Arabic needs to be taught in a better way

Readers call for better Arabic education in school. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Readers call for better Arabic education in school. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

I refer to the article Call for better Arabic lessons in UAE as children fail to learn the language (September 24).

I saw inside a school once. The Arabic teachers didn’t have a lot of experience and I couldn’t vouch for their understanding of learning psychology. All the teachers had widely varying accents: Egyptian, Emirati and Jordanian.

Children cannot keep switching. They are like different languages. The teacher for one class usually turned up late, if at all.

She probably was an anomaly but never have I met someone so uninterested in her job.

Daniella How, Abu Dhabi

How can you speak Arabic fluently unless you use it daily for every conversation?

Taking one class a week or day won’t make you fluent when all of your other studies are in your native tongue.

Your friends won’t suddenly start speaking Arabic in the playground from one course.

Chris Reid, Dubai

Learning a language is a two-way street. My Arabic teachers put a lot of effort into us, from kindergarten until Grade 12. None of us are fluent in Arabic, because the Indian education system we went to does not let us factor in more languages as a default.

Science and commerce trump language and arts in the popular Indian culture.

The enthusiasm needs to be built in from within and encouraged.

Also, no amount of books can teach you any language for that matter. You need to speak and interact. You need to make mistakes.

I heard the above advice from my friend here who is fluent in about seven languages with an accent as good as a native in each.

Ahmed Shumayal, Al Ain

I am 45 and trying to learn to speak and write Arabic, although my seven-year-old son is far ahead. I need to catch up.

Christina Toebast, Dubai

Thoughtful journalism

I want to commend The National for the quality of writing and content.

When I looked at the footer to determine the source of material I was reading online, I was surprised and encouraged by what I discovered and even more so by what I read.

There were some observations in the articles that are not entirely correct, but then with the many opinions and perspectives people have that’s to be expected.

It’s refreshing to see a thoughtful news source. With the scourge of terrorism dominating news cycles, this brand of thoughtful journalism is sorely needed in the West so that people there will recognise that civilised observations and discourse can and do occur in the Middle East.

Thank you for providing an alternative perspective in the vehicle of a first-rate news and information source for the world.

Brian Parris, US

Rats thrive as waste swells

Regarding the news article More rats on the loose in downtown Abu Dhabi, residents say (September 23), surely the problem is the waste that they feed off. If people didn’t litter or waste as much food, their numbers would reduce as they can’t breed without a source of food. Perhaps the stray cat population can be put to use.

Name withheld by request

I have seen rats the size of small cats at Al Mariah Centre. Once at a restaurant a rat fell into a man’s dinner from the ceiling. He freaked out so badly everyone around ran away from the area.

Aaliyah AR Des Rochers, Abu Dhabi

The best time to get outside

Your editorial It’s time to get outside (September 23) was timely. My favourite outdoor activities in the winter are camping in the desert and having a bonfire. I also like jet skiing in cooler weather.

Fatima Suhail, Sharjah

For me, cycling at the Corniche is not just enjoyable, but a great stress buster.

Samia Iftekhar, Abu Dhabi

Published: September 24, 2016 04:00 AM


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