A ‘Native Speaker’ Doesn’t Guarantee a Good TeacherMarch 19, 2012 2023-08-04 0:10
A ‘Native Speaker’ Doesn’t Guarantee a Good Teacher
Searching for the right language teacher for your Arabic studies seem so easy these days. Everyone has access to internet all over the world, and the technology needed to teach basic Arabic is accessible even in the most remote regions of the world. 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 young kid 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.
- 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 regard. Maybe the teachers do hold higher education degrees (Bachelors, Masters, etc) but, deceptively, it is not in Arabic Language. Many of the advertised native Arabic speakers, who solicit students, go to university for an English degree and then go on to teach Arabic. Would you hire a teacher who has a degree in English to teach you Arabic? I wouldn’t.
- An Arabic teacher should know how to teach and convey the technical aspects of Arabic language to you. Moreover, they should know how to teach it to a non-Arabic speaker, as that approach to teaching is very different from that of teaching an Arabic speaker.
- Learning any language, especially Arabic, is not just about learning vocabulary, reading and writing. It’s about getting a peephole into the culture and history. For the majority of Arabic students, it’s about getting to a higher level of understanding and comprehending the Quran. A qualified Arabic teacher should understand this and know how to implement this into the studies and teaching of the language.
- Lastly, because learning Arabic for many students is about the Quran and religious texts, an Arabic teacher should display the character of those descriptions in the Quran. Portraying good character (patience, kindness, etc) is an important quality of an Arabic teacher. If you have a teacher who is mean, demanding, or impatient, 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 higher level.