Qatar University’s (QU) Foundation Programme (FP) and the Deanship of General Studies, in collaboration with the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), recently organised a webinar titled 'Language Education during the Covid-19 Pandemic' via WebEx.
Language educational experts from Qatar, Canada and the US ran the discussion. The webinar brought together more than 150 faculty members from universities and language centres around the world.
Foundation Programme director Dr Hezam al-Awah
The webinar aimed to exchange experiences between educational programmes in language teaching and highlight the challenges facing language education in the light of the Covid-19 outbreak. The effects of these challenges, contemporary solutions and offering insights for future language education across the globe was discussed during the session.
Foundation Programme director Dr Hezam al-Awah, said: “The FP's keenness is to provide insights from language programmes and discuss the initiatives taken and the strategies employed by the language teachers, course leads and programme administrators, to develop contingency plans to address the challenges posed by the pandemic.
"This webinar is important as it addresses the challenges posed on the language educational process that affected our students, in terms of
language acquisition and the usage of language skills in elevating their academic performance.”
Dr al-Awah thanked the CETL for the effective collaboration in organising the event. “We are looking for more professional development
seminars in partnership with the centre”, he added.
CETL director Dr Husam Aldamen said, “CETL is pleased to forge this important partnership with the Deanship of General Studies, via
the FP, which is known for its exemplary quality of teaching and learning. This event takes on a special significance as it deals with language education, which is a field that often requires constant contact and engagement.
"The expert panellists’ reflection on their experience will be beneficial to language educators, as well as others from various disciplines at Qatar University and other educational institutions worldwide.”
The department head of English at QUFP, Dr Mohamed Manasreh, said: “Such webinars enrich the faculty's knowledge and help know the strengths as well as the areas that must be improved, whether at the level of curriculum or professional development, and provide knowledge of the capabilities in these circumstances.”
The webinar panellists, Kashif Raza, a lecturer in English at the QU Foundation Programme; Dr Mick King, the chair of Foundation English at the Community College of Qatar; Dr Dudley Reynolds, a teaching professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar; and Dr Shahid Abrar-ul-Hassan, a professor and course lead at the Yorkville University, Canada, discussed the following questions: "What challenges did the pandemic pose for language education?", "What strategies were/are employed to address these challenges?", "How was/is the transition to online education?", and "What are the future implications of current online education at classroom, programme and field levels?".
The webinar concluded with a Q&A session where the panellists answered the attendees' queries and shared their final thoughts.
The Foundation Programme, under the Deanship of General Studies at Qatar University, has launched several professional development activities for faculty members via virtual platforms as a Covid-19 precautionary measure.