This is presentation of the results of a research which was granted an NPRP on enhancing teaching the Arabic Language in Qatar. This research combines many approaches to learning the Arabic language by 5-6 year old (kindergarteners) Arabic native speakers. Its focus on learning Modern Standard Arabic allows it to be used by kindergarteners in all 22 Arab countries. This research builds upon the Microsoft Surface Table technology to develop a framework for language instruction which is based on combining three innovations: (a) student-centered curriculum based on a storytelling approach, (b) physical classroom reconfiguration and (c) interactive software centered around multi-player, collaborative games. The research, in essence, introduces a new pedagogy into the elementary school language-learning curriculum which requires both curricular and technological innovations to work together. The curriculum developed contained the Arabic alphabet, short and long vowels, words and short sentences. Audio narrative of the story was shown on a classroom screen accompanied by pictures done by the graphic designer so the children would have a visual storybook. Learning activities and educational games were carried on the smart tables provided. The research carried involved choosing an Arabic traditional story, Aladdin. The main purpose was to enhance culture. Several modification were carried on the story in order to provide ethical principles necessary for children (.e.g. the jinni refused to help Aladdin the second time except after he works). Based on our pilot classroom research, this approach shows significant improvements both in student engagement and in learning gains. Students who were presented with this framework were not only excited to be in the classroom, but, by the end of the research period (9 weeks), they showed significant learning gains. In addition, the transformation of the physical configuration of the classroom space into a collaborative one and the nature and extent participant interactions is its own innovation. We hope that in the future, especially for classrooms with younger students, such classroom set-ups, focusing on interactive play through storytelling, will be the norm, rather than the experimental exception. Comparison of end of year results between the experimental and control groups shall be presented.


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