but is that really going to help you go study a complex book, a religious text or speak to a professional in your work-field?

The same goes for Arabic.


As there are many individuals and websites out there that claim to have teachers that are 'Native Arabic Speakers', this doesn't mean that they are or have teachers that have actually studied the Arabic language and how to teach it.  Here are a few qualifications that I advise any Arabic student to consider when selecting who they learn the language from.

  1. An Arabic teacher should have a higher education degree in the Arabic language or at the very least should have  a solid foundation of knowledge of the Arabic language as well as experience in teaching the language.  Some programs on the Internet are deceiving in this aspect.  Maybe the teachers do have a higher education degree (Bachelor, Master, etc), but it's not in the Arabic Language!  Many 'Native Arabic Speakers' go to the university for an English degree and go on to teach Arabic.  Would you hire a teacher who has a degree in English to teach you Arabic?  I wouldn't.

  2. An Arabic teacher should know how to teach and convey the Arabic language.  Not only that, but they should know how to teach it to a non-Arabic speaker, as the approach in teaching is very different than that of teaching an Arabic speaker.

  3. Learning any language, especially Arabic, is not just about learning vocabulary, reading and writing.  It's about getting a peek hole into the culture and history.  In addition, for the majority of Arabic students, it's about getting to a higher level of understanding and comprehending Al-Qur'an.  A qualified Arabic teacher should understand this and know how to implement this into the studies and teaching of the language.

  4. Lastly, because learning Arabic for many students is about the Qur'an, an Arabic teacher should display the character of those descriptions in the Qur'an.  Portraying good character (patience, kindness, etc) is an important quality of an Arabic teacher.  If you have a teacher who is mean, demanding, impatient, etc...you might be turned off from learning the Arabic language.


The good news is, if you're reading this, you don't have to look further for a good, qualified Arabic teacher.  Studio Arabiya sets very high standards for all of our Arabic teachers, including their educational background, their character in dealing with students, and how to teach non-Arabic speaking students.  In addition to meeting these qualifications, our Arabic teachers are put through a specialized training course to develop their teaching to a totally different level.

What other qualities do you look for in a teacher?

Dar al-Uloom
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Comments 10

 
Guest - Muslimah on Monday, 19 March 2012 18:30

As salamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
It's a good reminder and it tells what I have experienced just nowadays.. Sadly, I have already enrolled in a program just as you described above with "a native speaker" but anyway in sha Allah I will benefit and continue my studies at StudioArabiya or a center similar to that. Just I think it could be a bit cheaper, so more people could choose good quality knowledge instead of just "native speakers" who are quite cheap.
About the topic: I think it's also important that teacher is strict for students that they could not get lazy (in a polite way, of course).
I wish to meet such Arabic and Quran teachers who would be living by Arabic and Quran and who could inspire to learn.
I hope to save up enough money for the course. It's hardly possible, so I guess I will have to get used to "native speakers".
May Allah guide us all to ilm which benefits us, ameen.

As salamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu, It's a good reminder and it tells what I have experienced just nowadays.. Sadly, I have already enrolled in a program just as you described above with "a native speaker" but anyway in sha Allah I will benefit and continue my studies at StudioArabiya or a center similar to that. Just I think it could be a bit cheaper, so more people could choose good quality knowledge instead of just "native speakers" who are quite cheap. About the topic: I think it's also important that teacher is strict for students that they could not get lazy (in a polite way, of course). I wish to meet such Arabic and Quran teachers who would be living by Arabic and Quran and who could inspire to learn. I hope to save up enough money for the course. It's hardly possible, so I guess I will have to get used to "native speakers". May Allah guide us all to ilm which benefits us, ameen.
Guest - Studio Arabiya on Monday, 19 March 2012 22:20

Wa alaikum asalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

One of the problems with just "Native Speakers", also, is that they are native speakers in their Arabic dialect, NOT fus'ha, which is so important if learning and understanding Qur'an is one of your goals. From my experience living in Egypt, many of the Arabs don't understand me and can't speak to me properly when I speak to them in Classical Arabic. Therefore, you just can't guarantee that a person who offers to teach Arabic and claims to be a Native speaker is going to be able to teach you the language of the Qur'an.

