[P4942] New Perspectives on Literacy in TAFL

Created by Corinne Stokes
Sunday, 11/19/17 1:00pm


Over the past two decades, the Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL) has witnessed a noticeable shift towards a communicative approach that develops the learners’ literacy in the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking. In this panel, presenters reports on studies that call for a further shift towards multiliteracy, which emphasizes “interdependence among speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills” as well as “interactions between linguistic form, situational context, and communicative and expressive functions” (Kern, 2003, p. 51). Two of the panelists present studies on writing and reading strategies among advanced students of Arabic. The first study analyzed the use of connectives in the writing of native speakers and advanced non-native speakers, comparing the way in which they are used to organize ideas and details in expository and argumentative writing samples. The second study examined perceived and actual use of reading strategies among intermediate and advanced L2 readers of Arabic. Both of these papers contribute quantitative data in areas that have been minimally researched in TAFL, in order to propose improved models for teaching connectives and developing reading strategies.

The subsequent two papers argue for increased attention to developing multiliteracies in TAFL curricula, focusing on the use of multimodal materials to develop social media competence and conceptual fluency. The papers both seek to bring high-frequency communicative functions into the realm of the classroom, rejecting the idea that students should be expected to develop multiliteracy skills beyond the advanced level, or outside of formal training. The first paper presents a module designed for teaching social media literacy in the advanced Arabic classroom, as well as the results of its use in the third-year Arabic classroom. The second highlights the importance of visuals and multimodal materials in developing conceptual fluency. It introduces an online resource designed to enable easy incorporation of culturally relevant visual material by tagging media items on an open-source blog to correspond with discrete chapters and vocabulary items. The four papers thus provide a glimpse of new directions in TAFL by broadening our pedagogical understanding of developing multiliteracy in Arabic students.






Mahmoud Al-Batal

(American University of Beirut)
MESA Board of Directors
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair;

Corinne Stokes

(New York University Abu Dhabi)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Nesrine Basheer

(The University of Sydney)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Katherine Whiting

(The Sijal Institute for Arabic Language and Culture)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Navdeep Sokhey

(University of Texas at Austin)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;