Research thrives at KAU’s English Language Institute
The English Language Institute (ELI) at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah is making new forays in the fields of teaching, research and professional development achieving ever-new frontiers in the pursuit of excellence.
With the CEA accreditation for the English Language Program and the NCAAA currently under way, the English Language Institute is striving to live up to the university’s mission of enriching society through cultural prominence, scientific acumen and pioneering research.
Spread across the three campuses at Al-Sulemaniya, Al-Sharafiya and Al-Salama, the Women’s English Language Institute has several shining stars among its constellation shaping the future of the young generation of Saudi women.
To mark the end of the 2013/2014 academic year, the Women’s English Language Institute organized a series of professional workshops from May 21-25 showcasing the faculty’s expertise and experience in different areas of foreign language teaching.
The weeklong development workshops kicked off with the 3rd Research Unit Symposium on May 21 held at the King Fahd Convention Center with several titles offered by professionals in the field. Dr. Fatimah Al-Ghamdi, head of the Research Unit at the main campus in Al-Sulemaniya opened the program with a brief introduction highlighting the aim of the event. Dr. Ayesha Khoja presented her doctoral thesis on Saudi second language learners’ receptive and productive skills in English as a figurative language. Masuda Wardak presented her paper entitled “Native and Non-native English Speaker Teachers’ Advantages and Disadvantages.”
Dr. Amal Mahdi spoke on “Exploring the Conceptions of Grammar Teaching: A Qualitative Study of EFL Teachers’ Beliefs and Classroom Practice.” Manal Bassyouny presented a paper on “Principled Eclecticism: Students’ Perception of Means and Methods.” Rana Obaid addressed the difficulties students face in learning vocabulary and offered some solutions.
There was also a panel discussion moderated by Ruaa Hariri, head of the IT, with the participation of Dr. Joman Shami, Dr. Khadijah Bawazeer and Dr. Fatima Halawani. The panel concluded with a unanimous agreement on having more research to address the professional needs of the English Language Institute.
The Professional Development Unit conducted the first English Language Teaching (ELT) Symposium on May 22 in the women’s main campus in Al-Sulemaniya. Following a short address by Dr. Nadia Shukri, head of the Professional Development Unit, the audience was treated to the unit’s journey since its inception four years ago via a captivating video by Sabitha Rahim, PDU coordinator.
The presenters included Ragia Youseff with her presentation entitled “Teaching in the NOW century,” Shafqat Khalil presented “Error Correction,” Gihan Ismail, “Peer-Coaching: Breaking the Walls” and Sajida Fakhri, “Teacher Stress: Scope and cope.” Dr. Khadijah Bawazeer presented “Summarizing as a way of Enforcing English Language Learning” with other presentations by members of the PDU. The symposium was noted for its innovative strands of thought prevailing English language teaching.
The final day of the event, May 25, launched a series of training workshops and presentations by a number of senior professionals from the Women’s Colleges in Al-Sharafiya and Al-Salama campuses in the areas of English language teaching research and development who shared their expertise and introduced the advent of new technologies in the classroom to facilitate students to take responsibility for their learning and become autonomous learners.
The event was organized by Dr. Tahany Al-Baiz, head of professional development and graduate studies units, and her PD team and supervised by Dr. Dawla Al-Amri, vice dean of the ELI Women’s Colleges. Among the guests were Dr. Faiza Al-Johani, vice dean of the ELI Women’s Campus, department heads and other delegates from many KAU faculties.
The highlight of the event was a presentation by the guest speaker, Dr. Norah Al-Malki, head of development at the deanship of e-learning and distance education, entitled “An Al Robotic Agent for Language Learning and Information Retrieval” which explored the use of the interactive Chat Bot employing Artificial Intelligence, an innovative and futuristic learning tool to assist learners in English Language chats and used as a retrieval system for information related to English Literature but which can also help students to learn English structures.
Several other presenters included interesting titles related to contemporary English language teaching and learning environments.
Professional training programs are held around the year by the English Language Institute where all three campuses collaborate in efforts to improve the professional development and research training in various fields of interest in English language teaching. The Professional Development Units on all three campuses are a vibrant community holding training sessions several times a year.
The English Language Institute in Jeddah comprising both men and women’s sections is a local institute adhering to international standards of professionalism incorporating the best practices locally and from around the world.