Culturingua

CULTURINGUA PARTNERS WITH SAN ANTONIO ISD TO OFFER A VIRTUAL TRIP TO THE ARAB WORLD FOR ADVANCED LEARNING ACADEMY GRADES 5-7 STUDENTS

June 4, 2020 -- San Antonio students at the Advanced Learning Academy (ALA) in Grades 5-7 will learn Arabic and experience Arab cuisine, music, art and more in an innovative, interactive virtual camp weekdays this summer from June 8-19. The program is offered by Culturingua, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that teaches language and culture for K-12 public school students, in partnership with San Antonio Independent School District’s ALA and with support from Qatar Foundation International (QFI).

Arabic is the fastest growing language in the US, according to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, yet Arabic makes up only 0.05% of K-12 world language enrollment in the State of Texas, according to a 2017 report by the American Councils for International Education. Through its virtual summer camp, Culturingua is building on its previous Arabic after-school classes and day-long workshops offered throughout San Antonio. Nadia Mavrakis, Culturingua’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “I’m proud to engage in this partnership with SAISD to bring learning opportunities to San Antonio youth in Arabic, a critical-need language, and contemporary Arab cultural perspectives and traditions.”

Culturingua’s virtual camp at ALA is the only grantee in the state of Texas for the QFI Summer Arabic Study Award Program, and one of only three in the nation to offer classes for elementary and middle school students. QFI’s mission is fostering global competency and 21st-century skills through the exploration of the Arabic language and the Arab world’s societies and cultures. As part of this mission, it works to expand and increase access to Arabic language education at K-12 summer Arabic programs through its Summer Arabic Study Award Program. QFI is proud to support Culturingua’s programs because they offer students opportunities to engage with Arabic and a variety of other languages and cultures in a wholistic way that equips students with the skills to thrive in our increasingly interconnected world.

“ALA is committed to growing students' global competence, and we are so pleased to be working in partnership Culturingua to bring Arabic cultural and language studies to our students,” said Kathy Bieser, Principal of the Advanced Learning Academy.

Consistent with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) intercultural communication guidelines, Culturingua’s course provides authentic opportunities for students to learn about issues that affect countries visited while learning Arabic rather than cultural factoids and clichés. As such, the course’s overall theme ties to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Students will “tour” six countries in the Arab World. Lessons in Lebanon will focus on food as well as the goal of ending hunger and promoting sustainable agriculture. The lessons in Morocco will give students an opportunity to shop virtually in a market and learn currency and counting skills as well as the sustainability goal of promoting decent work and economic growth. The lessons in Qatar will focus on animals, where they live, and the threats they face, as well as current efforts to protect Qatari wildlife.

The focus on Palestine will be on celebrations with the sustainability goal of promoting peace and justice. The students will also explore weather and clothing and compare the climates of Syria and Texas. The lessons covering Saudi Arabia will teach students the Arabic terms for colors and shapes while focusing on female artists and the sustainability goal of gender equality.

Parents will be encouraged to join their child’s class session for a final showcase on Friday, June 19, where students’ achievements will be celebrated and where students and parents will learn how to perform the “Debke,” a traditional Palestinian dance performed at joyous occasions.

The cultural authenticity of the virtual program will be enhanced through physical educational kits that each student received that includes traditional clothes, food, and handicrafts from the countries that they will be visiting.

Students will engage with their peers and teachers live through a student engagement platform that provides virtual reality tours, digital educational competitions and games, and virtual drawings to enable experiential learning and peer-to-peer interaction in a virtual setting. “In response to COVID-19, we incorporated technology into our virtual classes that allowed us to mirror the active learning environment we have during our in-person classes. We are excited to extend this virtual active-learning approach to our summer Arabic camp,” said Nader Mehdawi, Culturingua Chief Operating Officer and lead Arabic teacher.

Arabic Summer 2020 Program

CULTURINGUA PARTNERS WITH SAN ANTONIO ISD TO OFFER A VIRTUAL TRIP TO THE ARAB WORLD FOR ADVANCED LEARNING ACADEMY GRADES 5-7 STUDENTS

June 4, 2020 -- San Antonio students at the Advanced Learning Academy (ALA) in Grades 5-7 will learn Arabic and experience Arab cuisine, music, art and more in an innovative, interactive virtual camp weekdays this summer from June 8-19. The program is offered by Culturingua, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that teaches language and culture for K-12 public school students, in partnership with San Antonio Independent School District’s ALA and with support from Qatar Foundation International (QFI).

Arabic is the fastest growing language in the US, according to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, yet Arabic makes up only 0.05% of K-12 world language enrollment in the State of Texas, according to a 2017 report by the American Councils for International Education. Through its virtual summer camp, Culturingua is building on its previous Arabic after-school classes and day-long workshops offered throughout San Antonio. Nadia Mavrakis, Culturingua’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “I’m proud to engage in this partnership with SAISD to bring learning opportunities to San Antonio youth in Arabic, a critical-need language, and contemporary Arab cultural perspectives and traditions.”

Culturingua’s virtual camp at ALA is the only grantee in the state of Texas for the QFI Summer Arabic Study Award Program, and one of only three in the nation to offer classes for elementary and middle school students. QFI’s mission is fostering global competency and 21st-century skills through the exploration of the Arabic language and the Arab world’s societies and cultures. As part of this mission, it works to expand and increase access to Arabic language education at K-12 summer Arabic programs through its Summer Arabic Study Award Program. QFI is proud to support Culturingua’s programs because they offer students opportunities to engage with Arabic and a variety of other languages and cultures in a wholistic way that equips students with the skills to thrive in our increasingly interconnected world.

“ALA is committed to growing students' global competence, and we are so pleased to be working in partnership Culturingua to bring Arabic cultural and language studies to our students,” said Kathy Bieser, Principal of the Advanced Learning Academy.

Consistent with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) intercultural communication guidelines, Culturingua’s course provides authentic opportunities for students to learn about issues that affect countries visited while learning Arabic rather than cultural factoids and clichés. As such, the course’s overall theme ties to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Students will “tour” six countries in the Arab World. Lessons in Lebanon will focus on food as well as the goal of ending hunger and promoting sustainable agriculture. The lessons in Morocco will give students an opportunity to shop virtually in a market and learn currency and counting skills as well as the sustainability goal of promoting decent work and economic growth. The lessons in Qatar will focus on animals, where they live, and the threats they face, as well as current efforts to protect Qatari wildlife.

The focus on Palestine will be on celebrations with the sustainability goal of promoting peace and justice. The students will also explore weather and clothing and compare the climates of Syria and Texas. The lessons covering Saudi Arabia will teach students the Arabic terms for colors and shapes while focusing on female artists and the sustainability goal of gender equality.

Parents will be encouraged to join their child’s class session for a final showcase on Friday, June 19, where students’ achievements will be celebrated and where students and parents will learn how to perform the “Debke,” a traditional Palestinian dance performed at joyous occasions.

The cultural authenticity of the virtual program will be enhanced through physical educational kits that each student received that includes traditional clothes, food, and handicrafts from the countries that they will be visiting.

Students will engage with their peers and teachers live through a student engagement platform that provides virtual reality tours, digital educational competitions and games, and virtual drawings to enable experiential learning and peer-to-peer interaction in a virtual setting. “In response to COVID-19, we incorporated technology into our virtual classes that allowed us to mirror the active learning environment we have during our in-person classes. We are excited to extend this virtual active-learning approach to our summer Arabic camp,” said Nader Mehdawi, Culturingua Chief Operating Officer and lead Arabic teacher.