Although we strive to offer the lowest prices online for one-on-one classes, Studio Arabiya does offer scholarships to students who are financially unable to pay the full price of the classes. If you are one of them, please e-mail us support@studioarabiya.com and we can discuss this further with you!

Thanks for your input! May Allah benefit us all!

Wa alaikum asalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, One of the problems with just "Native Speakers", also, is that they are native speakers in their Arabic dialect, NOT fus'ha, which is so important if learning and understanding Qur'an is one of your goals. From my experience living in Egypt, many of the Arabs don't understand me and can't speak to me properly when I speak to them in Classical Arabic. Therefore, you just can't guarantee that a person who offers to teach Arabic and claims to be a Native speaker is going to be able to teach you the language of the Qur'an. Although we strive to offer the lowest prices online for one-on-one classes, Studio Arabiya does offer scholarships to students who are financially unable to pay the full price of the classes. If you are one of them, please e-mail us support@studioarabiya.com and we can discuss this further with you! Thanks for your input! May Allah benefit us all!
Guest - Muslimah on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 14:03

JazakAllahu khair!
I will really do that in sha Allah after I finish my currect program which I applied to (6 months). After all, I payed for it, so I have to do it..
Fi aman Allah

JazakAllahu khair! I will really do that in sha Allah after I finish my currect program which I applied to (6 months). After all, I payed for it, so I have to do it.. Fi aman Allah
Guest - Studio Arabiya on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 16:05

Wayaakum! Insh'Allah you benefit from your current program and if you need any help or have questions, let us know and we'll try to help! (You can find us on facebook.com/studioarabiya and twitter.com/studioarabiya)

Wayaakum! Insh'Allah you benefit from your current program and if you need any help or have questions, let us know and we'll try to help! (You can find us on facebook.com/studioarabiya and twitter.com/studioarabiya)
Guest - Rhonda Uretzky on Wednesday, 28 March 2012 12:32

I dont study Arabic but recently I went to Florence and wanted to speak Italian like a native speaker...which is so much more than learning correct conjugations! I hired a Florentine woman to sit and converse with me 2 hours a day...and within a week I was speaking Italian!

I dont study Arabic but recently I went to Florence and wanted to speak Italian like a native speaker...which is so much more than learning correct conjugations! I hired a Florentine woman to sit and converse with me 2 hours a day...and within a week I was speaking Italian!
Guest - Studio Arabiya on Wednesday, 28 March 2012 12:41

Having that extra exposure and practice does WONDERS for helping you to progress in learning a language!

Having that extra exposure and practice does WONDERS for helping you to progress in learning a language!
Guest - Lorii on Wednesday, 28 March 2012 14:00

Great post!!

Great post!!
Guest - Sara Nickleberry on Wednesday, 28 March 2012 15:42

Great points, I'm sharing this with my followers!

Great points, I'm sharing this with my followers!
Guest - Sherie on Wednesday, 28 March 2012 15:45

If I was wanting to learn English, I would certainly go to a qualified teacher. In my experience, native speakers don't know much about the origins of the language. Most native English speakers speak slang from the region that they are from. I imagine that if you are learning to speak Arabic, you really would want to go with a qualified teacher who would know correct spelling,usage and grammar!! It sounds to me like the Studio Arabiya teachers are qualified!

If I was wanting to learn English, I would certainly go to a qualified teacher. In my experience, native speakers don't know much about the origins of the language. Most native English speakers speak slang from the region that they are from. I imagine that if you are learning to speak Arabic, you really would want to go with a qualified teacher who would know correct spelling,usage and grammar!! It sounds to me like the Studio Arabiya teachers are qualified!
Guest - Designer Rob Russo on Friday, 06 April 2012 05:14

Well, this is a great reminder. It makes sense to find the best teacher -- the most qualified -- when learning something new. The point may be even more important when learning a new language.

Well, this is a great reminder. It makes sense to find the best teacher -- the most qualified -- when learning something new. The point may be even more important when learning a new language.
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Tuesday, 25 April 2017