Through a generous grant from the Qatar Foundation International, Concordia Language Villages is able to offer two Qatar Professional Development Workshops for current and future teachers of Arabic at our beautiful Finnish Language Village facilities in Bemidji, Minn. This project will bring together K-12 Arabic language teachers from across the United States in two exciting opportunities to participate in professional development programs this year. The 2016 - 2017 workshop themes will be Learner Engagement. Preference will be given to K-12 Arabic teachers from the Midwest, but all Arabic teachers are welcome to apply.
In addition to new and returning participants, this year's workshop is structured to include those who have already attended multiple QFI-CLV workshops in the past to enroll as teacher-leader participants.
An overarching goal for world language instruction is to actively engage learners in preparing to “[c]ommunicate and interact with cultural competence to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world” (ACTFL’s World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages). In order to accomplish this, teachers need a broad repertoire of strategies that include problem-solving, collaboration, creativity, building relationships and reflection. These strategies are reflected in the concept of “deep learning,” first introduced in 2010 by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as a term for the skills and knowledge that learners need to succeed in today’s world. “Deep learning [. . .] develops the learning, creating and doing dispositions that young people need to thrive now and in their futures.” “Deep learning [. . .] connects with our core motivations: to directly and deeply engage in learning; and to do things that truly make a difference to our lives and to the world” (A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning, Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy, 2014, pg. 10).
Using the theme of Learner Engagement, the dual-workshop design creates the opportunity to work with one cohort of K–12 Arabic-language educators for a full academic year. Following the fall workshop, the second workshop is intentionally structured to allow all participants to share what they applied after the fall workshop, what they learned, how they succeeded, and where they need feedback for improvement. The basic text for the course is The Keys to Planning for Learning, by Donna Clementi and Laura Terrill (2013). Clementi and Terrill have created a useful guide to assist teachers in designing standards- and performance-based criteria. This text has been used in previous QFI workshops, and a copy will be given to all new participants.