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AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF THE MIDDLE EAST (Kuwait)
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15935
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I first arrived in the Gulf in 1988... in Oman, whose first university was exactly 2 years old and it was the first generation of students to have any education. The northern part of the Gulf has a bit longer education history, but it really is only from the 70s.

It is definitely a world of its own. Too many teachers arrive with unrealistic expectations and then try to change the system. That is, of course, not what they hired us to do. If that is what they wanted, it would have been in our contract. Cool The Gulf system has slowly changed over the years... some things have improved and some of the problems have become worse. They are still generally not prepared to study in English and the administrations still tend to be totally unrealistic about how long it takes to teach Academic English to those who have only taken cursory basic language courses previously.

Having taught your course at various institutions in the Gulf, I know exactly what you are dealing with... I concentrated on those students who did want to learn and did their work... and tried to ignore the frustrations of the system.

VS
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mashkif



Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikkenzi wrote:
Hello Veiled : )
It is true, I am a positive person and do tend to focus on the good rather than the bad. ...







If I had a nickel for every time I joined a new place, everything seemed like a fantastic dream, and I was deeply perplexed about all the old-timer sarcasts, cynics and naysayers around me, I'd be filthy rich. And I'm a pretty happy-go-lucky, optimistic, positive individual, not under financial or family pressures of any kind.

I don't want to prejudge your experience, but the honeymoon period will come to an end. Even in august Western institutions management and administrators are not averse to making decisions that boggle the mind, and that is tenfold more true in the Middle East, particularly at lower-ranked universities.

You may, for the moment, be defending the anti-academic practice of mandatory eight-hour daily desk-occupancy, but let's see if that continues once you find out how things are done at, say, A.U.K. or K.U. Smile

There might be one seminal event or a series of minor annoyances, but the corollary will be that one day you'll find saying to yourself "Dassum bool-sheet."

I'm sure quite a few of us will be looking forward to the message you'll fire off on this board once that happens Wink
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grayskies



Joined: 03 Dec 2013
Posts: 67

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15935
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes Mashkif... we've all "bin der, dun dat" with various employers around the Gulf. One of those constants of expat teaching... Laughing

Hopefully she will come back in a few months and tell us how she is coping with the negatives that will inevitably pop up... no matter where in the world one is working.

VS
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mikkenzi



Joined: 12 Jul 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Kuwait

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Everyone : )
During my recruitment interview with the AUM, I was very open to them about what I read on the Internet (and specifically on this board) about them. I did have many, many doubts.
Right now, I have had nothing much to complain about except slow Kuwaiti visa procedures and such like. And I'm sure all of you know more about that than I do.
I will certainly post my impressions from the place. I am comparing it with a ranked university... I used to work for the Université de Nice Sophia. I can tell you that there is more happening at AUM than there is at UNS. And UNS is a highly ranked university compared to the AUM... The staff is more motivated here than where I used to be. Maybe that is what influences my perception of the place...
On the other hand, I am teaching a basic ENL 100 course while my speciality field is entirely different. I was accustomed to this at the UNS too - my research and scholarly work never had anything to do with my teaching. So I do not feel isolated or unable to do research - I just do it anyway during my free time. And I do not see why I should do it at home - I'm working at the AUM. They have good databases and I have access to anything my soul desires Very Happy I'm stuck in my office, OK, but I am using that time. I could go to the gym and stand around drinking coffee... I just prefer to work on my research and the AUM actually gives me all the resources needed for this. At the UNS (now you're going to laugh in disbelief) I did not even have a computer at work. Hell, I did not even have an office! Let me repeat, UNS is a ranked university... So maybe I'm wrong but I quite like it here for the moment.
I'll post more info when I get those famous class visits Smile

P.S. @ Veiled, we all work for the few. I have a few very good students. I am actually writing this after reading a few good essays from my Academic English class. And I feel rewarded. They actually used APA style correctly and they have good grammar. One actually quoted Jonathan Swift's Gulliver which he had read! In an abridged version... but still!!! I am happy. I would be a happy person if ONE single student decided to work, to improve or change. If I can do that, I have done my job.
And I just wanted to add... it is the people who make the University. An administration does not make a University. There are many graduates from European universities who cannot sign their name. There are also a few who are very good at what they do. The same is valid here. There are a few very ambitious students. There are some who have a solid background from international schools and who are determined to learn. I work for them : )
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3803
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikkenzi wrote:
I have a few very good students. I am actually writing this after reading a few good essays from my Academic English class. And I feel rewarded. They actually used APA style correctly and they have good grammar. One actually quoted Jonathan Swift's Gulliver which he had read! In an abridged version... but still!!! I am happy.

