Arabic is one of the oldest and most fascinating languages in the world. Learning Arabic is not just about learning a language but also about embracing a rich and interesting culture. Arabic is fun to learn, the language, the alphabet (squiggly lines and dots), the history, the culture, the people, the food, the music, the festivals, the literature are all guaranteed to take you on a wonderful journey of discovery, fun and excitement.
Arabic is the official language of over 20 countries and there are well over 300 million native speakers of the language. Arabic is also an official language of the United Nations, the Arab League and the African Union. In addition to the millions of native speakers, many more millions know Arabic as a foreign language.
Arabic language is the main unifying feature among Arab Muslims, Arab Christians and Arab Jews; it is a Semitic language originating from Arabia. Modern Standard Arabic (Fus'haa) is the standard and literary variety of Arabic used in writing, current media and in most formal speech. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) carries more prestige and recognition and as a result our lessons in this website use MSA.
Arabic has 50,000 original words and it is written in cursive handwriting and from the right side. It has 28 letters, some for sounds that don’t exist in English. Learning to pronounce these can be quite tricky and cause much hilarity but pupils love it. One of my pupils observed: ‘Arabic is a punch in the throat. When speaking Arabic your brain discovers muscles in the throat that it never knew existed.’ I say that the Arabic language is brain workout because the brain is forced to work harder when learning Arabic compared to other foreign languages!
Arabic is taught as a core subject to all pupils from Year 7 to Year 11, then as a popular optional subject at A level. Pupils learn in a supportive environment, and technology is used throughout the department to enhance the learning experience. Individual programmes are implemented where necessary to help every pupil thrive. A variety of teaching styles are used, and all pupils are encouraged to develop good language skills. Extensive resources are available to support learning on the school Virtual Learning Environment, however this is not considered to be a replacement for individual help.
Pupils are taught Arabic in ability sets from Year 7 to Year 11. The Year 7 sets are based on the numbers of years the pupils have learned. The department continuously reviews individual progress and, where appropriate, movement between sets takes place. The syllabus for Years 7-9 is based on the National Curriculum, and uses ministry and GCSE textbooks. In Years 10 and 11 all pupils follow the Pearson Edexcel IGCSE Arabic Specification A course.
Arabic is a very popular A-level subject. The course followed is Edexcel A. The Arabic Study Abroad Program curricula are designed to match the needs of pupils of Arabic at most Western institutions and offer both credit and non-credit options.