IWL Speaker Series - Dr. Mohammad Al-Masri, March 31
Mohammad Al-Masri, University of Oklahoma
Innovation and Best Practices in Second Language Education
Much debate on second language education focuses on beliefs and knowledge as opposed to tasks and activities associated with language education. Policy makers in education seem to be preoccupied with student outreach and recruitment; and assessment is undoubtedly one of the most influential concepts in the policies governing language education in recent years, (Ball and Forzani, 2009). Successful teaching is not a natural process that is simply acquired through experience, as many would maintain. It is arguably an unnatural process, which therefore must be accurately researched, planned and executed, (Murray, 1989). Increasing research is focusing on the need to revisit our ‘obsession’ with assessment and focusing more on the learning process itself. Butler (2015) reports that ‘the obsession [with assessment] seems much less intense in Japan’ and that ‘no assessment is required because English is not an academic subject in the curriculum’.
This presentation suggests a number of guidelines that can enhance the language learning process by focusing on proper training of language educators, deigning interpersonal activities that create a dynamic classroom environment, positing a careful consideration for the presentation of grammar, and developing a few assessment protocols. Issues pertaining to the building of a comprehensive language program are also introduced.
Mohammad Al-Masri is ConocoPhillips of assistant professor of Arabic linguistics with a joint appointment in the Department of International and Area Studies and the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Linguistics at the University of Oklahoma. He is also director of the Arabic Flagship Program. Dr. Al-Masri received PhD in linguistics from the University of Kansas and did his undergraduate work in English language, literature and translation at the Yarmouk University in Jordan.
Prior to joining OU faculty, Dr. Al-Masri taught English as a second language and courses on phonetics and linguistics while in Jordan and also taught Arabic as a second language at the University of Kansas, the Alakhawayn Arabic Summer Intensive Program in Morocco, and also at the Hashemite University in Jordan. He worked as a lecturer and assistant professor at the Hashemite University, Jordan where he served as Chair of the Department of English language and literature and Director the Language Center.
Dr. Al-Masri’s research focuses primarily on the acoustic behavior of emphasis in Arabic and teaching Arabic as L2. He published articles in the Journal of Acoustical Society of American and Phonetica. His book, entitled “Colloquial Arabic: Levantine” has just been published through Routledge. Dr. Al-Masri conducts teacher training in Arabic in Oklahoma, Texas, Jordan, and the Arabic Flagship Overseas Programs in Egypt and Morocco. He also served as the Chair of the Arabic Flagship Council 2012 – 2015, and is currently the Chair of the Language Flagship Council.