Saturday, September 28, 2013

Education for Citizenship in Arab Countries - One Perspective

Amman, Jordan (Photo Courtesy of Visit Jordan)
 Teachers in Arab countries are facing a significant transformation of their profession. In a recent Carnegie Paper by Muhammad Faour and Marwan Muasher, titled "Education for Citizenship in the Arab World", the authors explain that thus far, education reform in Arab countries has meant improvement to buildings and infrastructure, improvement of math and science test scores and bridging the gender gap.  Until now, education in the Arab world has been tightly controlled by Arab governments, and the goal of Arab education has been to preserve the ruler's grip on power. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Texting is paving the way for literacy learning in Senegal, and it could be the impetus for a written language in Wolof, which until now has been an oral African language. Kristin Vold Lexander (2011) conducted a study that examined the ways that Short Messaging Service (SMS) texts were used by ordinary citizens in Senegal.  She notes that, "estimates show that among Senegal’s 12-13 million citizens, there are 1 million internet users, while the number of mobile phone subscribers is 7.8 million" (Lexander, 2011, p. 2). Unlike French, the colonial language of Senegal that is used in professional and academic settings, Wolof is recognized as the peoples' language. Senegalese SMS text users are helping Wolof and other African languages move to a higher status in their society, which can elevate the linguistic access of the majority of citizens who do not speak French.  Lexander (2011) notes that, "mastering several languages appears to be an important resource in SMS-writing: through texting, African languages and multilingualism are promoted" (p. 15).

English Literacy Learning

Lexander's (2011) conclusions are worth noting by teachers who instruct English literacy learners. In English speaking countries, text messaging has frequently been blamed for the deterioration of good writing. Most writing professors have become used to encountering text message acronyms such as BFF (best female friend) or single letter designations for words in student papers: u versus you, for example.  

Friday, September 20, 2013


Study Abroad in Jordan

Study Abroad courses offer a safe and educational way to learn about new environments and gain personal enrichment.  Through travel, we learn about the values we share with other individuals and cultures. The knowledge we gain from our travels can be applied to our careers.  In this course, students will tour archaeological sites and areas of interest in the city of Amman. They will also take day trips out of the city to local Jordanian heritage sites. The students will be exposed the elements of Arabic culture while learning how to apply good data collection and research strategies to apply to their communicating skills.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


A boy rides a scooter at an amusement center in Amman, Jordan
Transnationalism is a social concept that has emerged due to the increased global mobility of individuals and their resulting value-based choices. Most areas of society are impacted by transnationalism: education, politics and finance, for example. Transnationalism not the same as assimilation into a new country, and we can't assume that foundational learning experiences of transnational individuals are similar to the learning experiences of the previous generation in any nation.