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Teaching reading to Arabic learners

RMIT English Worldwide (REW) teaching staff members have been published in Cambridge Research Notes May 2012. Research Notes is a quarterly publication reporting on matters relating to research, test development and validation within Cambridge ESOL.

Ms Amal Khabbaz and Ms Sara Kablaoui participated in the Cambridge ESOL Action Research in ELICOS project presented at the English Australia conference in September 2011. Their research focused on teaching reading to Arabic learners. 
  
Both teachers have an Arabic-speaking background and have taught English in Arabic speaking countries.

Ann Wright, Director of the REW Melbourne Language Centre, said it is the contribution from teaching staff like Ms Khabbaz and Ms Kablaoui that provides the best opportunity for international students to develop English language skills.  

“We have a number of Arabic learners that come through our language centre each year and understanding how they learn is critical to their success,” she said.

“As a leading ELICOS provider, REW is very aware of the needs of its students. We believe that our English Academic Passport programs coupled with our highly qualified teaching staff are the key factors which differentiate REW from other English language providers.
 
“Research projects such as this provide great professional development opportunities for teachers and REW is very pleased to support these activities. We are very proud of what Ms Khabbaz and Ms Kablaoui have achieved,” stated Ms Wright. 

The topic, ‘Developing reading skills of learners from Arabic-speaking backgrounds’ was one of six research projects published. The goal of the research was to understand the challenges Arabic ESL learners have with reading and to develop skills so they enjoy reading and become more proficient. The students were taught four reading strategies that focused on addressing their reading difficulties. They were regularly observed and their feedback was collected via surveys. Results showed that a systematic reading approach facilitated by regular class-based reading activities was a valuable way to improve reading skills. The full research paper can be accessed at http://www.cambridgeesol.org/rs_notes/rs_nts48.pdf
 
REW is a division of RMIT Training, a company wholly owned by RMIT University.