If they did their essays as homework, you might check that their writing wasn't copied/pasted from some source on the Internet.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15935
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, be aware that plagiarism is a huge problem. I always had the first draft of all essays written in class, in my presence. That way miraculous improvement of further drafts immediately showed assistance from the internet, their Filipina maid, or a brother/father/uncle who got a degree in and English speaking country. Many a student ended up having to toss out the 2nd or even 3rd draft because of obvious assistance... and got to re-write it in my office. Another use for the long hours staying at work. Cool

VS
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mikkenzi



Joined: 12 Jul 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Kuwait

PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We use Turnit-in. First drafts, as well as reviewing and rewriting tasks are done in class. I do know some cheat but there are many whose integrity I do not doubt. It is very easy to compare the final draft to their previous work. My colleagues and I spend a lot of time correcting, giving feedback, etc. Smile A friend teaching in a high school in Salmiya told me essays cost 20 kd on the market... English teachers write them... This is what we should be criticising. How do you expect to teach your students integrity and honesty if you sell essays in your free time?!?!
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15935
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the internet is full of websites that sell essays - at any level for every topic. Even back in the late 60's when I was doing my undergraduate work, students with writing ability made extra money writing research papers for their classmates... and they were all native speakers. Because I was an English major, I was constantly asked if I would be interested. (no thanks...) But in the Middle East cheating reaches extremely high levels because they don't consider it cheating, but helping their friends... seriously, they think we are the bizarre ones. Laughing

I often thought that if they put as much work into completing their own assignments as they did in cheating, most of them would end up doing well in the courses.

VS
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 743
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A 'student' from an engineering college in Muscat asked me if I could proofread her work for a fee. I don't work there so agreed only to be presented with a piece of paper with the title on and asked how long it would take! When I explained that this wasn't proofreading but outright cheating she looked offended...."but all of my friends get teachers to write their essays...."
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15935
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember a female student in one of the private colleges who turned in her "research paper" with the http addresses printed in the corner of every page... this was back in the day that this happened whenever you printed stuff off the net... and she was highly insulted that the teacher gave her an F. She took it all the way to the Dean, of course, and luckily admin supported the teacher. But she never backed down from her angry assertion that it was all her work. 'wallahi ya doctor'

VS
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mashkif



Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
I remember a female student in one of the private colleges who turned in her "research paper" with the http addresses printed in the corner of every page... this was back in the day that this happened whenever you printed stuff off the net... and she was highly insulted that the teacher gave her an F. She took it all the way to the Dean, of course, and luckily admin supported the teacher. But she never backed down from her angry assertion that it was all her work. 'wallahi ya doctor'

VS





Yeah, I guess it was the website that stole *her* work Rolling Eyes

I can top all the above though: I once got a PowerPoint presentation that was completely in Italian! I was doubled-over in stitches laughing for a good five minutes before informing the student he'd gotten a big, fat F.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15935
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So did this student try to verbalize anything that was written on the screen? And if he did, how many of the other students could tell?

It wasn't any of my students, but fellow teachers occasionally got non-English work handed in. This normally only happens at the lower levels... where their English is so minimal that they don't recognize English from any other language written in the same alphabetic system.

As I always said... good thing we aren't teaching brain surgery... Cool

VS
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alnorman



Joined: 14 Aug 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:54 am    Post subject: negative info erased? Reply with quote

Does anybody has a link to Chronicle of Higher Education AUM forum? It was very active and highly critical of AUM. Then it suddenly disappeared from the internet.
AUM either bribes or threatens with lawsuit to take those posts down. But they keep popping because it is harder and harder for them to hide the truth.

What's really bad is that instead of getting better, AUM only gets worse with time. Another ESL thread about AUM is still online but not really visible:

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?p=1111769
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dia123



Joined: 04 Aug 2014
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:22 pm    Post subject: Need info Reply with quote

Hello everyone,
I have read all the 7 pages review and most of them see to be negative and in a way convincing. However when i look at the dates, I realize it's been while since these posts were written. I need to hear from people teaching at the AUM right now or have had recent experience with staff to be able to evaluate the situation as being good or bad.

Anyone out there with some new updates ?
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