According to the Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science
the Arabic language is “in dire need of support and revival through fundamental shifts in the way it is taught,” Ghinwa Obeid writes in The Daily Star.
“The Arabic language… doesn’t have the enough means to have a wide presence,” Zuhaida Darwich Jabbour, secretary-general of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO, told The Daily Star. “Our youth have a complex called the Arabic language and they try to avoid using it.”
The debate about the need for language revitalization is not new, of course. Latouf Abdullah, an Arabic curriculum program coordinator for the organization, points out that: “The problems of the Arabic language have been present for more than 100 years.”
So what are the proposed far-reaching solutions to this century-old problem? The report attempts to deliver strategies to teaching Arabic differently, such as reducing emphasis on rote memorization:
The report proposed introducing new, more dynamic, interactive teaching methods into Arabic instruction. “There has been a lot of emphasis placed on memorizing [Arabic grammar] and this has negative implications for the student,” the report said.
“[Through memorization], the student would not develop different strategies that help him to search and be creative.”
While progressive education and creative thinking is much needed in schools in the Arab world, it is interesting that recently some educators have been standing up for rote memorization, in a spate of article on why memorizing is good for you, and when rote learning makes sense, so perhaps teachers shouldn’t be quite so eager to ditch the memorizing of lines of poetry and grammar rule completely.