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Bilingualism / Bi-culturalism

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Joined: 15 Apr 2005
Posts: 350
Location: UAE

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:19 am    Post subject: Bilingualism / Bi-culturalism Reply with quote

I was talking the other evening to a potential Zayed University student with the reverse of the usual language problem. One of ZU's guiding principles is that its graduates will be "fluent in both English and Arabic". The biggest cause of failure is inability to reach the level of English required but every year there are a few students like this one, who are perfectly comfortable with English but struggle in Arabic. All our students, remember, are Emiratis so the problem is not students coming from elsewhere. Usually, these students have a non-Arab mother, but I believe there have been instances where both parents were Arab but had, for example, studied in the US and lived outside the UAE for several years.

This may not be strictly a "job-related" topic, but it has several relevant offshoots, so now I've given that long intro, would others like to chime in on any of these aspects?

    Many English teachers overseas pick up spouses in their travels. How do they feel about bringing up their children with both parents' languages/cultures? I must admit singularly failing to do this myself: my wife was pretty well Anglicised, in language at least, when I met her and our children speak nothing of their mother's first language

    Do teachers feel they've lost anything of their own culture or national identity by working overseas? To what extent do they stick to their own national groups or mix with the local population or the wider expat community? In my own experience, the local population in the UAE has been the most difficult to get to know of any of the countries I've worked in.

    How do teachers feel about the provision of education in English and Arabic (or other national language if there are browsers here from other countries)? It seems to me that there are very few options here for those students who can't make the grade in English - and there are a lot of those!

OK, over to you!

Next evening, 62 views and no replies later:
Ah well, over-done topic? Too serious for a holiday weekend? Last bit too political? Never mind. Maybe it'll come to life later.
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