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Pedagogy Conference: The Student-Centered Arabic Classroom

Pedagogy Conference: The Student-Centered Arabic Classroom

Date and time: Saturday, May 30, 2020, 10 am to 4 pm Central Daylight Time (UTC-5)

Register here.

This year, the Chicago Arabic Teachers Council (CATC) Spring Arabic Pedagogy Conference takes up the question of how to foster a student-centered Arabic classroom. The conference will feature presentations on project-based learning, second-language acquisition strategies, and other key topics in Arabic pedagogy. We will also devote time to reflecting on our distance-learning experiences during COVID-19 school closures and brainstorming how to move forward after this difficult moment in language education.

CATC is generously supported by Qatar Foundation International and is hosted by the University of Chicago Center for Middle Eastern Studies.


  • Nabila Hammami (Fordson High School, Dearborn, MI), “Arabic as a World Language: From Theory to Practice”
  • Emma Trentman (University of New Mexico), “Bridging Theory and Practice: Curriculum Development in the Arabic Classroom”
  • Mohammad Alhawary (University of Michigan), “Contextualizing the Role of Input in the Arabic Foreign Language Classroom”
  • Nada Shaath (Los Angeles Unified School District), “Building a Successful Arabic Program – Lessons Learned”


Mohammad T. Alhawary is professor of Arabic linguistics and second language acquisition. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on Arabic language and Arabic theoretical and applied linguistics at the University of Michigan. He has published numerous journal articles, book chapters, and reviews on Arabic linguistics and second language acquisition. His most recent book publications include: Arabic Second Language Acquisition of Morphosyntax (Yale University Press, 2009), Modern Standard Arabic Grammar: A Learner’s Guide (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), Arabic Grammar in context (Routledge, 2016), The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Second Language Acquisition (Routledge, 2018), and Arabic Second Language Learning and Effects of Input, Transfer, and Typology (Georgetown University Press, 2019).

Nabila Barada-Hammami, Ed.D, is an Arabic teacher at Fordson High School, a world language chair in Dearborn Public Schools, and an Arabic and English language adjunct professor at Henry Ford Community College. She also serves as an instructional coach at Wayne State University. Dr. Hammami has a doctorate degree in Teacher Leadership with a focus on language and culture. Her research study sought to understand the complexities and challenges that characterize Arabic cultural awareness, especially after the emergence of the new state graduation requirements for foreign language and the development of the Arabic National Standards in 2006. Dr. Hammami also serves as a world language curriculum review committee member in Dearborn Public Schools since 1997. She was an advisory member of the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) in the field of Arabic language from 2007 to 2010, a role that enabled her to collaborate with various school and university language leaders in Michigan. In 2012, she received the Dora Johnson Award in recognition of excellence in teaching Arabic as a world language. In 2019, Dr. Hammami received the ACTFL Arabic SIG Veteran Teacher Award.

Nada Shaath has 24 years of experience in teaching, creating, managing, and expanding Arabic programs from bottom up with focus on improving instruction, and building capacity among teachers. Ms. Shaath is currently serving as a specialist in the World Languages and Cultures Department in LAUSD headquarters overseeing programs, instructions, and policies.

Emma Trentman is associate professor of Arabic at the University of New Mexico. Her research focuses on language and intercultural learning during study abroad, virtual exchange, and in the language classroom. She is particularly interested in multilingual approaches to language learning. She teaches all levels of Arabic at the University of New Mexico and directs the UNM Arabic STARTALK Student Program.

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